Bruce Rauner: We have to keep fighting for our home

This is one of a seies of essays produced in response to an invitation from the Daily Herald on the topic, "Why I Should Be Illinois' Next Governor." The two Republicans and seven Democrats who have announced bids to seek the state's top job all were invited to describe themselves and their core positions. Publication of the op-eds began with submission by incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner and will continue daily on the Opinion page. Democrat Tio Hardiman declined.

Illinois is our home. Like so many of you, I grew up here, built my career here, and raised six kids in the Prairie State. But I couldn't sit by while our state sank further into debt and despair.

That's why I ran for governor four years ago. Because home is worth fighting for.

Since then we've endured some tough battles, but we've made real change as well.

We passed historic education reform that gives unprecedented support and opportunity to schoolchildren from every community in Illinois. We enacted criminal justice reforms that restore hope for those captured by the streets while ending the dangerous practice of early release. We ended the illegal patronage hires conducted by Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.

We rooted out Medicaid fraud, saving hundreds of millions and ensuring the most vulnerable receive the highest levels of care.

We reformed our job creation program to eliminate special deals and hold companies accountable. We enacted a groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act that saved thousands of jobs and will spur tens of thousands more 21st century jobs while making Illinois a nationally leader in clean and renewable energy production.

And just this month, we launched an historic technology partnership with our state's leading research universities. This is the kind of transformative job creating engine we need.

But we still have a lot of work to do. I've never stopped fighting for this state. And I never will.

That's why I'm running for reelection.

We've shaken a corrupt system to its core, but it's time to finish the job. It's time for all of us to come together around a movement that sets aside party politics and achieves real solutions that put our people first.

And while it's not easy, there are three simple things we can achieve together to save our state:

• We must provide real, lasting property tax relief. Illinois homeowners face the highest property taxes in the nation. We must freeze property taxes and put in place a system to easily allow referendums so citizens can lower their local property taxes and consolidate local units of government at the ballot box.

• We must roll back the Madigan income tax hike. Over the summer, Madigan's legislators passed a budget containing a permanent 32 percent income tax with no reforms over my veto, and the budget is still out of balance by over $1.5 billion. This is unacceptable.

• And those career politicians who created this mess? We must put a stop to them by enacting term limits.

This is what I've been fighting for for three years, and the Madigan Machine has blocked us on these three simple things. Which is why I need your help.

I'm asking every voter to hold our elected officials accountable. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, demand that your elected officials support term limits. Demand that they root out corruption. Demand that they support true property tax relief.

Demand that they stand up to Mike Madigan and repeal his egregious income tax.

And finally, demand that your legislators refuse to support Mike Madigan for speaker. Over 32 years in power is more than enough.

We have a chance to save Illinois from a corrupt culture of political failure. We have an opportunity to restore the dreams of families throughout the state.

Because this election isn't about party affiliation; it's not about political games; it's not about Washington politics. This election is about saving our home and demanding more from our politicians, no matter what letter they have after their names.

This won't be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But we're in this together.

So now we have a choice. We can throw in the towel, walk away, and leave our future to the same corrupt, career politicians.

Or we can fight.

I choose to fight - and I hope you'll join me.

Because Illinois is home. And home is worth fighting for.

Republican Bruce Rauner is governor of Illinois.

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