Turnberry Country Club was the location of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s introduction to the business community of McHenry County.
The Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Gary Reece made a glowing introduction:
“The first time I saw this guy he was on Chicago Tonight.
“I was impressed.
“Bruce isn’t interested in a political career.
“I think he has all the skills you’d be looking for in a governor.”
Rauner told of his motivations for running and his youngest daughter’s reaction when he told the family:
“Don’t run for Governor, Daddy.
“I don’t want you to go to jail.”
He talked a bit about his campaign, about how he had put “25,000 miles on the Ford.”
“We’re the worst run state in the country,” he asserted, pointing out that some Downstate Democrats he had talked with were ready to vote for a Republican.
“I will not sit back and let the career politicians take [Illinois] down the drain.”
Rauner went into his stock speech, which outlines his four priorities, on which he will “focus like a laser.”
- Economic growth and job growth
- Government efficiency, effectiveness and transparency
- Better schools
- Term limits
Some of the quotes I got down follow:
In the economic growth part of the talk, Rauner told of a manufacturer near O’Hare willing to support and contribute to his campaign, but who said,
“This plant we’re standing in won’t be here next year.”
The businessman said it would be in Tennessee. Part of the reason was that the $4 million building was paying $700,000 a year in real estate taxes.
Rauner is a great fan of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. He told of Daniels’ having brought in thirty top businessmen when he took office and managing for results.
How could he make government more efficient?
Rauner pointed out that the Governor of Illinois has more powers than pretty much any other governor.
“You need the legislature if you want to spend more…but if you want to spend less..[you can] upset the apple cart.”
He bemoaned the fact that “a heck of a lot of Republicans in Springfield take government union money.
“Everyone I’m running against takes government union money.”
An inherent power of the Governor is to negotiate contracts, Rauner said, observing that they come due “six months after a Governor takes office.”
“I will be pushing the envelop of powers of the office,” he added later as he was praising Quinn for applying a line item veto to legislative salaries.
With regard to schools, he said, “We have to hold our schools accountable for results.
“I don’t think there should be tenure…It doesn’t exist anywhere else [in society].”
He favors parents’ having “choice in every school.”
“Eight years and you’re gone” is his position on term limits.
“Boy, do I get a lot of ice stares from politicians.”
He pointed out that polls show 87% of Republican voters favor term limits with 71% for Democrats.
“We can get it done and put it on the ballot,” he said. “We’ll announce it in a couple of weeks.”
The meeting went into a question and answer session next.
He did not directly criticize his GOP opponents more than he already had when given the chance.
Rauner believes the fall race, if he is nominated, will be “a national race” because of his attacks on government unions.
Then he outlined support he had from Chicago that other Republicans have trouble obtaining.
He noted that he already had the support of the former State Senator and Rev. James Meeks. Meeks was originally elected as an Independent, but caucuses with Democrats.
Because of his support of charter schools, he also has other supporters on the South Side of Chicago, plus in Little Village, where the YMCA is named after him and his wife, as he told Nunda Township Republicans earlier this month.
“We’re known in the community as giving back.
“We have built more charter schools in their community than anyone else.”
When asked about school consolidation, Rauner admitted to not being up to speed on the subject. (Hint: it will cost taxpayers more money because grade school salaries will end up being brought up to equal high school salaries. Even the Associated Press figured that out.)
On pensions, Rauner clearing thinks Illinois should be moving away from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution pension system.
Having defined benefit pensions are “why out state and local governments are going bankrupt.”
“Pensions were negotiated by politicians with a conflict of interest. They were bribed [with campaign money].
“Well, now it’s caught up with us.
“We should not take away benefits already given.
“Somebody’s got to take the arrows. [My opponents} say, ‘Let’s lock the leaders in a room…'”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Reece said other gubernatorial candidates would be invited to similar meetings.
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Republican Sheriff’s candidate Bill Prim attended the event.
Opponent Andy Zinke attended as well, but only for about the last five minutes. He did not wear his uniform.