PLAINFIELD - At Will County Republican gubernatorial tonight - Use #ILGOV2014 to keep track of what's going on tonight at the Plainfield Central High School. Thus far, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, State Senator Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard are in attendance and ready to answer questions. A straw poll is being conducted tonight, and the results will be announced Wednesday morning on Illinois Review.
WLS 890 AM Dan Proft is emceeing tonight, saying "I was on the panel four years ago, but I couldn't cut it, so they felt sorry for me to let me emcee tonight."
First introducing State Senator Bill Brady, State Senator Kirk Dillard and State Treasurer Dan Rutherford - and an empty chair pointing out that Chicago businessman Bruce Rauner did not join tonight's forum.
Margie Bonuchi of Plainfield Township GOP, Steve Balich of Will County Board and Raquel Mitchell of Wheatland Township are the first panel -
Bill Brady says there are three things that are needed for more jobs in Illinois. 1. He supported the pension reform that passed the legislature last fall. 2. Bring business reforms - tame workmen's compensation, freeze minimum wage to let the federal government catch up. 3. Propose to eliminate state income tax.
Kirk Dillard - Make Illinois a destination economy 1. Pass constitutional amendment to require the legislature to pass a balanced budget 2. We need to establish a panel of business people and tax experts to look at every tax that's killing job creation in Illinois 3. Lt Gov Jil Tracy to set up panel to check out regulations that are stifling business in Illinois.
Dan Rutherford - As governor, I appoint department heads - but they will need to do something to retain jobs. 2. Lt Gov Steve Kim - ombudsman to find ways to make business easier 3. I'll be the chief marketing officer for the state of Illinois.
Steve Ballich: 2/3 of Illinois 4th graders do not read at the 4th grade level - what would you do to improve education in Illinois?
Kirk Dillard - I have a plan on my website for education - 30 tips - that will help education in Illinois. I live and breathe education - I know there's concern about Common Core - Bruce Rauner is a major driver and funder of Common Core in Illinois. It takes everybody to involved in their schools to improve them.
Dan Rutherford - We're lacking in Pre-K - and we need kids to be prepared to take schooling on from a young age.
Bill Brady - I will abolish the State Board of Education - we don't need bureaucrats to tell parents and teachers how to teach their kids. We need to bring education funding parity to Illinois. We're going to give parents a choice - we need vouchers. This is not at the expense of public education. We need competition to build stronger schools.
Raquel Mitchell - Please explain your vote or position on the recent pension reform -
Dan Rutherford - Opposed the legislation - I believe it will be found unconstitutional. I think we need a fair and constitutional resolution.
Bill Brady - We had $100 billion in unfunded obligations. I've worked hard to bring pension reform to Illinois. Twenty percent of our budget would have been eaten up by pension payments. We changed the way its being paid in. I didn't vote for those budgets that didn't pay the pensions. We needed a solution because the pension was costing taxpayers in higher interest rates.
Kirk Dillard - It was drafted over Thanksgiving holiday - not enough time to review. we didn't get a chance to give the bill a full hearing. Pat Quinn gets more money - he's not required to pay down the pension obligations.
Bill Brady - It wasn't drafted over a short time - it's been talked about for four years. This was the first step that we had to make happen.
Illinois Family Institute's David E. Smith - Do you think a happily married mother and father make the best parents? Would you support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman?
Bill Brady - I believe in traditional marriage - it's a pillar of our society. In the past I've supported a constitutional amendment. The law as we have it wil cause a quagmire.
Kirk Dillard - I do believe it best to be a father and mother. I voted no on gay marriage - didn't commit either way on constitutional amendment.
Dan Rutherford - I think we should be sensitive about this situation - we don't live in a perfect world. We need to make sure little boys and girls are in a safe, loving place- whether its a mommy and daddy or a couple of the same sex. I do not support amending the state constitution of Illinois.
Margie Bonuchi - ObamaCare?
Dillard - Along with Peter Roskam I stopped socialized medicine Barack Obama tried to pass when he was in Illinois. I opposed the expansion.
Rutherford - I would have not supported ObamaCare exchanges or expansion - as long as it has to be the law, I think we'll have to put together an exchange here in Illinois.
Brady - I opposed the estbalishment of ObamaCare in Illinois. I want to stand up for the state's rights. We have to take back our state's rights to honor the 10th Amendment. Federal government shouldn't be telling us what to do in Illinois.
Steve Ballich - Public sector union employees make more money than their private sector counterparts - great benefits and security. How would you address the compensation disparity between the two sectors?
Rutherford - Public sector employees aren't the same with opportunities compared to those with business opportunities.
Raquel Mitchell - Is it important that the IL GOP be prolife?
Bill Brady - We need to have a candidate that will promote the Republican Party principles - yes, I believe it is important that our candidate be pro-life.
Dillard - I am a prolife legislators - and the life issue is one of our core values.
Rutherford - I don't think it's essential to be a prolife gubernatorial candidate to be prolife, but I have a prolife voting history.
Candidate specific question -
You got $250k from the IEA in 2010 - why do public sector unions support you?
Dillard - I didn't get that money in 2010. I've taken money from the IEA - Operators Engineers say I will bring jobs to the state. Half of the teachers and operating engineers - I will welcome private sector union funds in 2014.
You gave your staff raises when you say you're cutting budgets - how does that coincide?
Rutherford - Better Governor Association gave pay hikes to your staff - how does this coincide with being a frugal treasurer. I cut my budget by 10 percent over the past three years while performing exemplary service. You promote talented individuals, cut budgets ... that's how you do.
You say you've learned a lot in 2010,but your campaign is very much the same - incuding volunteer staff. How will you win in 2014?
Brady - Money doesn't buy elections. I learned to spend more time in Cook County and the collar counties. We need to make sure 50% outside of Cook County get out and vote.
Rutherford - I won a statewide race in 2010. I got 60k more than Quinn in 2010. I got 22% of the city of Chicago in 2010. I can beat Pat Quinn - I've proven it before.
Dillard - My electability moment - the Dillard template - strong suburbanite with stron gdownstate roots - Jil Tracy from Quincy - governors Edgar and Thompson have said I'm the only candidate that can beat Pat Quinn.
Dan Proft asked about one set of rules for politically corrected and wealthy as it manifests itself in admissions to schools - Bruce Rauner writing a check after pushing for his daughter's admission to Walter Payton -
Rutheford - I didn't try to get a family members into a special school.
Brady - A ridiculous analogy to say legislators are trying to influence admissions because they're constituents - it's the height of arrogance to compare legislators assisting their constituents -
More to come Wednesday on the final segments of the forum.