Quinn had been collecting signatures to run against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who had been collecting signatures for a run for Chicago mayor, announced Thursday that he will not be throwing his hat into the ring. But Quinn said he will remain politically active.
Quinn had served in many roles in state and local government over the years, including governor from 2009-2015. He had been mulling a mayoral run since the beginning of the summer. But this week he came to the conclusion his time would be better spent passing petitions of a different kind.
"We the people need to have the chance not just to vote for candidates, but to vote for issues," Quinn said.
Over 40 years ago, Quinn spearheaded the referendum drive that led to the formation of the Citizens Utility Board. Now, he will shift his focus from collecting petitions to be mayor to a new petition drive to create a Taxpayer Advocate position in Chicago - someone who could push for property tax relief and reform.
"I think my opportunity to serve comes best at starting and conducting that petition drive and working with people in other communities in Illinois on their petition drives and referendums," Quinn said.
Quinn joined several other high-profile individuals, including Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Congressman Mike Quigley, in deciding to stay out of the race.
Quinn said he will make an endorsement at some point, but he played the diplomat when asked to assess the current field of candidates.
"At the starting line, everybody's strong, you know, and I think that's good," Quinn said.
Quinn bemoaned the current relationship between Chicago City Council and Mayor Lori Lightfoot and said she has too much power in appointing committee chairs.
Quinn was asked if her lack of commitment to term limits and the Anjanette Young police reform ordinance would be a deal breaker for an endorsement.
"Well, everybody has opportunity to improve and I'm trying to make my points now," Quinn said.
Quinn said he fully expects the mayor's race to go to a run-off in April and he said Mayor Lightfoot will have, in his words, a stern contest in her bid for re-election.