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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.