News Local/State

Candidates For Governor Speak Out After State Of The State

J.B. Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy & Jeanne Ives

J.B. Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy & Jeanne Ives Rachel Otwell/NPR Illinois

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner likely considered the upcoming election while crafting the State of the State Address he gave Wednesday. There's a host of Democratic candidates vying to unseat him - and a single Republican who says she wants to get him out the way during the primary this March. They too are sticking to campaign points.

GOP candidate for governor, State Rep. Jeanne Ives, from Wheaton, says Rauner patted himself on the back for accomplishments he shouldn't be taking credit for. She says for instance, the legislation he signed to fund schools was really just a "bail-out for Chicago Public Schools."

She also didn't find his remarks about addressing sexual harassment impressive. "The idea that he's now coming forward with some executive order on the sexual harassment issues in the state of Illinois, when that Legislative Inspector General position was left empty his entire term is just preposterous." Ives says she heard no specifics outlined during the State of the State Address that would help put Illinois on a path to fiscal solvency.

Democratic candidates for governor had their own feedback. Billionaire businessman, J.B. Pritzker, said Rauner has yet to deliver on the job growth he promised. Pritzker also took issue with Rauner's handling of an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in a state-run facility for veterans.

"There's a mention in his speech about the Quincy Veteran's Home. He now suggests he wants to do something about it, but where was he before 13 people died because of his fatal mismanagement?" Pritzker said. "I would just suggest the Governor didn't really tell you what the state of the state is."

State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston told reporters after the remarks that Rauner's upbeat tone did not reflect reality. "We saw today a speech from someone who has not been watching Illinois government for the last three years, someone who has not seen the failures of the ... past three years."

Chris Kennedy, businessman and son of Robert Kennedy, said the Governor has shown a lack of leadership when it comes to working on a bipartisan basis. "Governor Rauner talked about, time to roll up his sleeves. The thing to ask him is, 'When have you rolled up your sleeves and actually reached out to the congressional delegation?' When has he called Dick Durbin ... ?" Other Democrats vying to be their party's nominee for governor include Bob Daiber and Tio Hardiman.