SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair usually means interest groups will try to catch the governor’s ear as well as those of his supporters.
This year was no exception as union members gathered at every entrance to the state fairgrounds, handing out colorful balloons for children and fans for the adults. Both items read “Governor Quinn, keep your word.”
Randy Hellman, president of the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees local 943 says the demonstration isn’t just about workers getting their promised raises, which Quinn abruptly canceled.
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“What you’re seeing here today is people saying to the governor, ‘Governor, you know, we collectively bargained this agreement, we’ve worked shorthanded, we’ve done our job. Don’t renege on your end of the bargain.’ That’s what this is about,” says Hellman.
When asked about the demonstration, Quinn suggested the unions talk to the legislature, which he says didn’t appropriate enough money to pay for the raises.
The Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association also showed up in force for the Governor’s Day rally, with hundreds of people wearing orange shirts reading “Please Sign SB744,” the bill number of the proposed gambling expansion.
The measure allows five new casino licenses, expanded gambling at existing casinos, and slot machines at horse tracks. Association President David McCaffrey says slot machines at tracks are neither a subsidy nor an unfair advantage over casinos.
“Dunkin Donuts can serve mocha lattes if they want, and Starbucks can serve donuts if they want,” says McCaffrey. “Maywood and Balmoral Park, where I race, cannot have slot machines unless we get this bill passed. We just want a chance to compete with the riverboats.”
The governor has not yet received the bill, but he has spent time over the last couple of months meeting with interest groups from both sides of the debate, including McCaffrey’s.
McCaffrey says he wants the governor to sign the measure as-is, because he fears the legislature would not override or agree to any type of veto.