Chicago, January 29, 2018 — Gov Rauner said he wouldn’t debate his primary opponent, Rep Jeanne Ives, but the two candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, did sit side-by-side, and fielded questions from the members of the Trib’s Editorial Board.
Fortunately for those not in the room, the Tribune video streamed the event, and the photos shown here are from their coverage.
The theme of many questions, and comments by Rep Ives as well, concerned whether Gov Rauner could get anything accomplished in a second term, when so little was accomplished in his first three years in office.
Gov Rauner said the voters should seek to get the candidates to take a pledge to enact term limits, and have Democratic candidates say they will vote for anyone besides Michael Madigan as Speaker.
Gov Rauner said JB Pritzker is Madigan’s handpicked candidate for governor. But according to Mr Rauner, he can win going forward against what he claims is a corrupt political machine.
“That is completely false,” Ives reponded. “He’s gotten nothing done, and he’s picked a personal fight with Michael Madigan.” Rep Ives then went into a series of things the Governor might have done that would have advanced the state, and improve policies, given the power he had as governor.
Among the improvements she listed was the need to revamp the practice of property assessments, as she said to the Trib’s Editorial Board, “you can’t have proper school funding if you don’t have fair assessments” Ives said she told the governor he could start the process of fair assessments with an Executive Order, which he didn’t do.
“It would have made him a leader on this issue… School funding fairness starts with an assessment process that’s fair across this state,” Ives said.
Gov Rauner countered that the new school funding formula was acheived with bipartisan effort, that he says spends a record amount on school funding.
On the issue of working to advance policy in the legislature, Gov Rauner said the way to do it is to work with the Democratic caucus in the House. He noted he got one House member to not show up so the House Democrats could not override his veto of a contract with AFSCME, the union representing many state workers.
“That saved the state taxpayers $800 million a year!” the governor told the editorial board.
Ives told the Tribune writers the governor would never get a chance to work with the Democratic caucus in the House, because she says he’s now unelectable. Ives said as she’s traveled the state, most Republicans she’s met with say they can’t support the governor again for reelection because they don’t trust him.
“He’s betrayed everything we stand for. He won’t be reelected. I’ve traveled the state. They’re mad he’s made this a sanctuary state. They’re mad that he put in taxpayer funding of abortions. They’re mad that he won’t say our President’s name,” Ives said.
While Ives spoke the Governor frequently made faces, shook his head, or chuckled as she spoke. He’s told reporters in the past he won’t debate Rep Ives, so this may be the only time voters get any chance to hear a side by side response to questions posed by reporters.
The Illinois Channel appreciates the Tribune making their video of this event public, so others can see and hear the comments of the candidates.