Gov. Pat Quinn can take credit for covering a lot of ground in his State of the State speech Wednesday. But he's also taking a lot of heat for not covering what lawmakers wanted to hear.

Gov. Pat Quinn can take credit for covering a lot of ground in his State of the State speech Wednesday. But he's also taking a lot of heat for not covering what lawmakers wanted to hear.


Legislators, state leaders, Quinn's opponents and others weighed in on the pros and cons after the speech. Here's what they had to say.


GateHouse-area lawmakers


Local lawmakers mostly gave a thumbs-down to Quinn's speech, both to what he said and didn't say.


Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria, said he was disappointed Quinn didn't show much vision and leadership for where he wanted the state to go and how to get there.


"The state of the state is not good, and he should have been up there telling us about what the state of the state is and his vision on getting us out of this problem," Risinger said.


Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, complained Quinn didn't speak specifically about restoring thousands of job losses statewide.


Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, said he was "disappointed" that Quinn spent little time talking about the budget deficit.


"To me, everything we do this year is going to revolve around the budget," he said. "(Quinn) talked literally just five or six minutes ... about what we can do to get out of this situation."


Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, agreed, saying "a new governor" is the best solution to the state's budget woes.


Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, said Quinn should have spoken more about the state's financial crisis but he was pleased that the state's capital construction program and tourism made the speech.


"He spoke from the heart," he said. "Philosophically, we may differ, but you can't argue that he's not genuine in his beliefs and his integrity."           


Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, said Quinn rightly balanced the challenges facing the state with the accomplishments of the last year and continues to show he's a "decent and honest person."


"We know what happens when you don't have trust with the person in the governor's office. It doesn't work," Koehler said.


Quinn's opponents


Quinn's opponents running for governor wasted little time in blasting his address.


Comptroller Dan Hynes, his foe in the Feb. 2 Democratic primary, said Quinn failed to address the state's most pressing issues, from the budget crisis to job losses.


"I came to listen to a State of the State speech but instead got a Pat Quinn state-of-mind speech," Hynes quipped to reporters afterward.


Reaction from Republican gubernatorial candidates ranged from disgust to disbelief.


Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, said Quinn's speech was "rambling," and it "provided no solutions" to the state's financial problems.


"Governor Quinn is a nice man, but he's inept and there is no vision for the state of Illinois," he said. "We need new leadership."


Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said Quinn seemed to be missing the point from the outset.


"This speech reminded me of a father who's about ready to lose the house to the bank, and all he can talk about is this great vacation the family's going on, and let's go on a spending spree to buy clothes for the vacation," Brady said.


Others


Republican legislative leaders agreed Quinn was far too short in specifics and didn't recognize the major problems facing the state.


"We are still one of the states that has the worst jobs climate (and) the highest debt per capita," said Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont. "Part of that was under his tutelage, and he didn't address that at all."


House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, declined comment to reporters. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, had no reaction to the address, spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said.


Business groups criticized Quinn for again talking about tax increases with what they view as little help for them.


"He said nothing about helping employers out of this economic plight by cutting government over-regulation, addressing out-of-control worker's compensation costs or high unemployment rate," said Kim Clarke Maisch, state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.


The Ounce of Prevention Fund, an advocacy group for early childhood education, praised Quinn for touting the importance of those programs in his speech.


But the Illinois Federation of Teachers said it heard nothing Wednesday to allay concerns about schools and universities facing major budget problems soon.


John Guidroz can be reached at (217) 782-6882 or john.guidroz@sj-r.com. Matt Hopf can be reached at (217) 782-3095 or matt.hopf@sj-r.com.