Governor Rauner: Candidate Profile

1st Appellate District (Republican)

  • Governor Rauner, running for 1st Appellate District

    Governor Rauner, running for 1st Appellate District

Updated 10/9/2014 11:24 AM

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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City: Winnetka


Office sought:

1st Appellate District

Age: 58

Family: Diana, wife. Six wonderful children

Occupation: Chairman, R8 Capital

Education: Dartmouth College, B.A. 1978 Harvard School of Business, M.B.A 1981

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Civic involvement: I’ve been a key supporter of Chicago’s Red Cross regional headquarters, the YMCA in Little Village, six charter high schools on the near west side, scholarship programs for public school students, and achievement-based compensation systems for educators. I’ve served on the boards of organizations including New Schools for Chicago, Noble Network of Charter Schools, Chicago Communities in Schools, World Business Chicago, and the University of Illinois Chancellor’s Strategic Advisory Board. I’ve also chaired the Education Committee of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Elected offices held: Never held office before - not even student council.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Questions & Answers

Regarding the governor's role as chief executive officer of the state, what do you consider the key to an effective working relationship between the governor's office and legislative leaders? To what extent is this relationship effective now and to whatever extent it may not be effective, what would you do to improve it?

We need a governor who is willing to live in Springfield and get to know each legislator on a personal basis. I've been getting to know members of the legislature throughout this process and will continue to do so as governor. Our current governor phones in a threat and calls it leadership. That's not how we are going to bring back Illinois. I'll spent time with every legislator and work with them to get things done.

If the Supreme Court, strikes down the SB 1 pension reform, what is your Plan B and how will you work with the General Assembly to pass it?

In light of recent court rulings, it increasingly looks like the pension bill is in serious jeopardy. We need to wait to see the parameters of what the Supreme Court says in order to carefully craft a plan that will pass Constitutional muster. That said, I have always maintained that moving to a new defined contribution system is a critical component of true pension reform and we are confident that would be Constitutional. The governor was largely absent from the negotiations over the last pension bill. I'll be hands-on.


As it stands now, the 2011 income tax increase will expire as planned on Jan. 1. Do you think that expiration should be reconsidered? Would you support making the increase permanent or extending it for some period of time? Please be specific about what level of tax increase, if any, you would support.

The first steps we need to take to become pro-growth again is to get rid of the Quinn-Madigan tax hike and replace it with a tax plan that is fair to all Illinoisans and will help create jobs. My plan completely eliminates the Quinn-Madigan 67% Tax Hike in four years " resulting in a 3% income tax rate and 4.8% corporate income tax rate - just like we had in 2010.

Do you support cuts in state spending? If so, what specifically do you suggest cutting and how will those cuts be sufficient to restore the state's financial health and economic climate?

We need to fundamentally restructure state government. In my Bring Back Blueprint: Government Reform and Cutting Government Waste, I laid out ten reforms we need to make that will save the state more than $1 billion and transform the way our state does business. That said, it would be a mistake to think we can only cut our way out of our problems. The key is to become pro-growth again, and I've also laid out a detailed plan that will grow our state.

What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education? If lawmakers approved the so-called pension cost-shift to local schools, would you sign it or veto it?

There is no doubt the funding formula is broken and needs to be reformed. Our funding formulas are convoluted and inefficient. But we can't pull the rug out from local taxpayers. The best way to implement education funding reform is to roll back Pat Quinn's education funding cuts and increase resources across the board.

What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?

I'm focused like a laser on four issues: more jobs, better schools, lower taxes and term limits. In addition to getting rid of the Quinn-Madigan tax hike, I want to freeze property taxes and empower homeowners. No more tax hikes without voter approval. I will also continue to fight for term limits. Pat Quinn is a phony on term limits, but getting term limits can shake up the culture in Springfield. I'll keep working to support a pro-term limits legislature and will do everything I can as governor to see term limits enacted.

Please name one current leader who most inspires you.

My wife. She is a leader in early childhood education and has devoted much of her adult life to improving the lives of disadvantaged children.

What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?

My grandfather is my hero and he instilled in me three things: get a great education, work your tail off and give back.

If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?

Sinatra sang: “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Life doesn't grant do-overs. I make the best of what comes.

What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?

Speech class made the biggest impact. I was introverted and shy. It taught me to overcome that and be fearless.

If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Two things: Treat people the way you want to be treated and remember that your reputation is your most important asset.