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Gov. Quinn promises 'quite a bit of activity' in final days in office

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks during a news conference Sunday afternoon at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn promised “quite a bit of activity” Sunday as he begins his final week as Illinois governor.

That could be particularly true when lawmakers return to Springfield on Thursday. Quinn called them back for a special session in the wake of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s death last month. Quinn, a Democrat, plans to use his final days in office pushing for a special election in 2016 so voters can help choose Topinka’s successor.

He added Sunday that it “probably is the appropriate time to address any other possibilities that would occur in the future where there might be a vacancy in offices such as secretary of state or attorney general.”

Voters denied Quinn a second full term in office in November, choosing to replace him with Republican businessman Bruce Rauner. The incoming governor and other elected officials won’t take their oaths of office until Jan. 12, but inaugural festivities begin Saturday night in Springfield.

Meanwhile, Quinn said “when you take an oath of office, it’s for every day of your term.” Since losing the election, Quinn has granted several clemency petitions, signed a handful of bills and promised to sign more. He’s also expected to appear at a City Club of Chicago luncheon Tuesday.

But he said Sunday he’s particularly looking forward to Thursday’s special session. Republicans have said the special comptroller election Quinn is seeking in 2016 would require a constitutional amendment. A Rauner spokesman has also said the governor-elect plans to appoint someone to serve the entire four-year term Topinka won in November.

“I think it’s important that we make sure the people call the shots,” Quinn said. “That’s what democracy is all about. Everyday people in the driver’s seat. So, electing their constitutional officers, I think, is a fundamental principle of democracy in Illinois, and we hope on Thursday to get that bill on my desk so I can sign it into law.”