|George H. Ryan was elected Illinois' 39th
governor on November 3, 1998, continuing a distinguished career of
Governor Ryan, born February 1934, served as
secretary of state for eight years (1991-1999) and lieutenant governor
for eight years (1983-91). He also had an accomplished 10-year legislative
A lifelong resident of Kankakee and a pharmacist,
Ryan has been a leader on both the local and state level. He began
his political career as a member and later chairman of the Kankakee
County Board. He was elected to the Illinois House in 1972 and re-elected
four times. During that tenure, he served two terms as House Republican
leader and one term as Speaker of the House (1981-1983).
Since taking office in January 1999, Gov. Ryan
has proposed and successfully passed the historic and visionary
Illinois FIRST legislation. The Illinois FIRST program provides
$12 billion to rebuild and expand the state's roadways, renovate
mass transit systems, build, repair and renovate schools, clean
environmental hazards, and upgrade water and sewer systems to improve
the quality of life for Illinois residents.
Gov. Ryan also passed significant legislation
to increase education and training funding to 51% of all new revenue.
The Governor proposed and passed, the innovative EDGE tax credit
for companies creating jobs in Illinois, the CAP law to prevent
child access to guns, the 15-20-Life law to impose tougher sentences
on criminals who use guns, the open lands trust initiative to acquire
and preserve land for future generations, and the HMO patient bill
of rights to make managed care more fair and responsive to Illinois
During Ryan's second legislative term, he demonstrated
his commitment to educate our children and prepare the workforce
for the challenges of the New Economy. The VentureTECH initiative
will promote technology by investing in the people, programs and
physical structures as well as to promote venture capital investment.
In January of 2000, after 13 people sentenced to death row were
found to have been wrongfully convicted, Gov. Ryan took the unprecedented
step of declaring a moratorium on executions and established a commission
to comprehensibly review the system of capital punishment. Gov.
Ryan said, "Until I can be sure, with moral certainty, that
no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will
meet that fate." Also, the Governor has created a commission
to rewrite the state's outdated and confusing criminal code.
As a result of Gov. Ryan's commitment to public
service and his legislative accomplishments, he has been named 'Man
of the Year' and received various other awards by numerous organizations
including; the City Club of Chicago, the Veterans Leadership Program,
Arab-American Business and Professional Association, Joint Civic
Committee of Italian Americans, American Associates Ben Gurion University,
Illinois Commission Against Handgun Violence and Coalition Unity
As secretary of state, Ryan worked to promote
an efficient and cost-conscious administration that provided high-quality
service to Illinois taxpayers and motorists. At the same time, he
broke new ground in the fight against drunk driving, in the prevention
of violence in society, in support of adult literacy, in increasing
awareness about the need for organ donors and in the use of 21st
Century technology in libraries and government.
Secretary Of State Ryan proposed and passed
significant legislation and introduced various initiatives:
Lowering the legal
limit for drunk driving from a blood-alcohol content of .10 percent
to .08 percent.
"Use It &
Lose It" suspending the drivers' licenses of underage motorists
who drink and drive.
Safety" requiring teens to get more training during their
first years behind the wheel.
Requiring all new
school bus drivers to undergo complete criminal background checks.
Ryan is a graduate of Kankakee public schools,
served with the U.S. Army in Korea and, following his discharge,
obtained a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Ferris State College
in Big Rapids, Michigan. After 42 years of family ownership, the
Ryan pharmacies were sold in 1990.
George and Lura Lynn Ryan are the parents
of a son and five daughters, including triplets. They have fourteen