CHICAGO — In one of his first official acts since being elected governor, Republican Bruce Rauner named dozens of advisers to a transition team Thursday that included two prominent Democrats, former White House chief of staff Bill Daley and former Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard.
The team — which will help lay policy groundwork and determine who'll be in Rauner's cabinet once he takes office — also included former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, Caterpillar Inc. CEO Doug Oberhelman, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman and the Rev. James Meeks, one of the African American ministers from Chicago who had supported his campaign.
"We want to put together the most talented team of people ever assembled in state government," Rauner said. "They have tremendous networks of talented individuals that they can call upon."
Rauner addressed reporters for the first time since ousting Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a close contest Tuesday. He's the first Republican governor in Illinois in more than a decade.
The Winnetka venture capitalist offered a brief preview of his priorities, saying he was working on scheduling a meeting with top Democrats, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, and that raising the minimum wage was important.
Quinn stressed raising the wage during the campaign and has vowed to pursue it in his remaining months in office. But Rauner took heat during the campaign for changing his stance. He said Thursday he personally voted for a non-binding ballot measure calling to raise Illinois' $7.25 rate to $10, but would recommend lawmakers only approve it in conjunction with other reforms. Rauner spokesman Lance Trover later said Rauner wouldn't work against efforts that'll only raise the rate.
Rauner began announcing his team the day after the election, putting his running mate, Lt. governor-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti in charge. Some new members attended Thursday, standing on risers behind Rauner. The advisory positions are unpaid, according to Rauner's staff.
Daley is the son of late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and the brother of Richard M. Daley, both of whom served more than two decades as Chicago mayor. Bill Daley originally planned a primary campaign against Quinn for the Democratic nomination but dropped the challenge in September last year.
At the time, Daley insisted he could have won but that he didn't have the heart for a prolonged battle to fix Illinois' monumental problems. He also predicted Quinn would lose to a Republican. He didn't address the issues on Thursday.
"All of us, Democrats, Republicans, independents, must move forward together and support our new governor in his administration," Daley said. "The future in this state depends upon all of us helping him."
Poshard, who served several terms in Congress and was a member of the state General Assembly before that, lost the gubernatorial race in 1998 to Republican George Ryan. Huberman briefly served as the head of the nation's third-largest school district under Mayor Richard M. Daley before leaving for a private equity firm. Meeks is a former state senator and head of a Chicago megachurch. Other transition team members include Chicago pastor Corey Brooks and Republican state Rep. Jil Tracy.