PEORIA-Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner on Thursday gave his first press conference since declaring his candidacy a day before. The 57-year old venture capitalist from Deerfield, Ill. continued to call out union leaders, while also criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn's ability to work with the Legislature and pass pension reform.
Rauner answered questions about solving the state's pension woes, his political intentions, Chicago crime and concealed carry, but he darted a question about his position on same-sex marriage. The following is a transcript of most of the questions posed to Rauner and his answers in the 10-minute Q&A.
Q: As a political outsider, how do you plan on working with the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate in light of the gridlock in the last couple of weeks?
A: "Well, I'm a big believer in communication and close communication with everyone in a decision-making position. I look forward to working very closely with Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton, the legislative leaders throughout. We have many problems to solve, and I'll try to take a collaborative approach.
"That said, the key folks who also need to be in the room - this is the critical issue - are the government union heads themselves. They're the ones calling the shots. People like Cinda Klickna from the teachers union, Dan Montgomery from the teachers union...They're folks who - they're the ones who need to be in the room. They're the ones who are controlling much of the political process with their funds. And they're the ones who we need to negotiate with.
"The good news is, the governorship in Illinois is very powerful, and I can sit in a room with those government union heads and negotiate. And we've got the power in the governorship with executive 'order-ability,' ability to control the spending, ability to conduct the contract negotiations. We can drive changes that can lead to different results than what's gone on in the Legislature. A lot of this work has to be, in the end, voted by the Legislature. But the decisions need to get done and led by the governor in conjunction with those union heads. And that's what I'll drive."