Republican gubernatorial candidates focus on fiscal responsibility during Thursday night debate
Peoria-- The four GOP candidates for governor met in Peoria on Thursday night for a televised debate, marking the fourth time in four nights they have debated.
The questions on Thursday leaned heavily on fiscal responsibility, from Medicaid cuts, to gambling expansion, and even the continued funding of Amtrak.
On many topics all four came to a consensus on an end-game, they just took different routes to get there. On the subject of Medicaid cuts, Bruce Rauner said he would look to bring in outside experts on Medicaid reform to help Illinois run more efficiently, “I would bring experts in Medicaid from around Illinois but also from around the United States. Other states run their Medicaid systems very well and I will go to their states and steal their best people, steal their best ideas, and bring it all to Springfield to turn this thing around.”
Unlike in their past debates the other three candidates spent less time firing shots at Rauner, and more time finding common ground, and even sometimes agreeing with him. “Medicaid is not just for poor people, okay, Medicaid is meant for the grandmas and grandpas who have run through all of their resources and are sitting in a nursing home needing assistance,” Rutherford added, “we need to reform this system because it’s not fair that thousands of people are using benefits that they don’t deserve and the grandmas and the grandpas are suffering.”
Another hot topic on Thursday was the subject of gambling expansion, an issue that was nearly resolved last year, but at the last minute was vetoed by Governor Quinn.
“I don’t gamble myself, but I believe that it’s in our nation, it’s in our state, it’s in all the competing states around us and we should allow for our local governments, our local voters to decide if they want a casino in their particular community, and if they do, I think we should allow that to occur,” Rauner said.
Kirk Dillard took the opportunity to plug farmers and the important role that gambling plays on the agricultural business in Illinois, “Agriculture is always the forgotten child in gambling legislation. There are many family farms that are dependent on horse racing as an industry; those are jobs that cannot easily be replaced.
Bill Brady took an opposite stance from the other three, saying he didn’t like the idea of gambling expansion because he didn’t like the idea of video gambling in the first place, “I’ve never believed that gaming is going to solve the state’s economic woes and I’m also very concerned about the problems that it creates. I didn’t support the video poker, which I think is going to be one of the worst things to ever happen to the state.”
All four candidates were opposed to a possible Chicago casino being regulated by the city instead of the state.
During the 90 minute debate the candidates also touched on funding for Amtrak, which they all said was necessary for Illinois but were adamant that the way it was run needed to be changed. All four reiterated that they would live in the governor’s mansion in Springfield if they were elected, “A CEO needs to be close to his company to operate it effectively, therefore as the CEO of the state of Illinois, I would live in Springfield,” Rauner stated.
The next GOP gubernatorial forum will be held on February 3rd. For a complete list of GOP gubernatorial debates, click here.