Rauner Could Come Soon To C-U To Apologize For Radio Remarks

Governor Bruce Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner

Daniel Baker/Illinois Public Media

The mayor of Champaign said Governor Rauner could be coming to Champaign-Urbana soon to apologize in person for disparaging remarks he made about the area on a radio talk show. 

Rauner agreed to visit Champaign-Urbana during an impromptu meeting with members of the civic group Champaign County First in Washington D.C. Tuesday night.

At the meeting, the governor apologized for saying on WGN Radio that the University of Illinois needed to expand in larger cities, and that Champaign-Urbana lacked the transportation network and workforce to attract top technology companies.

Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen said Rauner recognized his comments could affect Champaign County’s ability to draw students and business to the area. 

“I think it’s important when you are in a position of authority to recognize that your words carry a significant amount of weight," said Feinen. 

Feinen said no date has been set for a visit by the governor. However, she said she hopes one can be set up for next week, so Rauner can see some of Champaign County’s success stories. 

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce President Laura Weis says the governor explained he meant to point out the challenges smaller cities face, when trying to attract major tech companies.

“Unfortunately he chose Champaign-Urbana in his mind as a smaller community and it really was not a fair comparison," said Weis. 

Champaign County First issued a joint statement in response to Rauner’s comments, saying the county has a fast-growing economy, low unemployment and an expanding work force. 

Story source: WILL