Quinn, Rauner Spar on Education, Unemployment as Debate Draws Protesters

By Sade´ Carpenter

Posted: Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn squared off with Republican opponent Bruce Rauner Tuesday night in a spirited debate aimed at addressing issues important to the black community.

Held at DuSable Museum of African American History, the debate was hosted by the Chicago Urban League and the Business Leadership Council, in partnership with CBS 2 Chicago and radio station WVON. It was the second debate between the two in the last five days. 

Before the debate kicked off, chanting protesters gathered in the rain outside the museum. Emulating the activists in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown, some shouted, “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” Others appeared to voice their disapproval for Quinn.

When the candidates weren’t throwing jabs at each other, they primarily spoke on education reform, taxes, the unemployment rate and economy.They also briefly touched on methods for repairing the black community’s distrust of law enforcement and the judicial system.

“Since I’ve been governor I’ve worked with leaders in the African-American community to make sure we do have justice,” Quinn said.“We want to make sure we have investment in gun safety … my opponent wants to legalize assault weapons; I do not. I think they should be banned, I think it’s very important to protect the safety of all.”

Quinn also said funding body cameras for police officers is worth exploring, but he would like to see the result of pilot programs first. Rauner said the government must go in a very different direction.

“The tragedy for the families of Illinois is Gov. Quinn has failed on crime and public safety and prison system as he’s failed on jobs and education,” Rauner said. “We need to do more creative thoughtful community policing, we need to come up with creative alternatives for non-violent offenders so they don’t have to go to prison and they can be rehabilitated, but we need more prison capacity so violent offenders aren’t released early and we don’t have overcrowding that puts corrections officers’ and inmates’ safety at risk.”

While outspoken about his opinion of Quinn’s shortcomings with crime prevention, Rauner did not give a direct answer regarding whether he would support outlawing assault weapons. Instead, he stressed keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

“I will be more effective than Gov. Quinn has [been] on this issue,” he said. “It’s the lack of opportunity that causes crime … we’ll deal with our public safety through education … we need African-American entrepreneurs in power; that’s the real answer to deal with our crime problems.”

The candidates also clashed on the economy and unemployment rate. Although Rauner referred to Quinn as the “outsourcer-in-chief,” Quinn fired back with the assertion that Rauner has made millions of dollars by laying off workers.

“His jobs program is a great program for China, India, the Philippines,” Quinn said. “It’s not helping us here on the South Side or West Side or any side of Illinois.”

Both candidates stressed the importance of investing in education to create job growth, but Quinn said Rauner would cut $4 billion in the education budget. He proposed using income tax revenue to properly fund schools. Rauner said the tax discussion shouldn’t happen until the new governor is seated.

The candidates are scheduled for another debate on Monday night at the ABC 7 studios.


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