Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton slammed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda during a speech in Chicago Wednesday.
“The governor has refused to start budget negotiations unless his so-called ‘turnaround agenda’ gets passed first,” Clinton said. “Now, his plan will turn Illinois around, all right. All the way back to the time of the robber barons of the 19th century.”
Clinton addressed a crowd of several hundred people at the Parkway Ballroom in Bronzeville. The get-out-the-vote rally was aimed at gaining the support of African-American voters.
“When I look at what’s happening here in Illinois, [it’s a] Republican agenda to roll back the clock on everything that made the middle class strong in the 20th century, it’s pretty terrifying,” Clinton said. “They want to undercut workers’ rights, undercut unions. You know, the American labor movement was essential to building the American middle class.”
Illinois has been without a budget since July of last year. The budget impasse has been typified by Rauner's battle with his Democratic counterparts, who hold a majority in the state's senate and house.
Rauner gave his budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2017 Wednesday. Clinton referred to the proposal as “material for some kind of sitcom because he’ll be speaking without actually having a budget.”
“They need a governor who will actually pass a budget,” Clinton said.
Rauner responded to Clinton’s speech Thursday, chalking the rhetoric up to campaign politics.
“I think that’s mostly a campaign positioning issue for her,” Rauner said. “She’s been under attack for taking so much money from wall street and being, you know, basically in the pocket of wall street and big banks and I think this is her way of trying to push back a little bit on this.”
Rauner also clarified the objectives of his Turnaround Agenda.
“What we’re trying to do with our agenda is actually have the government working for the families here again and growing our economy so we got more jobs and putting more money into our schools so we have the best schools in america,” Rauner said. “That’s the right thing to do.”
Clinton was joined onstage by Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland’s mother. Bland, a Naperville native, was found hanged in a Texas jail following a routine traffic stop.
Clinton used the rally to call for reforms to social justice and condemn gun violence. Clinton noted that victims of gun violence were in attendance Wednesday.
“They must motivate every one of us to take on these issues, reforming police practices and making it as hard as possible for people to get guns who shouldn’t have them in the first place,” Clinton said.
Clinton will face Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the March 15 Illinois Democratic primary.