CHICAGO – February 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today named two senior members to his administration and re-appointed five members of his executive cabinet. Today’s actions are the second step in a series of appointments Governor Quinn will make over the first quarter of 2011 as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, recovering our economy and making state government more efficient and accountable to the people of Illinois.
Today Governor Quinn named Cristal Thomas to serve as his Deputy Governor for Public Policy and Sean Vinck to serve as Chief Information Officer. Governor Quinn also re-appointed Secretary Brent Adams to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Director Arthur Bishop to the Department of Juvenile Justice, Director Dan Grant to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Director Michael McRaith to the Department of Insurance and Director Marc Miller to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Continuing our mission of recovering Illinois’ economy and addressing our budget challenges requires hard work by a team of dedicated and talented individuals,” said Governor Quinn. “These seven appointees have an ethic of service and I am confident that they will work collaboratively and creatively to address our problems and move Illinois forward.”
As Deputy Governor for Public Policy, Cristal Thomas will help develop and implement the Quinn administration’s public policy priorities. Thomas previously served as Region V Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting as the official representative of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Previously, Thomas was Executive Director of the Ohio Executive Medicaid Management Administration, serving as a member of Governor Ted Strickland’s cabinet. Thomas previously served as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Director of Strategic Planning for HFS, and Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Management and Budget. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
As Chief Information Officer, Vinck will direct the state’s information technology policies, focusing on improving and updating IT infrastructure. Additionally, he will oversee information technology officers throughout state government. Since January 2010, Vinck has served as Special Administrator for the Department of Corrections, where he was tasked with overhauling and modernizing the agency’s electronic Offender Tracking System. Previously, he served as Governor Quinn’s Chief Legislative Counsel and Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs. Vinck also served then-Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn as his Legislative Counsel. He holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.
Secretary Brent Adams partnered with legislative leaders, industry experts, and consumer advocates to develop and pass the Cemetery Oversight Act, one of the most pro-consumer cemetery laws in the country. He also chaired the Mortgage Fraud Task Force and coordinated the Mortgage Relief Project, a statewide program that has helped thousands of homeowners take advantage of programs that can help them save their homes. He drafted and served as a lead negotiator for consumers on the Homeowner Protection Act, the Payday Loan Reform Act, the Consumer Installment Loan Reform Act, and regulations to protect consumers from predatory auto title loans.
Director Arthur Bishop brings more 35 years of experience in administering child welfare, community mental health and substance abuse programs including 15 years serving in the Department of Child and Family Services where he led several initiatives requiring interagency collaboration between public, private and community-based partners, including family advocacy centers, paternal involvement centers and the Fatherhood Initiative. Bishop has also represented DCFS on the Governor’s Task Force on the Condition of African American Males.
Director Dan Grant, a graduate of West Point, has led the Department of Veterans’ Affairs since 2009. Grant has worked with members of the Illinois legislature and testified at hearings to help secure passage of a bill that ensured interest payments were made on delayed Line-of-Duty Benefit payments to bereaved military families (SB 2489.) He also spearheaded legislation to establish the Task Force on Service Member and Veterans Education and the Military Family Interstate Compact Implementation Statute Drafting Advisory Committee (HB 5368). Grant is also a captain in the U.S. Army and led 28 men in a combat arms platoon during a year-long deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served throughout the Sunni Triangle in Bayji, Samarra, Balad, and Tikrit in a wide range of roles, including leading a 120 person team of soldiers, local Iraqi’s, U.S. contractors, and coalition allies in the excavation, collection and destruction of 3 million pounds of enemy ammunition during a 120 day mission.
Director Michael McRaith is leading the state’s implementation of federal health care reform and serves as chairman of the board of directors for the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (a high risk health insurance pool). He also supervises the state’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP), and has actively participated in developing, drafting and advocating for statewide and national health insurance modernization, including boosting reporting requirements to guard against unreasonable premium hikes by Illinois health insurance providers. McRaith also serves on the executive committee of the board of directors for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and serves on board of directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Chicago Chapter.
Director Marc Miller has led the Department of Natural Resources since 2009 after serving on then-Lieutenant Governor Quinn’s staff since June 2004. Miller was instrumental in the development and implementation of many environmental programs including the Dam Safety Initiative and the Mud-to-Parks program, which promoted the beneficial reuse of river settlement. He has also been instrumental in dozens of park development and land acquisition projects throughout Illinois. Miller is also an avid outdoorsman with an interest in fly fishing, hunting, canoeing, wildlife viewing, camping and hiking.