Vallas says he's OK playing 'second fiddle'

November 12, 2013

The Associated Press

AP/File
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, left, arrives at a press conference to introduce Paul Vallas, right, as his choice for running mate on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, in Chicago.

Former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas says he'll have no trouble playing "second fiddle" to Gov. Pat Quinn as his 2014 running mate.

Vallas and Quinn appeared together Tuesday for the first time since the governor announced last week that Vallas was his pick for lieutenant governor.

Vallas sought the 2002 Democratic nomination for Illinois governor but lost to now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

He says he was initially surprised when Quinn approached him about the job. But he says the Chicago Democrat "wants to assemble the strongest team possible."

Vallas also says he's OK with playing second fiddle, "or whatever instrument in the orchestra Pat wants me to play" because he believes in Quinn.

Both men say addressing Illinois' pension crisis will remain the administration's top priority.