ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy can deliver the financing and name recognition to be a significant player in the 2018 Democratic primary.
There's one area where he and Governor Bruce Rauner agree.
They believe that Illinois is headed in the wrong direction.
Democrats and Republicans are on board considering we haven't seen a budget in two years.
Kennedy promises on his website to have a renewed focus on job creation.
Rauner wants the same thing. He says the state's tax climate and regulations are unfriendly to businesses and drive companies out of the state. That's why he holds tight to his 'turnaround agenda.'
Kennedy discussed this issue and others during an appearance on 4 the Record and disagrees with the governor's argument that illinois is unfriendly to businesses.
"I think businesses can thrive in Illinois," said Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Kennedy. "I know what it takes to get companies to move here and to expand once they've arrived. I can tell you none of the 5,000 companies I dealt with over 25 years at the Merchandise Mart, not one of them ever asked me about tort reform or worker's comp."
Kennedy believes Illinois' strength in rebuilding the economy comes from self-promotion initiated by tourism leaders.
"I think the convention and tourism industry is important," Kennedy said. Companies come here for the first time, they take a small booth in a trade show, they do well, the next year they come back and take a few more. Next thing you know, they've opened up a sales office, then they open up a distribution center, then they open up a regional headquarters. That is a critically important conduit for business development."
Illinois' finances are a debacle. The state is struggling to pay for public schools and higher education.
Kennedy says Illinois needs to take a step back when it comes to formulating realistic policies to make public schools and universities whole. He says many kids don't graduate ready to join the workforce or go to college.
"They'll never know that economic freedom because we've created structural barriers," Kennedy said. "We've created a school system where they're not prepared when they graduate from high school. We should look around the country for guidance. Let's get ideas from high-performing states and use it here to our advantage."
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