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Is Conservative Reformer Jeanne Ives Challenging Left-Leaning Incumbent Bruce Rauner?

State Rep. Jeanne Ives announced she is ready to take on Rauner in the Republican primary for Governor. Ives says she believes GOP primary voters deserve a choice in the upcoming election. How would her campaign differ from Rauner’s failed “Turnaround Agenda?” State Representative and potential Republican candidate for Governor, Jeanne Ives joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Dan Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. So over the weekend, a couple of announcements. One, obviously it's not an election cycle in Illinois, Pat Quinn is not on the ballot, so he is...he's announced he's running for Attorney General. Amy Jacobson: That's so sweet! Proft: Yeah. Jacobson: Do you think he and Erika Harold will have a debate? They should. Proft: If he IS the Democrat Party's nominee...that's an if. Jacobson: Well what other, lot of other...oh yes, there's other challengers. Proft: There's like ten candidates on their side for Attorney General, since they've all been pent up waiting for almost two decades for "Daddy's Little Girl" to step down, Lisa Maddigan. So, and I think Erika Harold has a very good shot to win that race. Jacobson: Oh, so do I! Proft: So that's Quinn, and the other development is... Jacobson: The BIGGER news, Dan. Proft: Well, there's a revolt going on within the Republican party, and a lot of people want to see Bruce Rauner challenged in the primary, so that the race doesn't come down to, well, two big government plutocrats. Not much of a choice. They want distinguishing brand, and a candidate who can provide a distinguishing brand. And so rumors, we've talked about it on this show for a while, that State Representative Jeanne Ives, Republican from Wheaton, who I supported in previous campaigns as a private citizen through my political activities, in the interest of full disclosure, that she is circulating petitions to challenge Governor Rauner in the Republican primary. She added her running mate over the weekend, which is required. He is Rich Morthland, who is a former state rep and county board member, and now a community college professor at Black Hawk College, down in the Quad Cities area. And so, let's find out more about this fledgeling campaign, Jeanne and her running mate's. State representative Jeanne Ives joins us now, Jeanne, thanks for being with us, appreciate it. Jeanne Ives: Dan, great to talk to you today! Proft: So, what was the decision to take this next step and circulate petitions to get on the ballot and be a candidate against Governor Rauner? Ives: Well, GOP Primary votes, they really deserve a choice, and you know, they can choose between big government run by wealthy class, or they can pick the conservative reform ticket. Families and businesses are getting lied to and hurt by the policies in Springfield, and I know that firsthand. So we're going to take on this challenge, and we're going to do it with integrity, and we're going to be honest with the people in Illinois. Jacobson: Well when you talk about politics, you also talk about money, and Governor Rauner, I mean...that is a juggernaut to go against, because he's going to use $50 million of his own money in his re-election campaign. Can you even get a fourth of that money raised? Ives: We're very confident that we can raise that level of money. You know, we've already had a really good positive response from people. Nobody is saying that I shouldn't win. Everybody is agreeing with my policy prescriptions, and what I stand for, and they're looking for somebody who's going to be honest with them, and I'll tell you what...Governor Rauner can spend most of his fortune, and it's unlikely that he can redeem his reputation with GOP Primary voters. Proft: Well that's the thing, isn't it? It's a challenge for you to get known, because you are one of 118 state reps, so people outside of your district probably don't know you as well, you don't get a lot of profile as a state rep around the state, generally speaking. But, Rauner is a known quantity. And that's a quantity that Republican primary voters are revolting against because of his policy decisions. The guy that said "I wasn't going to have a social agenda" has had nothing except a social agenda three years in. And so it seems to me that's the challenge, getting better known, so people understand the choice before them. So, in the interest of getting better known, give us a bit of the background on you, and your family, so people get a better handle on who you are, and what you're trying to do. Ives: Sure, that's great! I actually grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, and went to West Point, and I received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from there, served six years in the Army, my last assignment was ROTC at Wheaton College. I left them to raise my family, five children with my husband Paul, here in Wheaton. And I've got to tell you, the best compliment I ever got in my life came from Mr. Catchton, who I know you know, Dan, as well. Proft: The longtime gym teacher at St. Michaels... Ives: Yeah, gym teacher, long time. And you know what he said to me? He said, "You know what, Mrs. Ives? You've raised a solid citizen there," when he saw my son Matt. And I thought, you know, that is the best thing that you can do, is to raise solid citizens, and make them a part of society, productive parts of society. And so I've spent my time raising my children, doing some volunteer work, tax and accounting work on the side, and then I ran for state rep after serving on the Wheaton City Council. So, that's kind of who I am and a little bit about my background... Proft: And your husband, Paul...also West Point? Ives: Yes, my husband Paul is a "West Pointer", and our son Nick graduated from West Point. But Nick's a contrarian, so he cross-commissioned to the Navy, and he's going to be a Navy pilot. Jacobson: And you still talk to him... Proft: So one of your sons, *laughs* yeah, right, you still talk to him... Jacobson: I'm so sorry... Ives: *laughing* Yes, we still talk to him, and he does still root for West Point in the Army-Navy game, so that's good too. Jacobson: See, that's all that matters. Proft: Yeah, that's really, the Army-Navy game. That's the dividing line. So one son is in the Navy, and the other is...don't you have another son that's an Army Ranger? Ives: So Matt is stationed up in Fort Wainright, Alaska, and he is an Army Infantry Officer. He graduated ROTC from University of Illinois with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and he also earned his Ranger tab. So we're really proud of Matt, he's moving into an executive officer position up there, in the Striker battalion. Jacobson: That's great. Now, have you heard from Governor Rauner or anyone in his camp? Have they tried to persuade you not to run? Because I know there's been rumblings for a while that you might challenge him. Ives: No, they have not reached out to me at all, and you know, we don't expect them to reach out to us at all. But, I tell you what, this isn't just one decision that he made on one vote or one particular bill. This is a series of really, I think, bad decisions, that feeds into the "crony capitalism" problem we already have in the state of Illinois. And, the other thing that I'm kind of concerned about is, you know...public corruption is literally an everyday occurance in the state of Illinois. And we have a culture of corruption in this state, and officials overlook it repeatedly, and we need to detect it and prevent it and we need to prosecute it. And as the executive of the state, I really think that he has failed to take on that critical issue. Proft: Tell us about your running mate, just kind of filling in the blanks here, Rich Morthland, who I know as well. Former state rep from the Quad Cities area, a little bit on him and why you chose him to run with you. Ives: Well I think, you know, the reason that I chose RIch is that he actually embodies exactly what Illinois is, in many ways. We are a farm state, and people forget that. Well first and foremost, Rich is a farmer. And I think it's important to have somebody like that, with that kind of background, in on policy decisions that are important to the entire state. And he comes from Rock Island County, which is a county that has been decimated in terms of jobs and economic opportunity, and they're getting out-competed by Iowa. And many citizens are moving across the border to Iowa. So we need his perspective state-wide on what's going on. You know, Illinois is more than just the suburbs and the city of Chicago. And Rich is a man of integrity, he served honorably in the State House, he's a community college professor, and he's in the union by the way, so we're real excited to have both Rich and his wife Betsy, who's just a fireball, on our team, and we think we're going to resonate with everybody. Jacobson: Now, besides big names, big name Republicans such as Dan Proft... Proft: *sarcastically* Oh, yeah... Jacobson: ...are others supporting you on your...well we had Congressman Peter Roskam on our program on Friday, and he seemed very open to the possibility that you would run for Governor. Ives: Peter is a close friend of mine, in fact I'm his state rep, so I'm thrilled to have the support of prominent Republicans like Peter. And actually, you know...GOP voters deserve a choice. It's going to be up to the GOP Primary voters to put a good team in like Rich and I vs the Plutocratic choices you have between Pritzker and Rauner. Proft: Well now, you're going to have people who heard the line before about pursuing a conservative reform agenda, that's what Rauner said, and it didn't happen. So, kind of the "once bitten", or in Illinois' case, "a hundred times bitten, a hundred and first time shy". So why is it going to be different with Jeanne Ives than it has been with Rauner and so many other Republicans? Ives: Well, we're going to take a different tactic when we put in policy. We're going to hyper-focus on what we need to do, and make sure Illinoisans understand how desperately we need job creation, and need to become business-friendly. Because I know firsthand that the taxpayers and businesses are the last consideration in any conversation down in Springfield. So, we elected Governor Rauner, literally, he was also elected to be the backstop for any bad policies coming out of the legislature. And he has failed that in many ways, from bailing out multibillion dollar companies, to bailing out CPS on the backs of taxpayers statewide. We elected him to do something differently. He could have turned the conversation, and put his voice in many of those critical meetings, and he failed to do so. So look, we have, both Rich and I, have a policy background, and we understand exactly the game that's going on, and we're going to insert ourselves in those conversations, and make sure that taxpayers are heard, and not just lobbyists and special interests. Proft: Well, I suppose also you have a voting record, as does Rich. So you can compare and contrast your voting record with the choices that Rauner made on so many of these issues that have angered Republican Primary voters, from HB-40, to Sanctuary State, to trans birth certificate, to the crony capitalist legislation that you were one of the few to reject. So those are opportunities for contrast to kind of establish credibility, I suppose. Ives: I'm happy to put my voting record out in the public for them to see, because in many cases most of the legislation that's run down from Springfield...you couldn't sell it to anybody if people understood what the bill did. You could only sell it to a group that's sitting in a bubble, like Springfield. Nobody else would agree that most of the policy that has passed is good at all. You know, there's very little thought going into much of the legislation, very little research and analysis. So not only am I proud of my voting record, I'm proud of the bills that I actually pushed, that I actually filed, that didn't come to fruition, because it tells you where I went and where I'm going. And it's ALL taxpayer protection. From limiting the debt that is accumulating in our municipalities, in our schools, on the backs of our children, in the future years, to pension reform that we have to have. So, my record is wide open and I'm happy to send it. Jacobson: So, are you going to start travelling around the state, getting to know some people, in the southern counties? Proft: Like Mount Prospect...the Jacobson Ancestral Home... Ives: I'm thrilled...my calendar is filling up quickly, and our team is ready to do all the work and meet all the people that we need to be successful. And I've already been invited to events around the state, so we have a broad base of support already, and that just excites our team. Proft: You said something at the outset that I just kind of wanted to pick up on. The people that you're talking to, nobody's saying that you shouldn't win. Because you're going to run up against conventional wisdom that says, "Oh, she can't win! Rauner's money, and nobody knows who she is." I mean, this is of course the easy analysis, this why people take it, because it's the easy analysis and we're content to be prognosticators so much of the time rather than work for what we WANT to see happen, it's easier just to predict what will happen. But how do you run into, or...how do you respond to that conventional wisdom that's tinged with a healthy dose of fatalism about the party and the state? Ives: Well I have a lot of trust in the majority of the voters in the state of Illinois. And I think overall, Illinoisans are still very much practical mid-westerners. And while this looks like a David vs. Goliath race, and maybe it is right now in terms of money, a better story really is "The Emperor's New Clothes". So we're going to expose the fact that they have literally no clothes on...on much of their policies. And I think that when you're confronted with the truth about what's going on in Springfield, the voters will turn away from that, and actually vote for somebody who they know has a backbone, who is going to stand up for them. So that's our challenge, we have to get the money and the resources to get that message out, but we're confident once people hear our message, it will resonate with them. Proft: I don't like thinking about the Rauners with no clothes on. Jacobson: *quietly* Oh dear... Proft: So I don't know if I like that metaphor. But otherwise, I of course like what Jeanne Ives has to say. State representative Jeanne Ives, Republican candidate for governor in the making, in the making, of course there's the caveat there, she's gotta file by December 4th, still a decision to make. Jeanne, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Ives: Good day, thank you for having me!

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