CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn tapped former Chicago Public Schools leader and former city budget director Paul Vallas as his running mate in the 2014 election.

Quinn made the announcement last week alongside Vallas.

Quinn’s current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, decided earlier this year to seek the state comptroller’s office. Quinn has no major opponents for the Democratic nomination.

Vallas sought the Democratic nomination in 2002 but lost to Rod Blagojevich, who is currently serving a federal prison term for corruption.

“I’ve known Paul Vallas for 30 years and he’s never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people. We have made great progress these last few years, but serious challenges remain and our mission is not yet accomplished,” Quinn said in a statement.

Former Mayor Richard Daley tapped Vallas, a finance professional, to lead the schools in the mid-1990s after the state handed control of the school district back to the city. Vallas went on to lead the school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Conn.

Vallas helped improve CPS’ finances and launched a multi-billion campaign to rebuild schools. The district made some academic strides but educators were critical of his leadership.

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