Cullerton Gambles on Nature Announcement

Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton and other officials gatehered Friday morning for what should have been an easy Friday news announcement.

Then it got political.

Those officials gathered to announce the launch of a multi-agency public works project that will create 140,000 acres of green space in the Calument Region of Chicago (i.e. far south side into Indiana.)

Quinn started things off by touting the benefits of green space. Emanuel weighed in on an expected boon to the lake front and the river. When Cullerton got a chance to speak, he used the moment (and the news conference's proximity to a Hammond, Indiana casino) to needle the governor on his gaming stance.

"Governor, this might be a little off topic," Cullerton said at the event on the far South side. "I don't know if we can see any eagles here, but we definitely can see the Hammond casino. Which reminds me, you and I and the mayor need to work on bringing a casino to Chicago so that... Illinois gamblers spend their money in Illinois, not Indiana."

Emanuel is a staunch supporter of bringing more gambling to the state, especially a casino in Chicago. Cullerton supports the idea, too.

Quinn does not support the idea as it currently exists, and the governor won a victory during the latest veto session when the Illinois House submarined a bill that would have brought nine new casinos to the state and allowed for slot machines at racetracks and airports.

"I want to thank John for his targeted remarks," Quinn said when he took back the podium, eliciting laughter.

All of the officials gathered for the nature preserve announcement agree that green space is a good thing. 

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