After winning three Grammy awards Sunday night, Chicago musician Chance the Rapper used the opportunity Monday to set up a meeting with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who he has criticized in the past.
Rauner took to Twitter Monday to congratulate the Chicago rapper on his historic Grammy haul. As an unsigned artist, Chance, whose government name is Chancellor Bennett, won three Grammys Sunday for best new artist, best rap album and best rap performance.
“Congrats to @Chancetherapper for making history as an independent artist and taking home 3 grammys,” the governor tweeted. “IL is proud that you’re one of our own.”
Bennett quickly responded, requesting a sit-down with the governor.
“Thank you Governor,” he tweeted. “I would love to have meeting with you this week if possible.”
“Let’s set up a meeting soon,” Rauner responded. “Looking forward to our conversation."
Bennett has criticized Rauner in the past. In February of last year, he urged the Republican not to veto a bill that would have funded higher education for low-income students in Illinois. Over a series of tweets, Bennett pushed Rauner to “engage us and explain your budgeting ideas and your plans for our higher education statewide.”
The governor’s office said a veto would provide Rauner with the authority to fund Monetary Award Program financial aid grants for low income students at the state’s universities and community colleges.
“Let it be known, my governor is doing everything in his power to keep MAP defunded and Close Down Chicago State,” Bennett tweeted at the time.
Days later, Rauner vetoed the measure, which would have appropriated $721 million for the MAP program. He also vetoed a measure in June that would have appropriated $3.9 billion for higher education and social services, calling that plan an “unfunded, empty promise."
Rauner ultimately signed off on a $600 million infusion in April of last year that funded Illinois’ public universities and colleges through the summer. A week later, Chicago State University announced that the school would lay off 300 employees despite receiving $20 million in funding.
The state’s most recent stopgap plan, signed in June, appropriated roughly $1 billion for the state’s higher education, including $151 million for grants for low-income students. However, MAP grant funding expired at the end of 2016, leading to uncertainty among many low-income Illinois students. MAP funding is now attached to the Illinois Senate’s “grand compromise."