GOP gubernatorial challenger Jeanne Ives attacks Rauner, Pritchard in DeKalb visit
DeKALB – Not pulling any punches after her much-publicized debate performance against Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, continued to push forward with her offensive Friday at Lincoln Inn in DeKalb.
The conservative lawmaker attacked Rauner’s performance the past three years as governor, and along the way she took a swipe at local state representative, and fellow Republican, state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, for his voting record in the statehouse. She also said she is the reason Doug Baker was ousted as president at Northern Illinois University.
As she told those in the back room of the diner and bakery that they have the power to change state legislators, she paused.
“Who’s your state rep?” she asked the crowd. One person answered Pritchard, while another said he was not running for re-election.
“I know he’s not,” Ives said. “Thank God. ... He was all in on that school funding bill. It’s a disaster of a bill, a horrific, terrible bill that is a promise that we’re not going to keep. I don’t mind outing him. I know I’m in his hometown, I’m wherever.”
Pritchard is retiring from his 70th District seat at the end of the current term.
Ives said the evidence-based model, which is tied to the recent school funding bill that promised to increase the amount of money most schools will receive from the state, was “junk science” and “a total bailout of Chicago.” She said the bill was written by lobbyists.
As Ives spoke about education funding, Virginia Naples, a biology professor at Northern Illinois University and president of the union for tenure-track faculty, presented Ives with copies of the NIU student newspaper, the Northern Star, which featured a story about Baker’s severance pay on the front page.
“Gov. Rauner had to know about this,” Naples said.
“Thank you for your question and, as you know, I’m not really a public sector union fan,” Ives said. “Let me tell you the rest of the story.”
Ives said that she had known about the problems at NIU before almost anybody else, after DeKalb businessman Jim Mason came to her with information. She said she met with Mason and the Edgar County Watchdogs, a watchdog group from downstate Illinois, in her Wheaton office.
“We sat there all morning, and I connected those two with what the Watchdogs could do, with what I could not do myself,” she said. “I helped start that process, I was the catalyst bringing those two together making that story be heard. ... But people don’t know that.”
Ives said the Baker issue is an example that higher education in Illinois is out of control, and that high costs are driving students out of the state.
“I’m going to put out a challenge to the public universities: You’re either going to bring your costs for tuition in line with your conference peers, or we’re going to bring your state support in line with your conference peers,” she said.
Ives said one of the reasons the investigation at NIU took more than two years was the way it was closed off to the public.
“You can’t even find the status of a case,” she said. “Even if you’re the person who put in a complaint. I actually put in a complaint on Planned Parenthood. I wanted an investigation done on them to see if they were selling baby body parts in the state of Illinois. No answer.”
She said she advocates for reform because people have the right to understand what is happening in their government.
Countering Rauner’s claims that Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, was stonewalling the governor’s reforms at every turn, Ives said Rauner is the only one to blame for his inability to get things done in Springfield.
“He’s trying to run Campaign 2014, the 2.0 version,” she said. “It’s not going to work, because he’s had three years and produced nothing and, on top of it, betrayed everything we elected him to stand up against. This is not a reflection on anything but his record.”
While Ives’ campaign is providing Rauner with a challenge, an Ives victory in the primary could cause major fundraising challenges for the party. For the past three years, Rauner has been the major donor to the Illinois GOP. Ives said she isn’t worried about that funding source drying up should she win the election.
“I’m not worried about that at all,” she said, adding that Republican values aren’t up for the highest bidder. “I have my share of large donors.”