Gov. Pat Quinn is wasting no time fulfilling his pledge to make the Illinois Governor's Mansion both a working facility and a showplace, in a departure for Rod Blagojevich's dislike of all things Springfield, including actually living there or just spending time at the executive residence.
"It is a big issue for people downstate," state Sen. Larry Bomke (R-Springfield) told the paper. "We have this historic mansion for the governor, with the servants and everything, and the least you can do is stay in it during (the legislative) session."
That's not to say the Executive Mansion just shut down during the Blagojevich years. As the Post-Dispatch notes, non-profit organizations and corporate groups used it for dinners and banquets; the building hosted 247 events last year.
But private meetings - with a governor nowhere in sight - isn't exactly throwing the doors open and cherishing the largest governor's mansion in the country (and the third-oldest, according to the P-D.)
(Sun-Times gossip Michael Sneed just visited the residence as well, which may or may not be part of a public relations effort to restore some pride in the state - and generate positive publicity for Quinn.)
The Post-Dispatch has a photo gallery of its visit, and the state's website also includes a digital tour. The gorgeous mansion - placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 - is open for free public tours.