The Governor of Illinois is the chief executive of the State of Illinois and the various agencies and departments over which the officer has jurisdiction, as prescribed in the state constitution. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state. The governor is responsible for enacting laws passed by the Illinois General Assembly. Illinois is one of 14 states with no gubernatorial term-limit. The current governor is Republican Bruce Rauner.
The term of office of Governor of Illinois is four years, and there is no limit on the number of terms a governor may serve. Inauguration takes place on the second Monday in January following a gubernatorial election. A single term ends four years later. A governor is required to be:
at least twenty-five years old
a United States citizen
a resident of Illinois for three years prior to election
The governor is also given the use of an official residence on the state fair grounds, also located in Springfield. Governors have traditionally used this residence part of the year.
However, some governors, such as Rod Blagojevich, have chosen to not use the governor's homes as their primary residence, instead commuting either by car or plane to Springfield from their home cities. Many Chicago-based governors also have done much of their business out of the governor's office in Chicago's James R. Thompson Center, an office building owned by the state named for former governor James R. Thompson (1977-1991) Illinois' longest serving governor.
Len Small (R), governor from 1921 to 1929, was indicted in office for corruption. He was acquitted; thereafter, eight of the jurors received state jobs. Among his defense lawyers was a former governor, Joseph W. Fifer, who asserted in pre-trial hearings, that the governorship has the divine right of kings.
Daniel Walker (D), governor from 1973 to 1977, was later involved in the savings and loan scandals and convicted of federal crimes related to fraudulent loans to himself from his own First American Savings & Loan Association of Oak Brook. He was sentenced to seven years in prison with five years of probation following his release.
Rod Blagojevich (D), governor from 2003 to 2009, and Ryan's successor, was impeached and removed from office by the Illinois General Assembly in a unanimous vote in January 2009 after being tied to multiple "pay to play" schemes, including attempting to sell the former Senate seat of recently elected President Barack Obama. In August 2010, he was convicted of lying to the FBI in connection with the investigation, but the jury deadlocked on 23 other charges. Blagojevich was retried on 20 counts from his 2010 trial and on June 27, 2011, Blagojevich was convicted on 17 counts of fraud, acquitted on one count and the jury was hung on two. On December 7, 2011, Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison.