Chicago Sun-Times
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Quinn stands by 'Squeezy' despite pension inaction

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SPRINGFIELD-In the end, the cartoon depiction of an orange python squeezing the life out of the Capitol dome failed to convince Illinois lawmakers to solve the state's $95 billion pension crisis, but Gov. Pat Quinn said that inaction wasn't Squeezy's fault.

In November, his administration trotted out a low-budget YouTube and Facebook campaign featuring an animated snake called Squeezy atop the statehouse to dramatize how pension obligations are strangling spending on other vital areas of state government.

The effort was quickly derided as amateurish and trivial by some critics and didn't move the needle on pension reform, but don't count Quinn among the naysayers.

In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Carol Marin on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight," the governor said he has no regrets about introducing the cartoon snake to Illinois voters.

"Not at all. As a matter of fact, every time I talk to people like yourself in the media or politicians, they refer to the pension squeeze. You have to be creative in communicating with the public," Quinn said in an interview that aired Monday.

"The bottom line is the pension squeeze is squeezing out our investment in schools. Our prescious children don't get the education they deserve because we're putting too much money into a pension account. We really have to be vivid in connecting to the 13 million people in Illinois, and I think we've been successful because people over and over keep referring to the pension squeeze," the governor said.

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