Updated February 1, 2018 at 7:30 PM
SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — With government teeming in political and fiscal turmoil in a contentious election year, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner presented his State of the State address before the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday afternoon in a speech lasting slightly over 30 minutes.
Rauner addressed the Illinois National Guard and military personnel from the Federal military forces at the beginning of his speech and thanked them for their service, which was met with a standing ovation from the entire General Assembly.
Rauner began to list the state’s accomplishments which have taken place since Illinois attained statehood in 1818, such as becoming the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to outlaw slavery and the first nuclear chain reaction among many others.
Chicago, which was chosen among the 20 finalists for Amazon’s second corporate headquarters, was mentioned several times within the speech.
Rauner noted that the state government is steeped in public distrust and wants to correct that. One of the ongoing issues that he hopes to correct is a hostile work environment as a result of sexual harassment, abuse and violence through a #MeToo and #UsToo campaign calling for changes in state government. He will be signing an executive order to strengthen policies that there will be reliable and responsive outlets for reporting acts of sexual misconduct, following the mismanagement by Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter regarding a public complaint filed against Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) by Denise Rotheimer. A recent report from Porter sets up a narrative of victim blaming, which warranted a recent follow-up with Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove).
Also mentioned was the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak which spread around the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy nearly three years ago, claiming the lives of 13 veterans. While the Centers for Disease Control say it is impossible to eradicate the bacteria, Rauner pledged to do what they can to prevent such an instance where so many veterans died ever again.
Rauner discussed at length about an incredibly unfair tax assessment system, term limits, education and back to the economy.
In the final moments of the speech, Rauner hit home with the current financial turmoil that the State of Illinois is in, with the passage of unbalanced budgets since 2001 and another bloated $600 million pension payment for fiscal year 2019.
For a full text transcript, you can read it here.
The Democratic Party delivered their rebuttal following the speech, with House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Lou Lang delivering the rebuttal, Lang noted some issues with the governor’s speech and retains their mission to get what they want done, regardless of cost to the taxpayers. He also noted the dangers set forth by both Gov. Rauner and U.S. President Donald Trump in a response video running roughly four minutes.
The Libertarian Party delivered their rebuttal at 5:30 Wednesday evening, with party chairman Lex Green delivering the rebuttal. While somewhat similar to some of Lang’s concerns, Green took both major parties to task for the political and fiscal turmoil the state has been in for the past seventeen years. Green also took time to mention the Libertarian Party of Illinois state convention, which will be held March 2-3 in Bloomington and issued a call for voters to cast their vote in November for the Libertarian Party candidates.
As of this update, no rebuttals have been made by the Illinois Green Party, Illinois Tea Party or Socialist Party of Illinois. A representative from the Constitution Party of Illinois kindly returned a response that they were not issuing a rebuttal. No public remarks were on video from gubernatorial candidates Jeanne Ives or Daniel Biss.
We were able to get remarks from Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as public remarks from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, all of which are being uploaded and should be added to our YouTube playlist for the 2018 State of the State address later tonight.
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