MOLINE -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the power of government unions, push a pro-business agenda and prioritize education funding.
Mr. Rauner is the former chairman of GTCR, a major Chicago-based private equity firm and a political neophyte who has poured $3.25 million of his own money into his campaign to become the state's next governor.
He's running in the Republican primary for governor against state treasurer Dan Rutherford and state senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard.
Mr. Rauner, who lives in Winnetka, spoke Monday with the editorial board of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. During the interview, he said his wealth would allow him to remain "independent" of the "special interests" such as union leaders that he said have too much power in Springfield.
He also is campaigning to introduce merit-based pay for teachers and wants term limits to be introduced for lawmakers in Illinois. Spending on education should be the state's top priority, he said.
Mr. Rauner said he'd use his experience as a businessman in the world of venture capital to restructure the state's government, parts of which he described as a "cesspool of patronage."
Among his proposals are to push state workers into a defined contribution pension plan similar to the 401ks common in the private sector.
He said he has spent time learning from other Republican governors like Mitch Daniels in Indiana, Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Chris Christie in New Jersey. If elected, he plans to implement some of their ideas into Illinois government, and generally looks to cut spending and outsource state services where possible.
Illinois is "hostile to business," Mr. Rauner said. To change that, he promised to cut taxes, loosen regulations and make the state's workers' compensation program less costly to businesses.
"We're just full of red tape, fees, restrictions, hassle, bureaucracy," he said. "We just make running, starting and operating a business a pain in the rear."
Mr. Rauner is well-ahead of his rivals in the Republican primary race, according to a poll taken this month by the Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV. The primary election is March 18.
Gov. Pat Quinn is running for re-election and is expected to beat Chicago activist Tio Hardiman in the Democratic primary.
Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Yesterday some bold thief stole a full bolt of calico from a box in front of Wadsworth's store, where it was on exhibition. 1889 -- 125 years ago: A team belonging to Peter Priese got away from its driver and made a mad run across the Rock Island Bridge. The driver was thrown from his seat but not hurt. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Carlton Taylor was appointed district deputy grand master for the 14th Masonic District of Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Moline's million dollar municipal airport was dedicated to air transportation and the national defense by Lt. Gov. John Stelle. 1964 -- 50 years ago: THE ARGUS will be election headquarters for Rock Island County tomorrow night, and the public is invited to watch the operation. The closing of the polls at 6 p.m. will mark the start of open house in the newsroom. Visitors will see staff members receiving, tabulating and posting returns. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Few bricks actually tumbled, but no one seemed to mind as about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the formal start of demolition at the site of a downtown civic center.