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Article updated: 2/5/2014 5:35 AM

Rauner says he'll work with 'corrupt' legislature

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Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner said Tuesday Illinois has a "corrupt legislature" but also said he'll invite lawmakers into the governor's mansion if elected to get to know them on a first-name basis and work with them.

The Winnetka businessman, in a meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board Tuesday, said not every member of the Illinois House and Senate is "corrupt" but said it's "mostly true."

Yet, "I want to work with the legislature to drive results, and I'll be down there every day they're in session."

He said one way he'll work with lawmakers is by taking heat for them. "I'm happy to take arrows," he said.

Rauner has positioned himself as an outsider to state government, and criticism of those inside could appeal to voters looking for change.

He calls his three opponents -- Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale -- "part of the problem in Springfield."

The opposing candidates have swung back, criticizing Rauner, for example, for making a phone call aimed at getting his daughter into an elite Chicago high school.

The four will compete in the March 18 primary election for the chance to run against the winning Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn or Hillside community organizer Tio Hardiman.

On Tuesday, Rauner attacked some of his own party for taking campaign donations from public employee unions.

"Probably a third, maybe more, of the Republicans in Springfield have sold out to the government union bosses," Rauner said.

Rauner also said he'll back the eventual Republican primary winner if it's not him.

Rauner has criticized Democrats and Republicans who voted to cut public employee pensions late last year, saying the proposal doesn't save the state enough money. He wants to move future benefits for teachers and state workers into 401(k)-style plans.

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