Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Brady focus: Hope, Jobs and Opportunity; Comments on Blago, Kjellander, Education and Polls

State Senator Bill Brady [R- Bloomington] formally announced on Monday and Tuesday that he is running for Governor and he did so during a two-day, 11 city trip through Illinois. After making a statement about his run and his Contract with Illinois at his stop in Chicago yesterday, Sen. Brady answered questions from the press, and a partial transcript of the press conference is included, below.
Jeff Berkowitz: You have spoken previously and in the last few minutes about a net decline of jobs in Illinois under the Blagojevich administration. You said jobs [in Illinois] should have grown by 250, 000 [since Blagojevich came in] using national benchmarks. Instead, I think you said a few months ago there has been a decrease of about 17,000 jobs, giving a net decline of 267,000 jobs [in Illinois]. Pete Giangreco, the Governor’s—well, he speaks often on behalf of the Governor—he is a press guy [for Rod]. He, on my show, denied [the above] and said there has been a sharp increase [in jobs], especially in the last year, in job growth in Illinois. What exactly is it? Has there been a growth or decline [in jobs in Illinois since Blagojevich became Governor].

State Sen. Bill Brady: Check with the U. S. Government, as I did. The last results we had in, as of May were that Illinois was one of four states in the nation-since Rod Blagojevich became Governor—that lost jobs. We lost a net 44,000 jobs. The way that I get to nearly a quarter million—if we would have grown at the same rate as larger states, peer states—like us, we wouldn’t have lost jobs, we would have grown over 200,000 jobs. That’s how I get to the nearly quarter of million jobs he has cost us with his policies, since he has been governor.

Berkowitz: You are saying that since he stepped in the door as Governor there has been a decline of 44,000 jobs.

State Sen. Bill Brady: Yes, with a net loss of 244,000 jobs [in Illinois under Blagojevich] according to the U. S. Government

Berkowitz: And, with the [economic] growth, you are saying, there should have been a 250, 000…

State Sen. Bill Brady: Only four states in the nation didn’t grow. Every other state beside the four grew. If we would have grown at the rate of larger states, our peer states, we wouldn’t have lost 244,000 jobs. We would have grown at a percentage that would have increased job availability by over 200,000.

What specifically would you do differently from what the Governor did to bring about that increase?

I would not have instituted and I would have immediately repealed the 300 tax and fee increases that are unconstitutional and that helped rate us 49th in the nation according to Forbes Magazine…
Jeff Berkowitz: Some suggest that the schism in the Republican Party is less about Pro-Life and Pro-Choice and more about reformers and non-reformers. I think that Senator Rauschenberger and Jim Oberweis [two other candidates for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination, and I should have added Pat O’Malley, of course] have essentially suggested that to be a reformer in the Republican Party these days, you’ve got to ask for Bob Kjellander to step down as National Republican Committeeman [from Illinois]. Do you agree with that? Would you ask Bob Kjellander to step down?

State Senator Bill Brady: First, let me say that I have proven myself as a reformer in the Republican Party, probably first when George Ryan was first elected. You know, you don’t have to research the media too much to find out that I was George Ryan’s first outspoken Republican critic. If I find someone backing out of a promise or doing something that is illegal, I’ll stand up and speak against it. And, I’ve done that. I have a proven track record of independence and proving to the people of Illinois that they can trust me. Secondly, I have not -- if Bob Kjellander is found guilty of anything, I will immediately call for his removal. But, to date, no one has shown me that Bob Kjellander is guilty of anything. And, unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of sidestepping that I think hurts our party. Rather than focusing on bringing the party together, focusing on defeating Rod Blagojevich and putting the values and the policies in place in Illinois that will help Illinois prosper, we get sidetracked.
State Senator Bill Brady:…Why doesn’t he [Governor Rod Blagojevich] just take direct responsibility? The chief elected officer for the State of Illinois ought to be responsible and accountable for the number one issue facing our state. And, that’s the education of our greatest resource, our children. We don’t need layers of bureaucracy. We don’t need someone to blame when things don’t go the way you want as Governor. As Governor, I believe you need to take responsibility. You’ve got to eliminate that diffusion from responsibility and you’ve got to be accountable.

Jeff Berkowitz: What do you want him to do? What do you want the Governor to do with the State Board of Education?

Sen. Brady: I told you. Do what he promised he’d do two years ago. Abolish it [the State Board of Education].

Berkowitz: Yes, but he couldn’t get the legislature to agree with that. [Speaker Mike, in particular, didn’t want to park the State Board of Education at Hotel Blago]. They are Democrats. You are a Republican. How are you going to do that? [Get the Democrats to do, on Education, what Blago couldn’t]

Sen. Brady: I am not going to give up.
Berkowitz: So, you are taking a pledge over the course of your four year term [as Governor]—there will no increase in the sales tax, no expansion of the sales tax base and no increase in the state income tax and no other fee or tax increases.

Sen. Brady: And, I took it a step further and I said I’ll repeal those tax and fee increases that Blagojevich imposed-- that drove jobs out of this state.

Another reporter: And, it’s 300 million dollars [of tax and fee increases] since Rod took office.

Sen. Brady: Yes
Sen. Brady: One last question?

Berkowitz: Yes, what do the polls show? Have you taken any polls? Where do they put you?

Sen. Brady: Yeah, I asked my wife [Nancy] and three kids [lots of laughter from the Senator and the audience of 40, or so] what they thought and so far I haven’t read the results but I will let you know when I do.
Senator Brady Press Conference, July 26, 2005, Plaza Club, Chicago.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at