CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the post-budget shakeup in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office is symptomatic of a basic problem with the way Rauner has been governing.
Within days of state lawmakers overriding his vetoes of a $36 billion budget and income tax increase to fund it, Rauner has replaced his chief of staff, his top policy advisor, and his top spokesman with new hires from conservative-leaning policy groups.
Emanuel said Rauner has been leaning to the political right lately, counter to the Illinois tradition of moderate Republicans like DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and former Congressman Ray LaHood, as well as previous governors such as Jim Edgar and George Ryan.
“Moderate Republican voices that want to work to make progress, and you can see that in Dan Cronin today in DuPage County. This is a wholesale rejection of that, and going in a much more radical, reactionary version,” he said.
The mayor said the governor replacing his top staff with advisors with more right wing views can only impede any bipartisan progress that has been made in Springfield.
“I keep saying this. When he gets 90 percent of what he wants on education reform, based on a commission that he’s put together, and then says I’m going to veto it, it doesn’t matter what the staff changes are. That is an outlook and a perspective that cannot lead to progress,” he said.
The governor has threatened to veto legislation to overhaul the way Illinois funds all public schools to make sure lower-income districts get more money, because Rauner said it is a bailout of the debt-ridden Chicago Public Schools.
Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick issued the following statement on the staff changes:
“Governor Rauner was elected to build an Illinois that is more prosperous and compassionate and this is what he’s focused on. This team reinforces his work to reform state government so it works for the people, rather than the other way around.”