Conversing w/ Gov. Rauner about winning his Primary, unifying the R Party & fixing the Quincy Vets’ Home

Jeff Berkowitz: How do you put the conservative base back together again…

Gov. Rauner: …This election is really not about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is about the people against a corrupt, broken system

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Jeff Berkowitz: So, how much does it cost [To fix the Quincy Vets’ Home problem]?

Gov. Rauner: When you say it, it depends on what we decide and what we recommend.

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Jeff Berkowitz: How do you put the conservative base back together again, with you shooting at the Illinois Policy Institute and it’s CEO, John Tillman [Rauner said recently “I wouldn’t give the Illinois Policy Institute another nickel.” But, once upon a time, Rauner gave IPI a donation of 500K and Tillman and Rauner were the best of chums], shooting sharply at State Rep. Jeanne Ives [widely acknowledged by friend and foe to be a strong, consistent social and economic conservative, and who supported Bruce Rauner in his 2014 run for Governor because they were then in sync on fiscal and economic issues] calling her [bizarrely, to anyone who knows Rep. Ives] a supporter of Speaker Madigan and higher taxes-- how do you put that all together for the general election campaign, assuming you win the nomination?

Gov. Rauner [R- Springfield and Winnetka]: Well, the reason we will win in November, the reason we will unite the people of Illinois is because this election is really not about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is about the people against a corrupt, broken system. It is about the people demanding more value for their taxes and a lower tax burden; the people of Illinois demanding more jobs, more economic opportunity and the people of Illinois demanding an end to the corruption of our system by getting term limits.  That’s what this election is going to be about, that’s our message. And, that’s why will unify everyone.

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Gov. Rauner: We will be evaluating every option, every day [for the Quincy veterans], as we have. Moving the veterans from the Quincy home is an option we have evaluated in the past. We will be evaluating it again now, and at all times. We are evaluating every possible opportunity to keep our veterans safe. Here is the issue: our veterans are very vulnerable. They are very susceptible to injury, to illness. They are very fragile. Moving them increases significant risk for other infections and other physical ailments. So, whatever we do, we need to be very thoughtful and very careful about it. We don’t want to increase their risk of damage to their health.

Another reporter: Did you meet the veterans at the Quincy Home when you were there and have you reached out to the families of the veterans?

Gov. Rauner: Some of the veterans I met when I was there. I don’t believe I met them all and I have reached out to the families.

Jeff Berkowitz: Does it only cost eight million dollars, as your administration memo suggested, to fix this [The Quincy Vets' Home problem]?

Gov. Rauner: I am not sure which number you are referring to. There are many estimates-

Jeff Berkowitz: It is all over the media. Your administration said thirty million dollars to fix this; the [administration] memo that is floating around the media says eight million dollars. Why the discrepancy?

Gov. Rauner: I would have to see the numbers you are referring to. Here is the issue. Estimates of cost matter in terms of what specific work is being done.  What we have to make sure we do is provide a real solution. If we only fix some of the plumbing, but not all of it- there is a risk of re-infection from the plumbing. If we don’t change the water source, there is a risk of re-infection from the Mississippi River water. We’ve got to be comprehensive about this and make sure our actions really make a difference.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, how much does it cost?

Gov. Rauner: When you say it, it depends on what we decide and what we recommend.

Jeff Berkowitz: The whole thing. What you just referred to. How much does it cost?

Gov. Rauner: We will be recommending actions in the very near future.

Rauner press traffic controller: Last question, last question.

Another reporter: Any chance you could lose this primary?

Gov. Rauner: I take every election very seriously [polling shows Rauner’s favorability among the general electorate to be at 26%]. We are going to win the primary, we are going to win the general election. And, we are going to bring more reformers into the General Assembly. We need folks who aren’t just loyal to Mike Madigan. We need folks who actually work for the people of Illinois. Madigan’s machine is corrupt. He and his insiders become wealthy from our property tax system. We’ve got to get them out. We need reformers in the General Assembly and then I- with good Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly- we will bring more jobs, we will reduce the tax burden and we will end the corruption.   

Rauner press traffic controller: Thanks, everyone.

Gov. Rauner: Thanks, everybody.

Partial transcript (about 90%) of the press conference following the Governor’s “Difference Makers’ Awards- an annual celebration of Black History Month,” at the Thompson Center from about 12:15 pm to 1 pm on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  The press conference lasted 4 minutes and eight seconds and four media members asked questions.

 

 

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