|38th Governor of Illinois|
January 14, 1991 –January 11, 1999
|Preceded by||James R. Thompson|
|Succeeded by||George Ryan|
|35th Secretary of State of Illinois|
January 12,1981 –January 14,1991
|Governor||James R. Thompson|
|Preceded by||Alan J. Dixon|
|Succeeded by||George Ryan|
|Member of the IllinoisHouseofRepresentatives |
from the 53rd district
ServingwithCharles M. "Chuck" Campbell,Larry Stuffle
|Preceded by|| Max E. Coffey |
Robert "Bob" Craig
|Succeeded by||Harry Woodyard|
|Education||Eastern Illinois University|
James Edgar (born July 22,1946) is an American politician who was the 38th governor of Illinois from 1991 to 1999.Previously he served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1976 to 1979 and as Illinois Secretary of State from 1981 to 1991. Though still popular,he surprised many by retiring from elected office after his second term as governor,claiming that heart problems he had during his tenure as governor were not a factor in his decision.
A Republican,Edgar was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1976 and re-elected in 1978.
In April 1979,Edgar resigned his state House seat to accept an appointment from Governor Jim Thompson as his legislative liaison. In early 1981,when then-Secretary of State Alan Dixon moved to the U.S. Senate,Thompson named Edgar to fill the vacancy. He won the office on his own in 1982 and 1986 and served until 1991.
During his second term,the relationship between his re-election campaign and Management Systems of Illinois (MSI) came under federal scrutiny. MSI,Edgar's largest campaign contributor,was granted a contract that cost an estimated $20 million in overcharges. Edgar was never accused of wrongdoing,but he testified twice,once in court and once by videotape,becoming the first sitting Illinois governor to take the witness stand in a criminal case in 75 years. In those appearances,the governor insisted political donations played no role in who received state contracts. Convictions were obtained against Management Services of Illinois;Michael Martin,who had been a partner of Management Services of Illinois,and Ronald Lowder,who had been a state welfare administrator and later worked for Management Services of Illinois.
Prior to 1981,the State of Illinois funded pensions on an "as-you-go" basis,making benefit payouts as they came due,with employee contributions and investment income funding a reserve to cover future payouts. This approach was stopped in 1982 due to strains on the Illinois budget,and state contributions remained flat between 1982 and 1995,resulting in underfunding of pensions by approximately $20 billion. To address this shortfall,the Illinois legislature,in 1994,passed and then-Governor Edgar signed Public Act 88-593,which set payments by the State of Illinois into the pension funds at only 90 percent of liabilities,stretched this funding level over 50 years until 2045,and back-loaded payments with a 15-year ramp.The underfunding of pension reserves over the first fifteen years was not fiscally sound,and was the major cause of a large gap between the State's obligations to pay pension benefits and the funds available to pay those benefits. As Governor,Edgar signed the pension legislation into law,and for this reason,the initial underfunding of pensions became known as the "Edgar Ramp." The US Federal Securities and Exchange Commission described this analysis in a report.
Edgar is a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Government &Public Affairs at the University of Illinois in Champaign,Illinois.
In February 2008,Edgar endorsed Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona for President of the United States.
Edgar was named the honorary chairman of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration at Eureka College,President Reagan's alma mater. To open the Reagan Centennial year in January 2011,Governor Edgar delivered the keynote speech at the concluding dinner of the "Reagan and the Midwest" academic conference held at Eureka College.In September 2011,Edgar helped dedicate the Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center housed in the Eureka College library.
As former chairman of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation,Edgar underwrote the costs of the traveling trophy for the annual Lincoln Bowl tradition started in 2012. The Lincoln Bowl celebrates the Lincoln connection with Knox College and Eureka College,two Illinois colleges where Lincoln spoke,and is awarded to the winning team each time the two schools play each other in football.
Edgar supported Mitt Romney in 2012.When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016,Edgar publicly announced that he would not be voting for the candidate. After the President's second nomination,Edgar,along with other Illinois GOP moderates,announced their support of former United States Vice President and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Edgar told Peoria-area newspaper Peoria Journal Star,"I have been very disappointed. We’ve had chaos for four years we didn’t need to have. I mean,there’s always going to be some turmoil,but he stirs it up. He bullies. You can’t believe what he says because he’ll do the different thing the next day. ... He’s bungled the virus,there’s no doubt about that. He continued to stir up division in the country,(when) a president should be trying to bring people together. I mean,the list goes on and on."
In the spring of 2016,Edgar said publicly that he believes Governor Bruce Rauner should sign the Democratic budget and support the Democratic pension plan.Edgar pushed for a pension bill to save $15 billion back in 1994. "We had a time bomb in our retirement system that was going to go off in the first part of the 21st century," Edgar told The State Journal Register in 1994. "This legislation defuses that time bomb." The legislature passed Edgar's bill unanimously.
In July 2016,the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Illinois Financing Partners,a firm for which Edgar served as chairman,won approval by the state to advance money to state vendors who had been waiting for payments by the state. In turn,the firm would get to keep late payment fees when Illinois finally pays.
Jim Edgar was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1999 in the area of Government.
Raymond H. LaHood is an American politician who served as the 16th United States Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013 under President Barack Obama. A member of the Republican Party,he previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives (1982–1983) and United States House of Representatives (1995–2009).
James Robert Thompson Jr.,also known as Big Jim Thompson,was an American attorney and politician who served as the 37th and longest-serving governor of the US state of Illinois,serving from 1977 to 1991. A moderate Republican who sometimes took more liberal stances on issues,Thompson was elected to four consecutive terms and held the office for 14 years. Many years after leaving public office,he served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
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