Tom Petty’s song, “I Won’t Back Down,” was playing as Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison (R-17th) introduced Gov. Bruce Rauner at the 4th Annual Southwest Suburban Republican Family Picnic, held Saturday at Water’s Edge Golf Course in Worth, and the governor stayed with that theme in his talk.
“This song reminds me of how he is battling down in Springfield,” said Morrison, as he watched Rauner slowly make his way to the microphone, pausing for photos with seemingly all 230 people there.
“We’re battling hard. We’re going to hang tough through this process,” said Rauner, expressing confidence that he will be able to resolve the state budget crisis in the near future, and get the structural reforms he has been pushing for since being elected last November.
“I’m working with people on a grassroots level, with people like you,” Rauner said, thanking the crowd for coming out after two days of heavy rain. In addition to the guest speaker and plenty of food, other attractions at the picnic included a bounce house for children, and beanbag games for all ages.
The governor remains adamant that his five goals of a property tax freeze, term limits, redistricting reform, tort reform, and workers comp reform are all necessary to get the state’s financial house in order on a long-term basis.
He said his next stop after the picnic was a meeting with Democratic legislators in Chicago to discuss the budget impasse.
“A lot of people from both parties are starting to agree with us (about the need for reform),” said Rauner, blaming House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-22nd) for standing in the way of change.
“I grew up in Illinois. I love this state, and we should be kicking tails (economically), but jobs are leaving here every week,” he said, blaming high property taxes, and workers comp payments for driving companies to Indiana and other neighboring states.
Rauner is pushing for a two-year freeze on property tax, and the ability for local governments to decide on what issues have to be collectively bargained.
Madigan and others have asserted that Rauner’s five-point agenda is not directly related to balancing the budget, and should only be addressed after that is done. The state is currently without a budget
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger accompanied Rauner to the event, and backed up his statements about his reform agenda being necessary for a balanced budget.
“These issues are integral to the budget,” she said, asserting that the reforms Rauner wants, particularly with workers comp and tort reform, would lead to immediate and substantial cost-savings for the state. Other officeholders in attendance included Liz Doody Gorman, who recently stepped down as Cook County commissioner for the 17th District, for a job in the private sector. Gorman remains the Orland Township Republican committeeman, and Rauner praised her for her many years of work within the community.
Palos Township Trustee Sharon Brannigan, of Palos Heights, was also there and spoke briefly with Rauner. She had considered running in the Republican primary against incumbent Dan Patlak for a seat on the Cook County Board of Review this year, but decided against it in the interests of party unity.