By Ulysses Arn -
On Saturday morning Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner and his running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti made a stop in the Illinois River Valley as the Rauner campaign opens offices across the state ahead of the November General Election.
St. Bede Academy in Peru was where interested voters could meet Rauner and Sanguinetti. At the event Rauner said that following his primary victory New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, told him that Illinois' Governors mansion would be a number one priority for Republicans nationally.
As Bruce Rauner said Illinois "is the worst run state" in the country with $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, billions in unpaid bills, one of the worst credit ratings in the country, and Gov. Pat Quinn himself is under multiple investigations looking at patronage hiring at the Department of Transportation and the misuse/missing of funds to a troubled Chicago anti-violence program.
In an effort to try to set himself from apart from career politicians whom he rallies against on the campaign trail Rauner said that if won the election in November he would not accept a salary or pension.
When asked by a member of the audience about the recent pension reforms that have been enacted to try a fix Illinois' pension mess Rauner said that he feared that those recent pension reforms will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts and that Illinois would have wasted two years for no real fix at all, at great expense, to the pension mess.
When asked about helping down ballot candidates during the campaign Rauner said that it was his intention to "build up" the party and that he would work with other candidates this summer and fall.
Recent polling has Bruce Rauner up 18 points over Gov. Pat Quinn and when Rauner brought this up Saturday he said that he does not want his staff looking at that or similar polling and instead work and campaign under the premise that they are 5 points down.
Lt. Gov. candidate Evelyn Sanguinetti told the audience about her background as a child of immigrants, who grew up in poverty and in need of the social safety net, and of the profound impact a magnet/charter school had in changing her life.
Having served in local government in DuPage County Sanguinetti quipped that "Wheaton has a AAA bond rating, won't it be great if Illinois had that."
Currently Illinois is on the verge of being given a junk bond credit rating.
As the event ended Rauner had one rather obviously uncomfortable moment when he was asked his views about abortion by a pro-life voter who wanted a reason to vote for Mr. Rauner.
Rauner reiterated three to four times that he was running the campaign on economic and fiscal matters, to go along with his push for term limits and commitment to education reform and did not want to spend anytime talking about the issue. Rauner was able to state that he thought the matter of abortion/life should be a decision between a woman, her family, and doctor.