Blagojevich Axes Jobs

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Illinois's new governor takes his message of reform and renewal on the road. During a visit to Rockford Wednesday, Gov. Blagojevich says it's not business as usual.

Gov. Blagojevich is wasting no time getting down to business, making some aggressive moves. Tuesday the Democrat eliminated 35 of Gov. Ryan's term appointments and says more cuts are on the way.

"The free ride is over under my leadership," said Blagojevich.

Battling a five billion dollar budget shortfall, Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he's ready to cut the fat from Illinois's budget.

"Under my leadership this government will no longer hire people who don't have the qualifications. I will cut every unnecessary employee I can find," Blagojevich.

Blagojevich continues to hold the line on income or sales tax increases, saying taxpayers shouldn't have to bailout a government plagued by mismanagement and corruption.

"The days of taking care of insiders first and taxpayers last are over," said Blagojevich.

Area legislators say Blagojevich is taking the right approach and legislation should be passed to prohibit 11th hour appointments.

"You've got a guy who does virtually nothing making $99,500 a year and he retires after three months at that level, that's a waste so we have to continue to address these things," said Chuck Jefferson, (D)-Rockford

The governor issued an executive order that department directors cannot make any hires or promotions without approval from the Governor's office. Extended Web Coverage

Name: Rod R. Blagojevich

Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1956

Party: Democrat

Bio: Blagojevich was born in Chicago, is married and has one daughter. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1979 and earned a law degree from Pepperdine University in 1983.

Issues/Political Experience: Blagojevich has focused his campaign heavily on a promise to help families struggling because of recession. He has proposed a plan designed to help the poor pay for prescription drugs and promises to establish an investment program designed to stimulate Illinois business.

Before serving two terms in Congress, Blagojevich was an assistant Cook County state's attorney, prosecuting criminal cases. He was elected to the Illinois House in 1992 and authored truth-in-sentencing legislation, requiring criminals to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before being eligible for parole. As a member of Congress, he captured national attention at the height of the Balkan conflict when he and the Rev. Jesse Jackson went to Belgrade and secured the release of three captured U.S. soldiers. In Congress, he has championed patients-rights legislation.

Electoral History: Blagojevich was elected to the Illinois House from a North Side district in 1992 and served three terms; in 1998, he was elected to the U.S. House from the 5th District, the same seat that former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski once held.

Source: The Associated Press contributed to this report.