Considering run for governor, Bill Daley criticizes state’s ‘leadership’
BY CHRIS FUSCO Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org December 20, 2012 2:20PM
Bill Daley in February 2011. | AP file photo
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:27AM
Former White House Chief of Staff William Daley talked a lot about a lack of “leadership” in Illinois government Thursday as he continued to mull a run for governor in 2014.
“I am thinking about it seriously. We are a way’s off [from the next gubernatorial campaign],” said Daley to applause from a packed house at a City Club of Chicago luncheon.
During his prepared remarks before the civic group, he discussed his experiences in President Barack Obama’s administration and praised his father, legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who died 36 years ago Thursday.
Afterward, he told reporters that a widely publicized criminal case against his 38-year-old nephew would have no bearing on his decision whether to run.
Daley cited the state’s $96 billion unfunded pension liability and other fiscal problems as keeping Illinois legislators from being able to focus on growing the state’s economy. Pension-reform ideas proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn “had some promise but they’ve been mostly ignored,” Daley said. He later added: “There’s nothing wrong with Illinois now that can’t be fixed with better leadership.”
Like Daley, the top legislative leaders in Springfield are all Democrats: Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).
Daley studied the idea of becoming a candidate in the 2002 and 2010 races for governor but he didn’t run.
What’s changed is that his brother, Richard M. Daley, is no longer mayor of Chicago — which some political observers viewed as a stumbling block to him winning the state’s highest office because too much power would be concentrated in the Daley family. “I couldn’t convince Rich then to get out,” Daley joked to reporters.
He called Quinn “a decent, honest, good person” and refused to be pinned down about a run against the Democratic incumbent.
He did, however, dismiss any notion that an involuntary-manslaughter charge recently brought against his nephew, Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, would play any role in his decision about whether to run. Vanecko was charged Dec. 3 in the death of David Koschman eight years ago, and a special prosecutor continues to investigate why the Chicago Police Department — then headed by Daley’s brother, the former mayor — refused to bring charges against Vanecko in 2004 and again last year.
“No,” said Daley when asked if his nephew’s situation could impact his decision to enter the governor’s race.
Asked why, Daley replied, “Because it doesn’t.”