Rod Blagojevich

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Rod Blagojevich was the former Governor of Illinois. He was first elected in 2002, and reelected in 2006 (see Illinois gubernatorial election, 2006), but he was impeached and removed from office on Jan. 29, 2009 on corruption charges. Blagojevich had been the first Democratic governor of Illinois in two decades.

Over the first three years of his administration the governor increased education funding by nearly $2.3 billion, making Illinois the top rated state in the Midwest for its increases in education funding. This past legislative session the Governor fulfilled his 3-year, $90 million plan to send 25,000 more children to pre-school. Pre-K Now, a leading national early childhood advocacy group, ranks Illinois among the top states in the nation for early childhood education.

As Governor, Blagojevich has fought to give residents access to affordable prescription drugs from Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Kaiser Foundation recognized Blagojevich for providing health care to low-income families. Gov. Blagojevich helped to expand healthcare coverage during his first two years in office – providing coverage for an additional 313,000 Illinois children and working parents, at a time when many states are cutting access to healthcare. [1]

Gov. Blagojevich was born December 10, 1956 on the Northwest side of Chicago. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1979 and earned his law degree from Pepperdine School of Law in 1983.

Before becoming Governor, Blagojevich was a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, prosecuting domestic abuse cases and felony weapons charges, making him a strong advocate for tougher sentencing laws when he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1992. He served in the Illinois lower house from 1993 to 1997. In the General Assembly, he pushed legislation revoking gun permits for people convicted of stalking or domestic violence and supported efforts to require violent criminals to spend more of their sentences behind bars.

In 1996, he defeated Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan and was elected to represent Illinois’ 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress, he distinguished himself as an advocate for education, securing funding for after-school tutoring programs. He was also a leader in the fight to establish a Patients’ Bill of Rights, to assure prompt access to mammograms, and to require higher safety and care standards at nursing homes.

He and his wife, Patti, have two daughters. Blagojevich's father-in-law, city Alderman for the 33rd ward, Dick Mell, was one of the last strong ward leaders in Chicago.

Fun Fact: In a speech at a Ronald Reagan memorial held early June 2004 in Dixon Illinois (Reagan's birthplace) Blagojevich admitted to having voted twice for Reagan. (NPR)

External Links

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