Arne Duncan, Next Governor of Illinois?
Arne Duncan and his family have been residing in Virginia since just after Duncan’s appointment as US secretary of education in December 2008.
In July 2015, Duncan’s wife and children moved back to Chicago, and Duncan was expected to commute to DC, as Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss reports:
Dorie Nolt, Duncan’s press secretary, said in an e-mail:
After more than six years living just outside Washington, D.C., Secretary Duncan’s family moved back to Chicago recently. His wife, Karen, is ready to resume her full-time career in education and will work at her former employer, the University of Chicago Laboratory School, where their children will attend school. Secretary Duncan will continue to work and maintain a residence in D.C. but commute to spend weekends with his family, as many cabinet Secretaries have done. Secretary Duncan remains committed to his work in the Cabinet and will continue to serve at the pleasure of the President.
As it turns out, Duncan will be returning to Chicago earlier than originally expected; as the Associated Press reported on October 02, 2015, Duncan resigned in order to live with his family, implying that the Chicago-DC commute proved to be too much on his family life.
Indeed, there is another issue worthy of consideration, and that is the importance to the timing of the change in Duncan family residency.
If the Duncans continued to reside in Virginia until Obama’s second term ends in January 2017, then Duncan would not meet that three-year residency requirement to run for Illinois governor in the 2018 race.
When Rahm Emanuel left his position in DC as Obama’s chief of staff in order to run for mayor of Chicago in 2011, an appellate court declared that Emanuel could not run for mayor because he had not resided in Chicago for the previous year. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the appellate court decision, noting that Emanuel maintained a house in Chicago, including paying taxes on the house and leaving personal possessions in the house.
Not sure if the Duncans did the same. Emanuel told the Illinois Supreme Court that he had planned only to be away from Chicago for 18 to 24 months. However, the Duncans had been away for “more than six years.” Not sure about the details of their maintaining a home even while they were in Virginia since at least early 2009, but with the Duncan family return to Chicago in mid-2015, Arne Duncan’s residency will present no issue should he decide to run for governor in 2018.
Though residency will not be a hurdle for Duncan, his legacy as the most controlling, punitive, US secretary of education ever will likely prove a more challenging obstacle should he decide to run for Illinois governor. He isn’t even out of DC yet, and the writings about his legacy (rightly) do him few favors. (See here and here and here and here and here for several telling commentaries.)
The next three years will surely produce countless additional writings about the Duncan infliction upon a public education system that he clearly has no authentic desire to understand, much less help.