Pols Respond to Rauner’s State of the State Address

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th):

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement after the governor concluded his State of the State address:

I’ve been in the business of improving Illinois for many years now. We’ve abolished the death penalty, overhauled workers’ compensation, protected voting rights and expanded minority participation in state contracts. I welcome Gov. Rauner to the effort. I’m ready to work with anyone who comes to the table with reasonable ideas and a willingness to compromise.

I do want to see more specifics and a detailed blueprint for where he is proposing to lead the state. The time for bashing Illinois and focusing on past problems is over; it’s time to govern this great state and start shaping its future.

Gov. Rauner has reached out to me for input on our next steps in criminal justice reform, and this is an area where we can find common ground. I’m very pleased with the initial indications of the Rauner administration’s direction on this issue – both in his words today and the individuals he has chosen to advise him. I look forward to working with the governor on a more just, humane and fiscally responsible approach to public safety.

Minority Legislators Challenge Rauner on Youth Employment Defunding Decision

“Where is the compassion? And how can the next generation hope to compete?”—    Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th)

Immediately following today’s State of the State address, State Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) and Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) stood with a group of their House and Senate colleagues to highlight the urgent need for youth employment programs stripped of state funding last week. The legislators, members of the House and Senate Black and Latino Caucuses, challenged the governor to square his actions with his rhetoric.

“In today’s speech, we heard about opportunities for disadvantaged communities,” Collins said. “But what we’ve seen so far is those opportunities denied. Let’s move beyond rhetoric to solutions.”

“Youth and after school programs are critically important for keeping young Latinos healthy and safe, and I am committed to ensuring that these programs are funded in the future,” Martinez said. “The governor ran on a platform of making Illinois a more ‘competitive and compassionate’ state, but his administration’s decision to rescind grants for youth programs is troubling and inconsistent with his campaign’s theme.”

More than 30 Chicago-area agencies providing youth employment and afterschool programming were informed last week that they were no longer allowed to spend state funds they were awarded in December as part of the Department of Human Services’ Youth Development Grant program. Their state contracts took effect January 1. The decision froze nearly $8 million in funds that had already been budgeted for afterschool and summer programs, mentoring, job training and job opportunities for young people, particularly in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods.

“You tell us you want Illinois to become the most competitive and compassionate state in the nation,” said Collins, who also invited Rauner to visit her district and view the impact of his decision. “We are asking you – where is the compassion? And without mentoring, job training and a chance to work, how can the next generation of low-income minority youth hope to compete?”

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger: State’s Challenges Require Spirited Debate

Comptroller welcomes comprehensive approach

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger released the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address:

“Governor Rauner showed leadership today by addressing our challenges head-on and laying out a comprehensive strategy for getting our state, and its economy, back on track.

“Too often, Illinois has taken a piece meal approach to governing, managing crisis to crisis instead of addressing the root of the problem. The Governor took a different tact in his address today, clearly defining the most pressing issues facing our businesses and families and offering his vision for how best to address them.

“To be clear: we will not agree on everything. And when the Governor offers more detail in his budget address later this month, there will be plenty of debate about how best to move forward. But that spirited discussion is exactly what is required and I look forward to working with all parties to ensure that it results in real solutions for our state and its taxpayers.”