One day after the election, Governor-elect Bruce Rauner began moving forward by naming his transition team in a press release Wednesday. Those in the know say this transition time is important — but may not be easy.
Lieutenant Governor-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti will chair the governor-elect’s transition team.
In addition, several key campaign staffers will be part of the transition team as well. Deputy campaign manager Mike Zolnierowicz will take the role of transition director. Campaign manager Chip Englander and Nancy Kimme, state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s chief of staff, were named advisers. Also, chief campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf will continue as communications director.
According to reports, Rauner said during the announcement of the team that he’s “committed to assembling a diverse and talented team to drive results” for the people of the state.
Illinois Democratic Party Spokesman Steve Brown expects things to go smoothly, but said the process may not necessarily be easy.
“You’ve got to find people willing to serve, willing to go through the scrutiny that the current ethics laws … require,” he said. “But I’m confident that there’s many, many people willing … to put some time in and help run the state agencies.”
Brown said the power transition is a huge task. Politics professor Kent Redfield agreed, but said he also expects Rauner to move quickly.
“He’ll make appointments pretty quickly after he comes in in January,” he said. “Now, they have to go through confirmation in the senate, there’s a process.”
Redfield said picking the right team will allow Rauner to show that he’s a leader. He added that Rauner’s known to have talked with a number of governors, such as Mitch Daniels and Scott Walker, about how to put together a team to focus on policy and running state government agencies.
Rauner’s announcement of a transition team also said the committee will disclose and cap all contributions in the transition effort.
After exceeding campaign contribution limits and using $27.6 million of his own money into his campaign, Rauner said the transition committee will limit contributions and disclose donors.
Reporters Greg Bishop and Erinn Hutkin contributed to this report.