The millennium was still new the last time Paul Vallas actually had a job in Illinois. So when news broke Friday he was going to be Governor Quinn's running mate, newcomers to the state might have asked "who?" while many of us asked "how?"
Illinois law is candidates for statewide office must be registered voters in the state for at least three years, and Vallas has held high-profile jobs outside Illinois for more than ten years.
Vallas' most famous role after leaving Chicago was in New Orleans, leading the public schools after Hurricane Katrina. It became his adopted hometown, and his passion.
His bio lists the cities where he has worked the past decade: Philadelphia from 2003 to 2007; New Orleans to 2011 and currently, Bridgeportm Connecticut. These are hardly jobs where you can hide.
Even though Vallas' tenure there has been rocky, his contract with the Bridgeport Connecticut schools runs through 2016. He is still listed as the superintendent there and just a few days ago unveiled a new schools' website that left no doubt who was in charge.
But through all the jobs in all the cities, his wife and three children have lived here in cook county and been registered to vote here. And Vallas himself has held voter registration in Cook County since 2008.
According to Cook County Clerk records, in the 2008 presidential election he voted here in person.
The 2010 primary Vallas requested a Republican ballot which was sent to New Orleans, although he didn't return it; 2010 general voted in person; 2012 primary went back to a Democratic ballot which was sent to Connecticut as was last year's general election.
What this means is that despite not actually working here, Vallas meets the legal qualification to run for state office.
A few weeks ago Vallas told a Connecticut newspaper that he planned to keep the superintendent's job in Bridgeport until "someone says i can't."
That actually might have been coming next month when a new school board is set to take over.
But now that Governor Quinn has invited him out of voluntary exile, Vallas will be able to leave the east coast on his own terms.