State Treasurer Dan Rutherford appeared this morning on WIND’s “Big John & Amy Show,” to answer questions about his opposition to Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to close prisons in Dwight and Tamms -- and not answer questions about whether he plans to run against Quinn.
First of all, Rutherford compared Quinn’s prison closing plan to a similar proposal by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008.
“I don’t think Gov. Quinn’s decisions are political,” Rutherford said. “I think they’re for the right reasons, for budget concerns.”
That being said, closing two prisons in a system that’s 1,400 inmates over capacity is a threat to public safety, Rutherford charged.
“I have been to Tamms,” said Rutherford, who said a guard pointed out an inmate there who had killed “six or seven” people -- including a prison guard he’d stabbed. “They are the worst of the worst. That prison is the newest in the system. It was built for the safety of the staff and the inmates, and now that is one that is looking to be closed.”
When host John Howell asked Rutherford whether he’s running for governor, the Treasurer announced he’s delaying his answer until next year.
“This is what happens in the political system: I’m Dan Rutherford, Illinois State Treasurer. I’m working hard. I’m trying to do a good job with the treasury I’ve got handed to me, and if one starts to become a little more vocal or out there, it becomes part of the chatter: is Dan Rutherford going to run for governor or this or that? Let’s just say I’m going to work real hard to try to get through this presidential election, and the early part of 2013, we’re going to make our decision.”
However, Rutherford said he’s definitely not interested in running for vice president -- even though he received a joking endorsement from Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney last week.
“Mitt was in town on Thursday, and there was a reception and we had a dinner afterwards, and during the reception, he said something about Marco Rubio and the crowd kind of reacted. He said, ‘He’s definitely good, but I’d want to have Dan Rutherford, and he pointed to me in the crowd.’ Mitt and I are friends. We get along well. I can tell you candidly, ‘No, I’m not on his short list. And I wouldn’t want to be. Outside of getting Air Force Two to fly around in, ‘I’m not sure I’d want that responsibility.”
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