Quinn Shows Off His Bachelor Pad

Governo'rs mansion draws hundreds

People lined up by the hundreds Thursday to shake hands with Gov. Pat Quinn at the executive mansion his predecessor often ignored.

Quinn greeted visitors -- from Chicago to Sherman -- who said they want to show support for the new chief.

Betty Siddens, of Alvin, didn't mind driving 130 miles and waiting an hour outside to personally meet Quinn in his new home. He is accessible -- "the way the governor should be," she said.

Quinn became governor last month after lawmakers booted fellow Democrat Rod Blagojevich from office amid allegations he tried to sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich has insisted he did nothing wrong.

Blagojevich decided to live in Chicago rather than move his wife and two daughters to the governor's mansion. He rarely stayed there during his six years in office, often flying back to Chicago in the evening rather than spend the night in Springfield.

His disdain for the mansion irritated many downstate voters and lawmakers.

Quinn has made it clear that he will stay at the mansion frequently and hold public events there -- such as Thursday's open house to mark Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday.

"Living in this house, it truly is a privilege and an honor," Quinn said before meeting visitors in the second floor parlor. "I think it should be a place where people can come from all over the world to see a special place."

The mansion includes a bedroom filled with furniture that Lincoln was expected to use after his presidency. Quinn said he hasn't slept in Lincoln's bedroom yet.

Visitors only caught a glimpse of some of those rooms inside the 154-year-old mansion. With long lines alongside the black iron fence encircling the building, Quinn only had time to shake each person's hand and maybe exchange a few words.

"I told him how happy I was that he was the new governor," said Charles "Chub" Conner, the retired sheriff of Douglas County. "Get rid of the nonsense from state government."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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