A Priest, a Teacher and an Intern Walk Into an Office ... - NBC Chicago

A Priest, a Teacher and an Intern Walk Into an Office ...

Meet the motley crew of applicants for Lieutenant Governor



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    Pat Quinn.

    Stop me if you've heard this one before.

    A priest, a substitute teacher, and an intern walk into a governor's office, looking for a job as the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.

    The teacher, a former Walgreen's benefits coordinator, can write a top-notch lesson plan. Curiously, she left her job application blank. The intern, as energetic as he is inexperienced, touts his status as a true "outsider".

    And the priest? Well, he's actually a pragmatic backslider who entered the University of Chicago Divinity School last fall "only to leave because of its lack of social practicality."

    And the Lieutenant Governor's office is different how?

    Each of these job-seekers recently applied to be the nominee for Illinois' second-highest elected office -- a position that's stood vacant ever since admitted steroid-user and alleged prostitute-abuser Scott Lee Cohen stepped aside.

    And in a surprising-if-misguided attempt at political transparency, the Democratic Party of Illinois decided to publish forty of the applications online.

    While a few notables show up on the list of applicants – former Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor, television reporter-turned-Blagojevich-aide Bob Arya – most of the candidates are regular Joes: political neophytes from every walk of life who think they can make a difference in Springfield.

    NBCChicago surveyed several of the applicants, who range from powerful business leaders to unemployed students --- and asked them their plans for the race.

    "Honestly, I don’t have a platform," said Antoinette Lefkow, 48, who didn't submit a resume. "I think that someone without political experience should go in there and shake things up."

    Her sentiment seemed to span the entire applicant pool. None of the applicants have served in statewide office.

    The applicant’s ideas on how to revamp the office of Lt. Governor to make it more relevant were equally fresh-faced.

    "I don’t think we need the office," said Patrick Arbor, Director of Macquarie Futures USA Inc.  "If you take a look at the duties of Lt. Gov it’s pretty limited. … There’s a lot of redundancy and I wouldn’t be averse to ending it. That said, I did throw my hat in the ring and I believe I could be of some service."

    Few of the applicants we spoke with took issue with Pat Quinn’s policies. Arbor said he wasn’t a fan of Quinn’s income tax proposal, but joined the other applicants in praising the accidental governor.

    "Not being real deep into his candidacy, I think all in all the man is doing a good job," said Patrick Byrne, 69, a coordinator at an independent living facility in Glen Ellyn. “I’m pretty proud of the job he has done since taking over for that rat Blagojevich."

    Just one of the applicants we interviewed admitted to a criminal record, and none have taken performance-enhancing drugs.

    "I took Prednisone for my asthma," said Melisa Jane Lewis, 44, a student at ITT. "Does that count?"

    Perhaps the most interesting trend from the cross-sectional interviews: Every one of the candidates interviewed voted for Scott Lee Cohen in the primary.

    "I believe it was Mr. Cohen,” said Sean Shultz, 24, a student at Wright College. "I can’t remember who I voted for in the Lt. Governor race. It’s kind of like running for school president. It’s not a big deal."