“Trust, to me, is the most important thing to being an effective leader.” Jim Edgar said at a “Reflections on Leadership” panel discussion in April 2023. Edgar was joined by other local leaders: Kim Uphoff, CEO of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System; Joe Dively, chairman and CEO of First Mid Bank; and Laretta Henderson, dean of Eastern Illinois University’s College of Education, at the panel, which took place at Eastern Illinois University.
At the panel, Edgar discussed his unique leadership philosophy influenced his governor years. He also commented some of the challenges he faced during the early years of his administration remarking, “I had to raise taxes at the same time I had to cut spending. That is an important part of being an effective leader, being able to convince folks to do things they don’t want to do.” But, he remarked later in the panel “One of the key qualities of being a good leader is leading when things are tough.”
During his years as governor, Jim Edgar was able to take Illinois from having a mountain of unpaid bills to a balanced budget and a surplus in the state’s coffers of $1.2 billion.