Rauner tours, touts two Northwest suburban businesses

Gov. Bruce Rauner toured two Northwest suburban businesses Tuesday, touting both as prime examples of the role Illinois should be playing in the national and global economy.

Rauner helped cut the ribbon on a new processing plant for Richelieu Foods, Inc. in Wheeling, and then admired the research and development in progress at Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, aimed at creating new sources of energy through a process called gasification.

Tim O'Connor, president and CEO of Richelieu Foods, praised the governor's "relentless" pursuit that led to his company choosing to locate its fifth plant in Wheeling - and not far from another of its facilities in Elk Grove Village.

Rauner said state, federal and local leaders came together to provide the workforce training and property tax abatement Richelieu needed to make the Wheeling location the right fit.

"This is a very good day for the state of Illinois and the community of Wheeling," Rauner said. "We have the hardest working people and they deserve to have high-paying jobs."

O'Connor said that while the costs of doing business in Illinois are a little higher than other places the company could have gone, the state's transportation infrastructure, location and workforce weigh in its favor. The company expects to have more than 100 employees working at the Wheeling facility by the end of the year,

While Rauner called Richelieu's new 115,000-square-foot plant a good sign for Illinois' economy, he said all is not well with the state. Not every business is capable of overcoming the state's challenges as Richelieu is, he said.

"We don't have nearly the successes we deserve," Rauner said.

Other officials at the grand opening included Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Dold of Kenilworth, Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris and Democratic state representatives Carol Sente of Vernon Hills and Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook.

At Gas Technology Institute, Rauner thanked employees for the work they were doing and said the state is eager to support the company further in its endeavors, once Illinois' budgetary and financial crises are worked out.

"We're going to get it done right and then we're going to invest," Rauner told workers.

  Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris, Richelieu Foods CEO Tim O'Connor and U.S. Rep. Bob Dold cut the ribbon Tuesday outside the expanded Richelieu Foods plant in Wheeling. Gilbert R. Boucher II/
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