On the campaign trail with Gov. Pat Quinn: social issues as important as jobs? IL way below the median U. S. unemployment rate?

Gov. Quinn: I think those [social issues the economy and jobs] are all important issues. I don’t think we should divide issues. Every issue counts...

This reporter caught up with Gov. Quinn last night at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant, in the Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, IL.  The Governor had just finished his talk as the keynote speaker at the New Trier Democratic Organization’s (NTDO) 2014 Annual Dinner [Committeeman Dean Maragos presiding] -- titled “In Rauner’s Backyard.” [One of the two primary residences of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner is located in the tony North Shore suburb of Winnetka [with a population of  about 12,000]; the other is located in downtown Chicago-- on Randolph near the Lake. The Winnetka residence is about 15 minutes northeast of the Old Orchard shopping center, so it is a bit of a stretch—but you could say, metaphorically speaking, that Quinn was speaking in Rauner’s backyard].

The NTDO dinner attracted a crowd of about 200 Democratic Party activists. The event is the organization's primary fundraiser and call to action to promote the election or re-election of the Party's statewide ticket and local candidates.  Quinn's running mate, Lt. Gov. candidate (and 2002 Democratic Gov. Primary candidate) Paul Vallas, was scheduled to attend last night's event, but was directed at the last minute by the Quinn-Vallas campaign to attend another event. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Comptroller candidate Sheila Simon, Secretary of State Jesse White and 10th CD Cong. Brad Schneider all showed up to press the flesh, but they did not stick around to speak to the crowd.  Democratic Party State Treasurer Candidate (and State Senator) Mike [Standing Tall] Frerichs was there to press the flesh and also spoke briefly during dinner. The event was also attended by Cong. Bill Foster (11th District, Aurora), and this reporter will report shortly in this blog  on a short interview the Congressman gave him after the dinner.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (Evanston), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (9th CD, Evanston), Cook County Board President Toni  Preckwinkle (Chicago), State Senator Daniel Biss (9th Dist., Evanston and Schakowsky's heir apparent) and  first term State Rep. Laura Fine (Glenview) all spoke in some detail and with passion about the significance of the upcoming November 4, 2014 election.  More detailed, exclusive reports on each talk will be provided in the future on this blog.

Introduced at the event, but not speaking were (1) eight year, former State Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, who came within two points  (5500 votes)  of beating Mark Kirk in the 2000 Tenth Cong. District race. Think, as I am sure Lauren does-- from time  to time, how different history would have been had Lauren picked up those 5500 votes.  Not one to sulk, Lauren picked herself up, dusted herself off, and went on to found Tenth Dems in 2004, a tremendously important organization in electing Democrats at all levels across the 10th Cong. District-- including Brad Schneider in 2012 - giving the Democrats the 10th CD seat for the first time in 33 years; (2) Long time State Rep. and Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (Skokie), who has played a major role in passing much significant state wide legislation, including the recent expansion of gambling in the State and (3) NTDO President Judy Mandel, who obviously played a major role in pulling off last night's event. Additional important player's in last night's event were (1) Phil (Flip) Corboy, one of the City's leading trial lawyers who hosted, with his very pretty and smart wife of two decades, Peg Corboy, an important fundraiser for Quinn-Vallas at their lavish Winnetka home before last night's event and (2) NTDO media liasson Rich Brill, who played a significant role in dealing with the media and overseeing certain operational aspects of  last night's event.

Thanks to the NTDO for giving Public Affairs access to last night's event.

The New Trier Republican Organization ["NTRO"], committeeman Bill Cadigan presiding,  declined a request to permit Public Affairs to attend the NTRO annual fundraiser dinner last night-- at which Bruce Rauner was featured-- with Cong. Peter Roskam (R-6th CD, Wheaton) billed as the keynote speaker--and Senator Mark Kirk (R- IL, Highland Park)  and former 10th CD Congressman and current 10th CD  Republican nominee Robert Dold (Kenilworth) also noted as key speakers at the event, held at the Hilton Chicago in Northbrook.

Take a listen, below, to a “Public Affairs,” exclusive interview with the Governor-- who graciously agreed to answer a few questions from this reporter. In another “Public Affairs,” exclusive, we will follow up shortly with a more detailed report of the Governor’s speech to the NTDO last night-- and a clip of same on the Public Affairs youtube channel.


Jeff Berkowitz: How important are the social issues: pro-choice on abortion, same sex marriage, gun control—relative to the economy and jobs?

Gov. Quinn: I think those [social issues, the economy and jobs] are all important issues. I don’t think we should divide issues. Every issue counts. You know, having marriage equality is a great step forward for Illinois, making sure that we have the fundamental value of choice is very important-- reproductive choice.  And, then the issue of gun safety—that is not going away. It is on the ballot in Cook County. I helped put it on there—to make sure we have protection against assault weapons, high capacity ammunition magazines-- and proper background checks—my opponent [Bruce Rauner] is on the other side of all those issues. You know that. He wanted to veto marriage equality, he wanted to—you know, he is for the right [to have] assault weapons-- I don’t think that’s the way to go—it is a military weapon. So, we have a clear difference there.

Jeff Berkowitz: On the question of the economy, Bruce Rauner says you don’t seem to focus on the fact that Illinois is the second worst state in terms of unemployment. Is he right? Is Illinois the second worst state in terms of unemployment?

Gov. Quinn: No, it isn’t.

Jeff Berkowitz: What would you say it is?

Gov. Quinn: Unemployment?

Jeff Berkowitz: Yes, what is the unemployment rate in Illinois relative to other states?

Gov. Quinn: Well, we have moved way up [less unemployment] in the last six months-- you have to wait until this Friday.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, currently what is it?

Gov. Quinn: We are far above [that is, less unemployment than] what Bruce Rauner says.

[Ed. Note: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September 19, 2014 lists Illinois as eleven states below the median—with an unemployment rate of, 6.7 %.  The median unemployment rate in the U. S. is 6 %.  North Dakota had the best unemployment rate in the country—2.8%; Georgia had the worst rate at 8.1%.  IL has a worse unemployment than three of the nearby states (Iowa, 4.5 %; Wisconsin, 5.6 % and Indiana, 5.8 %) and better than one (Michigan, 7.4%)


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  • Unfortunately, Quinn does not care to realize that without a robust job environment there can be only diminishing social services. Of course he knows this, just like he knows what the unemployment number is. He and others must just have a death wish for Illinois.

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