Rutherford touts long term state facility plan; denies harassment allegations
DECATUR—Don’t expect the republican gubernatorial race to shrink to a three man race anytime soon; in light of recent sexual harassment allegations against him, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says he has no intention of dropping out of the race.
Rutherford was on a tour of central Illinois on Wednesday to promote his long range plan for state facilities such as prisons and hospitals. Rutherford says he would not spring facility closures on communities abruptly like Governor Quinn and his predecessor Rod Blagojevich.
“We saw both of them abruptly announce closures of major state facilities with no plan in place,” Rutherford said. “It was not long range and it was not strategic; their actions negatively affected the lives of hard working men and women at those facilities and businesses in the communities like Tamms, Vandalia, Pontiac, Jacksonville, Dwight, and Murphysboro. This type of abrupt action would not occur under my Governorship.”
Rutherford also said he believed the overcrowding of the state’s current prisons; an estimated 49,000 inmates are being housed in a system designed for 32,000, factored into the rise in prison violence, “I would definitely say there is a correlation. There is no way this is safe for the employees or those incarcerated.”
Rutherford also talked about the allegations levied against him by a former employee earlier this week. Edmund Michalowski has accused Rutherford of sexual harassment on numerous occasions and also said the Treasurer forced him to do campaign work while on state time.
“I’ve said this before and I will say it again, there is no truth to these rumors,” Rutherford said. “There is an internal investigation going on into this matter and we expect the report to come out later this week, but I repeat, there is no truth to these allegations.”
Rutherford maintained that he thought his challenger Bruce Rauner was behind some of the accusations, “In 22 years of public office there has never, ever, ever been accusations like this against me which is why I find it funny that these have come out now just as absentee voting has gotten under way.”
""There is a zero chance that I am dropping out of this race for governor. I am going to go toe to toe, nose to nose against these accusations that are not true and I maintain they are 100% political."