Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0821
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Full Text of HR0821  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of former
4State Representative, gubernatorial Chief of Staff,
5Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO, and Regional
6Transportation Authority Chair Jim Reilly, who passed away on
7Monday, April 4, 2022; and
8    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly was born on January 31, 1945 in
9Springfield, a native of Illinois and a graduate of the
10Springfield public school system; he graduated from
11Springfield High School in 1962; and
12    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly's college years were spent at Illinois
13College in Jacksonville, and his law school years were spent
14at the University of Chicago in Chicago; he received his law
15degree in 1972; and
16    WHEREAS, During his time in law school, Jim Reilly also
17spent two gap years teaching language arts to eighth-graders
18in Winchester; and
19    WHEREAS, During his time in Winchester and inspired by his
20father, who had been a Springfield lawyer in general practice
21as well as a staunch Republican, Jim Reilly did district



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1office work for a local state representative, Thomas C. Rose;
2during this time, he made many friends and local connections
3throughout the Jacksonville area; and
4    WHEREAS, After graduating from law school in 1972 and
5passing the bar, Jim Reilly was invited to work with a practice
6in Jacksonville and served as a lawyer in Morgan County,
7moving laterally to become the first full-time city attorney
8of Jacksonville; and
9    WHEREAS, When Tom Rose decided not to run for re-election
10as state representative in 1976, Jim Reilly ran to be one of
11the three representatives of the Jacksonville-centered 49th
12District, one of the former multi-member districts that the
13Illinois House used to have, and he was elected; and
14    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly joined a large class of freshmen
15Republicans in the 80th General Assembly in January 1977,
16headed by future Governor Jim Edgar; and
17    WHEREAS, When Jim Edgar became the legislative liaison for
18Governor Jim Thompson in 1979, Thompson and Edgar began
19working closely with Jim Reilly as a gubernatorial ally and
20lawmaker in the Illinois House of Representatives; and
21    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly then became Governor Thompson's chief



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1counsel in 1983; after the Governor's then-Chief of Staff Art
2Quern left a few months later, Gov. Thompson promoted Jim
3Reilly to be his chief of staff; and
4    WHEREAS, In 1985, one of the major events in public policy
5of that year was a major cost overrun in a construction project
6in Chicago, the structure that became the McCormick Place
7North Building with 705,500 square feet of exhibit space;
8built to maintain what was then McCormick Place's identity as
9the world's largest convention center, the construction
10project developed a major cost overrun that required a State
11bailout; and
12    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly's chief-of-staff leadership helped
13develop bipartisan support for the bailout; the governmental
14structure of McCormick Place was reorganized, and the new law
15achieved a record of cooperation between the State of
16Illinois, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago area on
17infrastructure issues; and
18    WHEREAS, In his fourth campaign for the Governor's chair
19in 1986, Jim Thompson made "Build Illinois" infrastructure a
20key plank in his election effort and was re-elected; and
21    WHEREAS, Jim Reilly left Springfield in 1989 to become the
22chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and



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1Exposition Authority, the governing authority over McCormick
2Place; under his leadership, State and Chicago-area
3infrastructure issues had a common point of intersection; and
4    WHEREAS, In 1993, Governor Jim Edgar asked Jim Reilly to
5return to the gubernatorial chief of staff office; and
6    WHEREAS, In his second term as chief of staff, Jim Reilly
7helped lead negotiations and put together the first Hospital
8Assessment Program to close the growing gap in Medicaid
9funding between State general revenues and medical care costs;
11    WHEREAS, After working in 1994 through Governor Edgar's
12successful re-election that year, Jim Reilly returned to the
13Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA); from
141995-1999, the MPEA oversaw construction and completion of the
15McCormick Place South Building and the renovation of Chicago's
16Navy Pier; and
17    WHEREAS, In 1999, Jim Reilly joined the private sector,
18becoming the CEO of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau,
19continuing until 2004 in his role as a coordinator of what has
20become one of northeastern Illinois's largest industries; and
21    WHEREAS, Cutting back from full-time service, Jim Reilly



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1became the non-executive chairperson of the Regional
2Transportation Authority (RTA) in 2005, continuing his record
3of prioritizing infrastructure and bringing people from all
4regions and political parties together; he helped lead the
5financial and governmental restructuring of the RTA and served
6in this role for five years until 2010; and
7    WHEREAS, When the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition
8Authority ran into a new funding crisis similar to that of
91985, Jim Reilly was there; returning to the MPEA as CEO once
10again in 2012 and serving until 2015; and
11    WHEREAS, Continuing his lifelong interest in
12infrastructure, Jim Reilly also chaired the Capital
13Development Board, the senior panel overseeing State-financed
14non-transportation capital projects; and
15    WHEREAS, Although his final decades were spent in Chicago,
16Jim Reilly remained a downstater in his heart; to his last day,
17he maintained his lifelong loyalty to the St. Louis Cardinals;
19    WHEREAS, A tower of strength to Jim Reilly in his final
20decades, as he worked to bring people together, was his wife
21Veronica Lynch, who has her own ties and history with the
22highest levels of Illinois politics; and



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1    WHEREAS, On the opposite side of Lake Michigan from
2McCormick Place and Navy Pier, Jim Reilly and Veronica Lynch
3owned the Sandpiper Inn in Union Pier, Michigan, which they
4operated as a bed and breakfast inn for guests during their
5ownership; and
6    WHEREAS, During their ownership, guests could go to the
7Sandpiper Inn and, on weekends, eat downstate Illinois-style
8pancake breakfasts cooked personally by the former two-time
9gubernatorial chief of staff; therefore, be it
12we mourn the death of Jim Reilly, a major figure in the history
13of Chicago and in the history of the entire State of Illinois;
14and be it further
15    RESOLVED, That we recognize the heritage that Jim Reilly
16and other men and women like him leave behind them as forgers
17of consensus and agreement on challenging issues of public
18policy; instead of tearing things apart, he put things
19together like sections of track in the model train sets that he
20loved; and be it further
21    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be



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1presented to Jim Reilly's wife, Veronica Lynch, as a token of
2our esteem and gratitude for the life of Jim Reilly of