Thursday, August 16, 2012
Governor's Day At Fair Turns Into Protest
Gov. Pat Quinn found few allies Wednesday in his push to reform the pension systems for retired state workers. In fact, he found a wall of sound from union protesters as he spoke on Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. His speech was barely audible over loud booing and chants of “Respect Illinois workers.” A plane circled overhead carrying a banner that read “Gov. Quinn — unfair to workers.”
The event, usually meant to be a sort of pep rally for the party holding the governor’s office, instead displayed deep divided among Illinois Democrats over pension reform, the closure of state facilities and budget cuts that Quinn has said necessitated layoffs of state workers and a freeze on contractual raises.
House Speaker Mike Madigan, who is also the chair of the Democratic Party in Illinois, brushed off the acrimony over pension reform and other issues, saying he did not think it would do permanent damage to his party in the state. “Promises were made. But if you don’t have the money to pay the promise, I think you have to step back, bring everybody together, talk reality and look toward how we can restore some fiscal stability to the [pension] systems and to the state of Illinois.”
Despite the lack of agreement, Quinn remained optimistic that things could still fall in line to pass a bill on Friday. “I think each of the leaders is waiting for the other to move forward. And I hope we can in the next couple of days get everybody to jump aboard at the same time. Hold hands and let’s go together.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/governors-day-at-fair-turns-into-loud.html