* Senate President John Cullerton held a news conference today. Whew…
* Cullerton’s complete statement…
When I became Senate President 6 years ago, my top priority was ending the political rancor that had paralyzed this state. After of years of stalemates and political fights, I was committed to changing the tone in Springfield.
It was a goal that I was able to largely accomplish thanks to Republican Leader Christine Radogno. As many of you recall, she and I were elected to the leadership posts in large part because of our personal commitment to working together.
No, it hasn’t always been easy, but we have tackled huge issues and, up until this session, we’d almost always done it together.
Capital bill. McCormick Place reforms. Education reform. Marriage equality. Immigrant drivers licenses. Medicaid reforms. Workers Compensation reforms.
Nothing has been more important to me than working together in a civil, respective manner.
I make it a point to go to dinner over the course of the session with every Republican member. And every year I ask the entire senate, including the Republican caucus to a bipartisan dinner.
I do it because we need to work together. I do it because I respect the Republican members. I do it because we are all elected to come here and solve problems.
Today, I’m disappointed.
The road we started down together six years ago I fear has been abandoned by many Republicans, lured away by the siren song of Bruce Rauner’s campaign cash.
And once again we find ourselves trying to work with a governor who continues to run campaigns rather than run the state that elected him. Rather than roll up his sleeves and work on solutions, he dictates demands and threatens those who defy him.
As you know, a few days ago I attended an end of session leaders meeting.
When I emerged from that meeting I restated my commitment to work with the governor on compromises that will move this state forward. Because I am committed to compromise.
But there was something that I left out of my comments – and that is my disappointment in the direction that this state is about to take under Governor Rauner’s leadership.
The governor made it clear that in the next few days, he will launch a multimillion dollar negative ad campaign designed to demonize those who are standing up for the middle class.
Nothing could be more damaging to the prospects of compromise than deploying Washington style campaign tactics rather than working on bipartisan solutions for this state.
* A few quotes and paraphrases from the Q&A…
Gov. Rauner has chosen to hold the budget hostage
Instead of working on his budget, he’s sitting down with his ad writers
When did Giv. Rauner start filming ads…while we were here working on the budget?
He won the campaign, but now he’s gotta govern.
Middle class workers lose, corporate CEOs win. Slash pay, benefits, protections and make more for CEOs. Have nothing to do w state budget.
We don’t have any bills in front of us that would resolve the conflict that he’s created.
In spite of governor’s stated concerns about a balanced budget, his own budget wasn’t balanced from the start:
That budget we passed is going to be very close to the final budget
It’s unlikely we can get anything done.