Gov. Bruce Rauner told reporters Tuesday that his choice to skip President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration wouldn’t have a negative impact on Illinoisans.
“People understand in Washington and around the country that Illinois has big challenges and they know, and respect the fact, that I am one hundred percent focused in Illinois, working on getting a balanced budget with structural change to the system,” Rauner said. “And they respect that and they appreciate it.”
The state's most recent stopgap funding plan expired at the start of the year, leaving the state's health and human services and higher education in a precatious place. During Tuesday's press conference, the governor dismissed another stopgap plan, but seemed encouraged by the Illinois Senate's bipartisan push to devise a proposal. However, he wouldn't officially endorse the plan, which is still being negotiated.
Rauner, who spoke to Trump on the phone shortly after the November election, said he already has ties to the President-elect’s camp Tuesday.
“I do have close, good working relationships with a number of incoming members of the Trump administration, as well as members of his transition team, and I’ve worked with the Vice President-elect for years,” Rauner said. “There’s no issue of us not having a good, solid working relationship with the incoming administration.”
Rauner noted that he “worked hard” to form a close relationship with the outgoing Obama administration, including former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. He now hopes to work with the Trump administration on infrastructure and schools in Illinois.
“It’s in the interest of the people of Illinois that we have a good, positive working relationship with federal administrations,” he added.
Additionally, Rauner pointed to the seemingly imminent repeal of the Affordable Care Act, claiming there are “big changes” coming to the country’s healthcare system. As a result, Rauner told reporters Tuesday that his administration is already talking to the incoming Trump administration about prospective changes.
Nevertheless, Rauner said it was “too early” to comment on components of the Republican Obamacare repeal effort.