SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed an Executive Order establishing the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. This Commission will lead Illinois’ planning efforts to plan the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday in February 2009.
“Three years from now, all eyes will be on Illinois as we observe the Lincoln Bicentenary,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Nearly two centuries after his birth, Abraham Lincoln is still our greatest President. This commission will be charged with making sure that his 200th birthday will be a once in a lifetime event – one that lives up to his legacy.”
The Commission will include the following individuals:
· Governor of the State of Illinois
· Illinois Congressional Delegation
· Illinois Lt. Governor
· Illinois Secretary of State
· Illinois Attorney General
· Illinois State Treasurer
· Illinois State Comptroller
· President of the Illinois Senate
· Speaker of the Illinois House
· Illinois Senate Minority Leader
· Illinois House Minority Leader
· Mayor of Chicago
· Mayor of Springfield
And, representatives from the following organizations:
· Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
· Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation
· Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
· Illinois Bureau of Tourism
Over the next several months, Gov. Blagojevich will appoint up to 30 public members to the Commission. These individuals may represent academia, business, the arts, community development, civil rights and historic preservation communities.
"With Gov. Blagojevich's Executive Order, Illinois will join Kentucky and Indiana in establishing Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commissions to celebrate the 200th birthday of our greatest president," said Julie Cellini, a member of the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and chairman of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. "I look for all three of the states Lincoln called home to be integral in what happens to mark this important anniversary."
Cellini indicated that Illinois is already central in telling the Lincoln story because it has more than a dozen major Lincoln historic sites, plus the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which has drawn more than 500,000 visitors since it opened ten months ago. "Creation of our own Bicentennial Commission will allow us to showcase Illinois' treasures so the Bicentennial has significance for a world wide audience."
The Commission will work closely with the Governor’s office, state and local government agencies, members of the Illinois General Assembly, and organizations that are dedicated to commemorating the life of Abraham Lincoln. They will also be responsible for scheduling all Bicentennial activities.
The Commission will submit an annual report to Gov. Blagojevich and the General Assembly each year and include a list of recommended improvements to Abraham Lincoln commemorative locations.