RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2003
CHICAGO - While making his way to Springfield where he will take office as the next governor and begin bringing fundamental change to state government, Rod Blagojevich's mode of transportation will give him the opportunity to visit with Illinoisans in several communities and take part in activities that underscore the key themes of openness, accessibility and new approaches that are central to the inaugural weekend as a whole.
Blagojevich will make the approximately two hundred-mile journey by railroad, making three scheduled stops between Chicago and Springfield.
The "whistle-stop" tour is another in a string of activities-- such as family-style barbeque-- that will further reinforce the ideas of inclusiveness, reform and public involvement that will be emphasized throughout the days leading up to, and including, Inauguration Day on Monday, January 13.
Logistical support for the train trip -— and for many of the inaugural activities -— is being handled by Jasculca-Terman, a Chicago-based public relations firm.
Blagojevich will depart Chicago's Union Station on the morning of Saturday, January 11. From there, the Governor-elect's train will stop in Joliet, Dwight and Bloomington before arriving in Springfield in the early evening.
The incoming governor said that he was pleased that the "whistle stops" will help him fulfill his goal of meeting with his fellow Illinoisans as he prepares to become governor.
"This will be a reminder of exactly who it is I plan to fight for as governor," he said. "My administration will work to bring change to state government and to positively impact the lives of people all across the state, who live in cities and towns of all sizes."
"I also hope that this trip will be a signal of what is to come after I take office," he added. "I am eager to continue to have direct contact and an ongoing dialogue with the people of this state, around this state—in their own hometowns."
The trip will begin with a send-off from Chicago-area well-wishers. The governor-elect will thank the crowd expected to gather at Union Station in the south loop before boarding the train at approximately 9:45 A.M.
After an approximately one hour trip, Blagojevich will arrive in Joliet, where a rally will be held inside the historic Joliet railroad station.
The next leg of the trip takes Blagojevich from Joliet to Dwight. After exiting the train in Dwight, Blagojevich is expected to visit with local residents and shoppers along the town’s Main Street.
After departing Dwight, he is expected to arrive in Bloomington where he will attend a rally with a crowd comprised largely of college students, including many from Illinois State University.
The train trip will serve as the precursor of a weekend which will have a distinct family-oriented flavor, offering opportunities for people of all ages to join in a celebration of the state’s history, culture and traditions. The highlight of the Springfield schedule will be a free-of-charge family barbeque to be held on the state fairgrounds on Sunday, January 12.
Blagojevich will be sworn-in as governor on Monday, January 13. The ceremonies will be held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, beginning at 11:00 A.M.
Following the inaugural ceremony, Blagojevich and Patrick Quinn, who will be sworn-in as Lt. Governor, will greet members of the public at an "open house" to be held at the Governor's Mansion on Monday afternoon.
The train trip is also a visible reminder of the theme adopted for the overall series of inauguration events: "Joining Together, Moving Forward."
Blagojevich added that it was fitting that the inaugural activities—including the train trip-- will allow people in different communities and of all backgrounds to take part in the festivities. The inaugural ceremony and barbeque will be free-of-charge, while the inaugural ball costs guests a mere $35.
"This is not merely a celebration of one person or of a new governor. The weekend is a celebration of our state and the traditions and values that make us proud to call Illinois home. For that reason, it's appropriate that so many people will have the chance to participate in the inaugural activities in Springfield, and—as is the case with the whistle-stops—in their own hometowns, too," he said.