Doug Whitley said he’s fed up with the way Illinois government has been going.

“I can’t take it anymore,” he said.

That’s why Whitley, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and former head of the Illinois Department of Revenue, wants to run for governor in 2010. He spoke at the 36th annual Effingham County Lincoln Day dinner after spending more than a half-hour beforehand shaking hands with dinner guests on their way into the Effingham Knights of Columbus banquet hall.

Whitley, 58, said he wants to be the proverbial white knight who rescues the damsel Illinois from political and economic ruin.

“I am motivated to save Illinois from a downward spiral caused by failed political leadership,” he said. “I would like to bring a brighter future to Illinois.”

Whitley suggested the GOP gubernatorial nominee won’t win a general election without Democratic and independent votes.

“There are simply not enough registered Republicans to win a statewide race,” he said. “My appeal is going to be to the disillusioned, disenfranchised nonvoter.

“I’m going to go after conservative Democrats and the thinking independent who doesn’t vote in primaries.”

Whitley said he disagrees with the tack taken by the conservative wing of the GOP — such as that represented by state Sen. Bill Brady.

“The ‘take no prisoners’ approach to politics hasn’t worked,” he said. “We need to find a common theme about saving our state.”

Whitley has never run for public office, but he did spend 14 years as head of the Taxpayers Federation of Illinois — a citizen watchdog group. After more than 20 years in Springfield, he now lives in the Kane County community of Batavia.


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