By Lauren Grimaldi
Embattled governor Bruce Rauner spoke before the Illinois legislature last week for the annual State of the State address. Rauner is in the last year of what has been a controversial tenure. With his reelection campaign well underway, the governor focused on the future of Illinois.
“The state of our state today is one of readiness: readiness born of unprecedented frustration with our political culture, along with the firm belief that we have tremendous, but as-yet unrealized, economic potential,” said Rauner. “The place to start is with a joint effort to restore public trust.”
The governor made almost no mention of the budget impasse that lasted for over 700 days. Despite calls for bipartisanship, the tension between the two state parties was more than noticeable. Democrats in the chamber jumped up to mockingly applaud Rauner when he promised to submit a balanced budget proposal by next month.
In response, Rauner blamed the opposing party for the crisis. “And I hope this year you’ll pass it instead of ignoring it,” Rauner said.
Illinois is quickly losing residents. In fact, over 30,000 people moved from the state in the past year, according to the Chicago Tribune. Political leaders know that things must change in order to get Illinois back on track. Rauner said that the state government must get back on track over the course of the next year to help the people.
The governor has faced dissent from his own party as well. The National Review, a conservative publication, recently named Rauner as America’s worst Republican governor. His recent decision to designate Illinois as a “sanctuary state” and his decision to sign a bill funding abortion were among the reasons why the National Review chose to give Rauner this article.
These moves cost Rauner some support within the Republican Party. Many felt he betrayed traditional party values and said he could not be trusted to uphold them if given another term.
Republican state senator Jeanne Ives is running against Rauner in the March 20 primary. She says that the governor has broken many promises he made over the course of his initial campaign.
In response to Rauner’s address, Ives said it’s clear that the incumbent governor must go.
“The fact is Illinoisans trusted him to implement many of the ideas he talked about today. He broke the promises of 2014. The most outrageous part is he seems to expect that we are all going to forget the past three years even happened,” said Ives, in a press release. “They did happen. And we are all worst off for it. That is the state of the state under a Governor who is not in charge.”
Ives is a conservative senator that serves the state’s 42nd district. She is staunchly anti-abortion and opposes LGBTQ rights. She has raised just over $1 million in comparison to Rauner’s $72 million in the primary thus far.
The gubernatorial primary is March 20.