In a historic City Council meeting Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner addressed a full chamber and urged Chicago to make compromises for the greater good of the state.
It was the first time in Chicago history that a sitting governor addressed City Council and the last full council meeting before the inauguration of the new aldermen May 18. The governor's speech aimed to unite city and state politics as part of his "Turnaround Illinois" agenda.
"For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must get what it needs," Rauner said.
The governor faced a tough crowd of Democrats, many of whom voiced their strong support for unions prior to Rauner taking the microphone. Before he began, Rauner even joked that Daniel had better odds in the lion den than he did in City Council.
In an effort to change the state's financial situation, however, Rauner urged partnership between city and state politicians. He highlighted financial and education issues as commonalities that both the city and state governments share.
The governor also said that Chicago's leaders must consider the needs of the rest of the state, perhaps suggesting that Chicagoans should come down from a pedestal and act in solidarity with the rest of Illinois.
"I'm willing to go to bat -- I'm eager to go to bat -- for the 2.7 million people of Chicago, but you must remember there are over 10 million people who live outside the city limits," Rauner said. "Just as you don't want the politics of Springfield to hold you back, other communities don't want the same policies as Chicago."
In a room full of Democrats who reside in the city, the governor tried to find common ground before launching into his biggest points about compromise. He told the council members he was "born in the shadows of Wrigley Field" and will always love Chicago.
But don't be fooled by Rauner's Chicago pride. He won't go so far as to bail out the city and compromise the rest of the state. "It's not an option," he said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose ties to the governor have been well-documented, also urged the council members to consider Rauner's points.
"In the past, we used to think it was a zero-sum game of Chicago versus the suburbs, Chicago versus down-state or sometimes even Chicago versus Illinois," Emanuel said in his introduction to Rauner's speech. "But that was 30 years ago. Today we have the opportunity to turn the page on the politics of the past and build a vibrant economic future for every resident of every community."