Gary Rabine: 2022 candidate for Illinois Governor
Office sought: Governor
Occupation: CEO/Entrepreneur, Rabine Group of Companies
Previous offices held:
What do you consider the key to an effective working relationship between the governor's office and legislative leaders? To what extent is this relationship effective now? What would you do to improve it?
Mutual respect is the key.
In the last decade the relationship between the Governor's Office and the leaders has been poor. In part the result of too much power residing with the Former Speaker of the House and more recently the dysfunction can be attributed to the insularity of those in the Executive Office. My view is that an effective government demands that the leaders from both parties are consistently in communication. As Governor, I will hold weekly meetings with the four legislative leaders; not just during session but throughout the rest of the year. An open and respectful dialogue will produce the trust necessary from all parties to ensure that the citizens of this state are well served. My approach with the legislative leaders will be guided by the notion that what we do as elected officials is about the next generation, not the next election.
What is the responsibility of the governor to work with legislators in determining health regulations during the pandemic or any other public health crisis? How would you work to meet this responsibility?
Governor Pritzker's approach in handling the pandemic is textbook on how not to manage a health care crisis as a Chief Executive. Recent articles have detailed that Illinois is one of the worst performing states in the country in COVID economic and health and well being recovery. And Governor Pritzker repeatedly acted unilaterally, with no input from the members of the legislature from either party. One of my first acts as Governor will be to conduct a review of the powers of the Illinois Governor's Office and rescind whatever law is the source of the unilateral decision making ability of the Governor in a health care crisis which allowed Governor Pritzker to ignore the voices of those elected to represent them. And as Governor, in any future health care crisis, I will work closely with all members of the Illinois Legislature to ensure we are meeting the needs of all Illinois citizens.
Should the state play a role in funding a new Bears stadium at Arlington Park? What is the governor's responsibility in this regard?
No, unless the citizens of Arlington Heights and/or the State of Illinois vote on a funding mechanism. I believe in free markets. I believe the less government intervention in the private sector market place the better and the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. Let the respective markets determine what is in the best business interest of the Chicago Bears.
What will you do to ensure spending priorities you espouse during your campaign are reflected in the budget?
Budgeting is about priorities. My priorities as Governor are public safety, reducing the oppressive tax burden and stopping the runaway inflation we have endured over the last year. To ensure my budget priorities are met, it is my job as Governor to persuade those of both parties that my priorities align with what is in the best interests of the citizens of Illinois. I fully understand that all of my priorities may not be met as some might not align with members of the opposition party. But it is my obligation as the state's Chief Executive to persuade and work with all members of the legislature to turn my budget priorities into a budget that works for Illinois.
Efforts to create an independent panel to determine legislative districts were not successful in time for the 2020 Census. How important do you think it is to create such a process for the 2030 Census? If you support the issue, what should be done to create change, when should it be done and how would you contribute?
Governor Pritzker lied to the citizens of Illinois during the 2016 campaign when he vowed to not sign any legislative map that wasn't "fair." The 2020 map was highly gerrymandered.
It is critical to Illinois and the United States that an objectively independent process be created for drawing the legislative map. The corruption cited in the recent racketeering Indictment of former Speaker Madigan can rightfully be attributed to his control of the map-making process which kept him in power for far too long. And, the highly gerrymandered maps contribute directly to the hyper-partisan nature of our politics. Increasingly fewer legislative districts are contested in the general election because the districts are drawn in most cases to favor the party in power. As Governor, I will appoint a bi-partisan commission to study this issue and propose the best way for Illinois to draw the legislative maps in 2030 and beyond. This will be a priority of my Administration as Governor.
How well do you think the evidence-based model for education funding in place in Illinois is working? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?
This is a highly complicated issue that has been debated for decades. As Governor, we should strive to make sure that all schools are adequately funded so that Illinois children receive a quality education. But we should also promote the concept of school choice. Our kids should not be locked into a horrible educational environment.
I believe the evidence-based model for education funding is an incremental first step in making sure that our schools are funded, but it is too early to determine if it is working adequately. The stated goal of the law is to bring all school districts up to 90% of adequacy by 2027. A goal that would be readily attainable but for the disaster of the Chicago Public Schools. And the problem is compounded by the dysfunctional property tax assessment system in Cook County. Illinois needs to lessen the influence of the Chicago Teacher's Union and reform the Cook County Assessors office before adequate funding can be fully achieved.
What will you do to fix the public employee pension systems?
I am the only candidate in this race who has sat at the table and negotiated for employees' pensions to be maintained while keeping employers solvent. This is exactly what needs to happen in every state pension plan. We need to continue to offer current pension recipients options allowing them to maintain their benefits while removing the longer-term liability from the state. We need to open up the Illinois municipal code allowing for more investment options. It's no secret that endowments, foundations, universities and corporations investment returns are far better than our restricted state pension plans. It is time the state pension plans move into the 21st century. Private pension plans that are less restrictive earn about 2% more per year on average than our state plans. What that means to taxpayers is that we would owe a lot less than the hundreds of billions the state does now had we achieved a higher investment return.