Bruce Rauner Begins Term as Illinois Governor

He says business as usual would be "morally corrupt."
by | January 12, 2014 AT 6:05 PM

By Rick Pearson, Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger

Bruce Rauner was inaugurated Monday as Illinois' 42nd governor in a pomp-filled ceremony, promising to restore a state suffering from financial, moral and ethical crises.

"If we work together, Illinois can be great again," Rauner said in his inaugural address delivered at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

"Together, let's do the hard work to rebuild our home. I'm ready to get to work for you. I'm ready to fight for you," he said.

Rauner enters his first public office as the first Republican to serve as governor since 2003. He said fixing the state's financial problems would require sacrifice.

"Sacrifice by all of us _ politicians and interest groups, business and labor, those who pay for government and those who depend on government's services and need us and who we need to support," Rauner said. "Each person here today and all those throughout the state will be called upon to share in the sacrifice so that one day we can again share in Illinois' prosperity."

Rauner said his actions would be guided "based on the next generation, not the next election" and pledged to work on a "bipartisan basis."

Rauner faces a Democratic-dominated General Assembly in trying to advance his agenda.

Reviving many phrases from his successful campaign for governor, Rauner contended the state also suffered from "moral" and "ethical" crises that must be repaired to restore trust between government and its citizens.

"They see lobbyists writing bills for special interests and taxpayers being left with the tab," he said. "They see government union bosses negotiating sweetheart deals across the table from governors they've spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect. That's a corrupt bargain and the people of Illinois are left to wonder where they fit it."

Rauner, who spent millions of his personal wealth as a successful equity investor to get elected, said, "I'm nobody that nobody sent. And I've come to work for you."

Among those in attendance were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, members of Illinois' congressional delegation, state legislators and Archbishop Blase Cupich, who delivered the invocation.

Not in attendance was the man Rauner replaced as governor _ Pat Quinn, who remained in Chicago to finish his work, said one aide to the Democrat.

Rauner took the oath of office at 12:10 p.m. It was administered by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the Northern District of Illinois.

Jim Cornelison led off the festivities with a robust version the national anthem, though minus the crowd cheers that normally accompany him at Chicago Blackhawks home games.

Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis led a moment of silence for the late Judy Baar Topinka, who died last month after winning a second term as state comptroller. Sworn in to replace her was Leslie Munger.

(c)2015 Chicago Tribune