Bruce Rauner’s candidacy makes some Illinoisans nervous. The prospect of him in the governor’s mansion leaves some long-time Springfield power brokers absolutely apoplectic.
To which we reply: Good.
Illinois requires the kind of shake up Rauner promises. Reform the state’s awful, unfair education funding formulas. Slash the number of redundant local governments and departments. Revive redistricting reform trashed by House Speaker Michael Madigan. Cut spending. Raise some taxes.
It will be ugly, but no uglier than the cabal that has dragged Illinois deeper in debt and despair. The Democrat legislative stronghold led by Madigan has failed to not only deliver for Illinoisans. They’ve let down Democrats, beginning with Gov. Pat Quinn.
Long before he was a candidate, Illinois ‘ venerable reformer earned statewide respect with his leadership to reduce the size of the legislature, end legislator pay hike abuses and empower citizens to fight utility rate increases. His own party’s internal feuds created vacuums in which this reformer ascended to state office, winding up as lieutenant governor under Rod Blagojovich, who paid little heed or even respect to Quinn.
All Illinoisans owe Quinn unending gratitude that he – not a Blagojevich crony – was able to assume leadership when Blagojevich went to prison. Quinn’s distinction as Illinois’ only felony-free governor in a decade normally would be enough to merit reelection. But Quinn’s reforms proved insufficient to overcome Madigan.
Rauner prevails as a promising alternative because of his focus on growth and education reform and an eagerness to initiate tough cuts and targeted revenue hikes needed to curb Illinois’ descent.
We give Pat Quinn our thanks for a lifetime of reforms that still couldn’t sway his own party’s bosses. We give Rauner our support to shake up Illinois and free the state from crony politics that stymied even the renowned reformer.