As we get ready to welcome 2015, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on the past year in Illinois state government and politics. Most of the action was in the campaign for governor, in which Bruce Rauner became the first Republican to win that office since the late 1990s. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2014.
Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale: “If you’re a Democrat or an independent, there’s no action coming up on your side of the ballot on March 18. Come on over to ours and save your state.”
Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington: “I’m the only one up here who’s run for governor against Pat Quinn. Yeah, I lost by a few thousand votes. But I went from 150,000 votes in a primary to nearly 1.8 million votes in the general."
Bruce Rauner: “The special interest groups that make their money from government — the government union bosses, the trial lawyers, and others — they’ve bought the politicians in Springfield. They’ve bought the Democrats, and unfortunately, many of the Republicans, too.”
Treasurer Dan Rutherford: “I’m a reasonable Republican. That’s why I win. A Republican that can win in this not blue, but dark-purple state, and been able to do it in Chicago, the suburbs, and Downstate. I want your vote to be the Republican nominee for governor.”
Rutherford: "It's been horrible for my family. It's been horrible for my staff. It's been horrible for the family of my staff. And it's been horrible for my friends. That said, I'm looking forward to vindicating myself. I'm going to tell you up front: that is going to happen."
Rauner: “Pat Quinn — Pat Quinn has been governor for five years.” (“Boo.") "And he wants to be governor for five more years.” (“Nooo.") "No way. No way. ...”
Gov. Pat Quinn: “I may not have nine mansions. I have one house. I’m not a billionaire, never will be. I’m not part of the one percent, and never will be there. I’m not even part of the '0.01 percent.’ ”
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin: "I just want to state that the House Republicans have consistently stated that we will not support the extension of the temporary tax increase."
Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago: "When we had these giant blizzards during the winter, people wanted IDOT out there plowing the roads. When we had tornadoes come through some of our communities, people wanted someone to come out there and help rescue them. They don't want to hear, 'Well, gee, we don't have enough money because someone didn't want to take a hard political vote."
Speaker of the House Michael Madigan: "This has been a difficult session. Maybe a very difficult session. ... Over the last few years, nothing seems to be simple. Nothing seems to be easy. It's just one difficult, complicated issue after another."
Rauner: “Unfortunately, under Gov. Quinn Illinois has been one of the worst-run states in America. We have rampant misspending of taxpayer money (and) massive waste in the system."
Quinn: “The folks who are millionaires and billionaires always want to shift the burden onto everyday people … onto everyday, hard-working people who have to pay a tax on their garbage pickup. That’s not right."
Rauner: “Are you ready for a new direction? Are you ready to bring back Illinois?"
Quinn: “I don’t believe in throwing in the towel if that many votes are being counted. … And we will never, ever yield to a result until all the votes are in."
Quinn: “But it’s clear that we do not have enough votes to win the election. Therefore we respect the result. We respect what the voters did yesterday."
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka: “I think we can take great pride in knowing that our laws do not discriminate against any loving couples that choose to form a new family and take on life together. It's a beautiful thing. … And I just want to end by noting that I am available to be a flower girl, and I’ll even waive the fee.”