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Local News

Joliet-area lawmakers offering musings on State of the State

Local lawmakers weigh in ahead Gov. Rauner’s State of the State address

JOLIET – Opening lines can be key to winning over a crowd.

So, a day before Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address, area lawmakers were asked to consider how they would open their own State of the State speech in light of Illinois government’s unprecedented seven-month budget impasse.

They also were asked what expectations they had of the rookie Republican governor after his first year as Illinois’ top exec. Here’s what they had to say.

REP. MARK BATINICK, R-PLAINFIELD

Your opening line?

“I’d say, ‘We need to come together to solve our mutual issues that we all face. We need to start focusing on solutions instead of politics.’ ”

Expectations?

“A path out. A way out.”

REP. NATALIE MANLEY, D-JOLIET

Your opening line?

“Enough of this ridiculous non-budgetary jockeying for power. How about we take care of the people of Illinois? How about we sit down and be the elected officials we were voted to be?”

Expectations?

“I expect quite a tongue-lashing tomorrow. … I expect him to chastise [and] criticize the General Assembly. But I also remain hopeful that maybe he wants to be governor, that he is willing to work with us.”

REP. MARGO McDERMED, R-MOKENA

Your opening line?

“I promised that I would shake up Springfield and turn the state around. We’re starting to turn. Hang on, it’s going to get better.”

Expectations?

“I have very high expectations. I think that the governor has spent some of his off time thinking about what we need to do to make Illinois great again.”

REP. LARRY WALSH JR., D-ELWOOD

Your opening line?

“Let’s get a budget done. That’s the biggest thing we’re facing. Too many people are hurting. Let’s come up with a plan to fund state government. We need to get this accomplished sooner rather than later.”

Expectations?

“He’s going to double down. That’s my gut feeling.”

SEN. JENNIFER BERTINO- TARRANT,
D-PLAINFIELD

Your opening line?

“Let’s hit the reset button. We need to reflect on what we haven’t accomplished over the last year and we need to make sure we prioritize certain services to make Illinois a compassionate and competitive state. Because right now we are neither.”

Expectations?

“In all sincerity, I am hopeful that we will hear a ‘moving forward’ message, but my experience is telling me we’re going to hear more of the same from him.”

SEN. PAT McGUIRE,
D-JOLIET

Your opening line?

“I’m going to keep my speech short so we can get to work on the budget.”

Expectations?

“Governor Rauner’s rookie year is over. I hope in his travels across the state he has learned that Illinoisans value hard work, humility and teamwork. We’re overdue to govern by applying the same qualities.”

SEN. SUE REZIN,
R-MORRIS

Your opening line?

“I would be very honest about where we’re at. However, with making tough decisions, I would also focus on how the state can be great again.”

Expectations?

“The governor has laid out the reforms we need to make before we go back to the middle class and ask them for higher taxes. But he’ll also recap his accomplishments over the last year.”

A senior administrative official in the Rauner administration said the governor will stress in his speech that he is taking action to turn around the state’s economy while restoring trust in government.

The official said Rauner also will discuss his commitment to a more-effective and efficient state government that delivers better outcomes for all residents.

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