Up in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker has shown it’s possible to take on unions, including government unions, and live to tell the tale, and in large part because of his courage, he is now being considered as a Presidential candidate. It looks like his neighboring governor to the south, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, wants to follow in his footsteps. Rauner is one of the many Republican success stories of the 2014 election, and it looks like he isn’t going to be one to waste his mandate. In a recent appearance in Decatur, Illinois, he announced his intentions to take on the government union bosses. Northern Public Radio quoted him as saying:
“The taxpayers on the outside. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s a closed loop. This is what’s going on. Big problem. And it’s driving up our bureaucracy and jobs are leaving. It’s that closed loop up that; it’s what going on: the unions that contract with the state. I think it’s the number one conflict of interest in our state today.”
As their article also notes, he is blaming prevailing wage and Project Labor agreements for playing a role in driving up costs. He did not stop there. The major goal of his Decatur speech was to push one of his major policy goals: the establishment of “right to work zones” in the state. According to one of the local CBS stations, here is what he said specifically:
“The states that are already growing don’t force unionization into their economy,” Rauner told an audience at Richland Community College in Decatur, a city he said could benefit from such a plan.
“I’m not advocating Illinois becoming a right-to-work state, but I do advocate (for) local governments being allowed to decide whether they’re right-to-work zones,” he said.
As Scott Walker proved up in Wisconsin, it is possible to take on the unions and live, but it is by no means an easy task. I hope Gov. Rauner has the spine his neighbor to the north does. It will be very interesting to follow him over the next few years. He could be the next big star for the Republican Party if he is successful in his endeavors. The articles I linked here make it clear that the unions are not happy with the Illinois governor’s remarks, so we should expect a battle that could be just as intense and drawn out as the one that happened in Wisconsin. We need to make sure Governor Rauner knows he has our support, especially if you live in Illinois.