Welcome to the Senate Republican Press Search.

View Article Details

Print

Rauner: I'm 'not in charge,' Speaker Madigan is

Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, December 5, 2017  |  Article  |  Kim Geiger

Rauner, Bruce Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been Illinois’ chief executive for nearly three years, but on Monday he offered the observation that he’s “not in charge,” suggesting Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is.

Following an appearance at an Illinois Farm Bureau conference in Chicago, Rauner was teeing off on Madigan, one of his go-to targets, when a reporter asked him if the speaker has been around for more than three decades, hasn’t the governor been in charge for the last three years.

“I wish I had. We would have our problems fixed. Illinois would be on a great future,” Rauner said. “We’d have 200,000 more jobs in this state, we would have lower property taxes in this state, we would have term limits in this state, if I was in charge. I am not in charge. I’m trying to get to be in charge.”

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said he didn’t know “what to make” of the governor’s comments.

“If he’s not in charge, we’d better figure out who is,” Brown said.

The reelection-seeking governor’s comments came after he’d been peppered with questions about Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives, whose decision to mount a primary challenge against him marks a significant repudiation of him from within his own ranks.

Rauner tried to dismiss Ives as a “fringe” candidate, saying “political attacks, they’re part of the process.” He also said he’d been the target of a “political hit piece” by the conservative National Review, which ran a cover story last week that labeled him the “Worst Republican Governor in America.”

While Rauner cast himself as the candidate with “the best chance of anybody in the state to win the general election,” his argument for his candidacy on Monday was focused more on Madigan than on any accomplishments of his own since he took office in January 2015.

Rauner accused the veteran speaker of running a “mafia protection racket” and having “rigged” the Democratic primary for governor.

“We've been a state controlled by one person, one person, for 35 years,” Rauner said. “And until that changes, we don't have a good future.”

Rauner said he couldn’t get things done in Springfield because “the General Assembly can block the major things. What I can control: Union contracts, incredible. Medicaid reform, incredible. Criminal justice reform, incredible. The things that I can control, we’re transforming the state.”

While Rauner has executed new collective bargaining agreements with more than a dozen trade unions, he has been unable to reach agreement with the state’s largest public employee union and was barred earlier this year from attempting to impose his own contract terms on the workers.

Rauner’s overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program has been criticized by Democrats as moving too fast and at too great of an expense to the state. And while Rauner has indeed presided over several significant changes to the criminal justice system over the nearly three years he’s been in office, much of that work was made possible by lawmakers who sent bills to his desk for approval.

kgeiger@chicagotribune.com