A week after the Republican primary for Illinois governor heated up over the minimum wage, three of the four candidates will talk about business policy at a forum Thursday hosted by the Daily Herald, the Daily Herald Business Ledger and ABC 7.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa will field questions at the breakfast event in Mount Prospect.
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Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner initially accepted the invitation but later said he could not attend because of a schedule conflict, and other candidates and the organizers decided having a stand-in for him wouldn't be appropriate.
Daily Herald Assistant Managing Editor for Opinion Jim Slusher said hosting candidates for a business discussion just as they have squared off over the minimum wage couldn't have been planned.
"That fits right in to the kinds of things we'd ask about," Slusher said.
Rauner made waves after a report surfaced he'd like to go "back to the national minimum wage," which is $7.25. He has since said he'd be open to raising the federal minimum wage or, if that was impossible, raising Illinois' $8.25 minimum wage if it came with certain incentives for businesses.
Slusher will moderate the event along with ABC 7 Political Reporter Charles Thomas. Audience members also will be able to submit questions.
Tickets are available for $25 at events.dailyherald.com for the breakfast event at Victoria in the Park, 1700 Elmhurst Road in Mount Prospect. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. The discussion starts shortly after 8 a.m. and is set to last until 9:30 a.m.
Slusher said he sees the event as a chance to get information from candidates more than a chance for them to debate each other.
Still, all four have recently showed a willingness to go on the offensive as the March primary draws closer.
Rauner last week announced he'd be participating in five debates this year, starting with an Illinois' Manufacturers Association event Feb. 4. He's been running TV ads for months and just finished a statewide bus tour.
Rauner's debates announcement drew ire from Dillard's campaign, which shortly after announced Dillard would participate in 19 debates and forums, including Thursday's.