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 Monday, March 10, the 69th day of 2014. There are 296 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Numerous counterfeiters are around, taking advantage of the influx of currency to pass their worthless trash. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.J. Reimers, secretary and treasurer of the Rock Island Lumber and Manufacturing Co., on behalf of that firm, contributed $500 toward construction of a new Methodist church. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Samuel Ryerson, county recorder, was re-elected president of the 19th District of Knights of Pythias. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Three condemnation suits have been filed by the city of Rock Island to acquire property needed for an approach to the Rock Island-Davenport bridge, which has been under construction since March 6. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Plans for an eight-story Sheraton Inn in downtown Rock Island were announced today at a luncheon meeting at the Gay Nineties sponsored by the Rock Island Chamber of Commerce. Cost of the structure is estimated at $2.5 million. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Representatives of the Hardee's Golf Classic and tournament sponsor Hardee's Food Systems may meet next week with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to discuss a possible change in the tournament dates.