Dear Governor Rauner,
I am a registered voter in the state of Illinois, a proud resident of the city of Chicago, and an election judge. So I write this as someone qualified to reach out to you, and more importantly, someone whose opinion you should value.
Because quite honestly, you're doing a really poor job in governing the citizens of Illinois. For all the cynics who claim that you bought your term as Illinois Governor, well...
....I hope you got what you paid for.
First, there's the six months plus in terms of the budget stalemate. Although, yes, you did mention some possible thawing in December...we haven't moved forward. You claim that it all boils down to resistance to your "reforms" in Springfield - that legislators aren't willing to simply give way to your ideas.
But two of your most recent decisions...have me concerned. So much so that I'm wondering if we can add your name to that "recall Rahm Emanuel" bill being pursued in the state's legislature.
First, your suspension of funding for social services is....well, the kind of behavior I would expect from someone who purchased (rather than earned) his political position. And yes, for me it's personal - my mother, who has various health issues, depends on some of those programs. My cousin, who is autistic, is also a beneficiary. Quite honestly, many people throughout the state are suffering, and you're basically throwing them a royal curve ball.
(Now, before you complain that I'm being Chicago-centric, let me point out that you're hurting people in the Metro East area - that's the area across the river from St. Louis, Missouri - as well as in southern Illinois. So if many of your wealthier constituents are congratulating you on your "strong fiscal leadership".....your less-than-fortunate ones are condemning you for your lack of empathy. Yes, the money has to come from somewhere...but you've shortchanged the majority of your voters. That's not a sign of smart, powerful leadership).
But your move to push legislation that would allow state control of the Chicago Public School system....well, I get it. Another midwestern Republican governor did the same thing with some success....but right now, that move has some very negative political and social repercussions for that state.
And not to put too fine a point on it....but that recent "pension reform" statement you made is backfiring. You might want to reconsider your overall leadership strategy.
Now, being governor isn't like, say, being an investment banker. In the private sector, you can take charge, easily shift funding, etc, because it only affects your immediate business. Many of the decisions you made in the business center rarely - if ever - affected the greater community.
But as Governor, those same tactics are affecting the state of Illinois. You can't just take over a school system - messed up as it is - because you think you can do better. You need to work within the system with your peers and colleagues....because your decisions affect the lives of every resident of Illinois. Knowing the problems our state was facing - and having an eyes wide open perspective - you sought and campaigned for the role in which to fix these problems.
Good leadership - especially when driving social good and community benefit - isn't about assuming that you know best and your way wins. Strong political leadership is similar to strong business leadership in that great leaders act from a set of principles and get buy-in. Granted, both Chicago and Illinois have very entrenched factions and practitioners, but so do many businesses. Working to build consensus can be tough, but it's possible - if you don't believe me, Jim Collins wrote an entire book based on that premise.
Unfortunately, though, I think it's too late: you seem to be like many other Illinois governors who prioritized their personal interests over those of the state. I am tempted to end this blog post with a cheap shot like "You're acting like Rod Blagojevich with a better haircut"...but I believe I can end this on a more professional, respectful note.
And I'm open to a rebuttal - you're more than welcome to have one of your staff reach out to me via e-mail or this blog's Facebook page. You could even leave a comment below - I moderate comments, and will not tolerate trolls. But I say all of this not because I'm a "hater", as younger people might say, but because I love the great state of Illinois - and the great city of Chicago - and I needed to express my concerns.
Thanks for reading!