Four months before the primary election, a group of Illinois business owners got to ask the GOP candidates running for Illinois governor about jobs, the economy, state finances, and pension reform. The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum Wednesday in Moline.
One of the biggest challenges the next governor will face is how to stabilize the state's finances. Illinois Senator Kirk Dillard says Illinois has a spending problem and must "get a handle" on its Medicaid plan.
Members of the chamber of commerce also asked whether the candidates would support a capital program to improve infrastructure. Treasurer Dan Rutherford said "yes" but as state treasurer he knows the big problem is always how to pay for it.
When asked what more should be done to fix Illinois' pension systems, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner said the law just passed by the General Assembly is like a "band-aid on an open wound."
Senator Bill Brady voted for the pension reform bill after serving on a committee that worked on it over the summer.
The four candidates also say if elected, they'd improve the business climate in Illinois with various forms of de-regulation.
It was also announced this week that Senator Bill Brady will be the first Republican listed on March's primary ballot. Brady will be followed by Rutherford, Dillard, and Rauner. Republican Peter Edward Jones will be listed fifth. His petitions are reportedly being challenged.
Illinois Public Radio's Michelle O'Neill contributed to this report.