Rauner Announces Bid For Governor, Attacks Union Leaders (VIDEO)
Millionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner officially announced
his run for Illinois governor Wednesday,
saying he plans to target “government union bosses” that he believes are responsible
for the state’s fiscal crisis.
“As an outsider, those government union bosses can’t intimidate me,” Rauner told the State Journal-Register.
“I’m not dependent on them for money or support or re-election, and I
bring a unique set of skills that none of the politicians have.”
Announcing his candidacy, Rauner tweeted "I'm running" Wednesday and linked to his website with the following video:
Rauner's campaign slogan, as seen on his website, is “Shake up Springfield. Bring back Illinois.”
Rauner said addressing Illinois’ nearly $100 billion underfunded pension system and passing reform legislation would be one of his main priorities if elected.
need very dramatic change, and we need to go beyond what was proposed
in the legislative session,” he told the newspaper, adding that he would soon be providing a
“very detailed” pension plan that would not affect retirees’ and
current employees’ earned benefits and would “offer a range of options.”
Rauner singled out union leaders Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU* Local 1; Keith Kelleher,
president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana; Cinda Klickna,
president of the Illinois Education Association (IEA); Dan Montgomery,
president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT); and Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31, saying they are "the most powerful politicians in Springfield."
“They’re politicians elected ... by a very
tiny fraction of voters, but they have incredible power,” Rauner said.
“They own Springfield. They own the Democratic Party. ... And,
unfortunately for us, and we Republicans don’t like to talk about it,
they own a chunk of the Republican Party there too. And we have to
change that, or we’ll never be a healthy state.”
Despite such arguments, Rauner claims that he is not “anti-union,” telling the State Journal-Register
he supports union workers, but thinks it is “a conflict of interest” for the leaders representing union members to have a say in pension reform.
a conflict of interest ... That system in place is how those pension
benefits got negotiated in the first place,” Rauner said. “They were
negotiated on a conflicted basis, virtually a fraudulent basis, and
that’s the reason they’re so overly generous. And it’s the reason that
they’re unsustainable and unaffordable. And it’s the reason that our
politicians will never take that on. We’re never going to really fix the
financial problems of the state because our politicians are so beholden
Balanoff pointed out that SEIU Local 1 workers
are not included in the state's public pension system. Nonetheless, he told the newspaper that public employees “went to work every day. They did their job. They paid their
portion,” which is something the government didn’t do.
told the newspaper venture capitalists are generally “unbelievably
wealthy folks who have done it on the backs of working people.”
Calling Rauner a hypocrite, Kelleher added that “he will be a great candidate for the 1 percent of the richest people in Illinois."
statement from AFSCME Council 31 said if Rauner “thinks bullying
attacks on middle class working people, their families and seniors are
good politics, he’s even further our of touch with Illinois values than
his extreme policies suggest.”
A spokesman for the IEA, Charlie McBarron, told the State Journal-Register it is “unfortunate and rather bizarre that Mr. Rauner thinks he can
generate political support by vilifying teachers, first responders,
health care workers and other hard-working Illinois men and women.”
for his campaign, Rauner formed an exploratory committee and launched a
listening tour that traveled across Illinois earlier this year.
Other candidates for the GOP nomination include State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), who ran against Quinn in 2010, and State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale); who both said they plan to official announce their runs later this month. Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford
officially announced his campaign Sunday.
Democratic candidates going up against
Gov. Pat Quinn in the primary could include Illinois Attorney General
Lisa Madigan and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.
* The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.