Sneed scoop: Why former Republican Gov. Edgar is on Pritzker’s transition team

Sneed exclusive . . .

The Edgar award . . .

No, this isn’t about naming the winner of this year’s best mystery novel.

The mystery is solved: Republican former Gov. Jim Edgar has been named a member of Democrat Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s transition team, and he’s “looking forward to helping him getting the state back on track.”

Reached by phone while on vacation out of the country early Thursday morning, Edgar, a teetotaler who was known for the art of compromise — except when it came to permitting alcohol in the governor’s mansion — told Sneed:

“Well, we are not going to agree on everything — but I will tell you one thing that struck me about J.B. whom I’ve know for a long time since we served on a board together.

“He (J.B.) knows what he doesn’t know,” said Edgar, who had been critical of incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s leadership style.

“That’s quality is huge. It’s the trait or characteristic of someone who is a success at what he does . . . and is very savvy,” added Edgar, a popular governor who served two terms in the ’90s.

“He (J.B.) asked me if I’d be a part of the transition team about a week ago,” said Edgar, who said he talked to Pritzker Wednesday morning following the election. Pritzker told him he had already talked to the Republican leaders (Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican leader Bill Brady).

“I felt that was a very, very good sign. A great sign he wants to reach out and talk to both parties.

“I know we will have our differences, but J.B. knows how important it is to reach out to both sides and work on the art of compromise.

“This guy listens. Really listens. And is willing to compromise.”

One of Pritzker’s most controversial proposals is a graduated income tax for Illinois, which has met resistance from both sides of the political aisle.

“Well, it’s a dilemma, and there are certainly pros and cons,” Edgar said.

“Even if it was the right thing to do, the state wouldn’t receive any money for at least four years because you’d have to go through a long process to get it done,” he added.

“A constitutional amendment would have to be passed, then it would have to be voted on in the next election and then it would have to be implemented.

“That’s at least a four year process before the state would receive any money,” Edgar said.



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