(Illinois News Network
) — Gov. Bruce Rauner won’t say if he’ll commit to debating his primary opponent before the March 20 Republican primary.
At a stop in Jacksonville Friday morning, Rauner was asked if he’d commit to debating state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who has filed to run against Rauner in the March 20 Republican primary.
Asked three times in a row if he’d debate Ives, Rauner only laughed and said “what I’m committed to is winning the general election and beating the Chicago machine.”
Ives reacted later Friday.
“It makes sense when he says that he’s not in charge,” Ives said.
Earlier this week, Rauner told reporters he’s not in charge, saying Speaker Michael Madigan’s influence is controlling the state. Rauner said Illinoisans need to have Republicans take back the state House and remove Madigan as speaker.
“[Rauner] also doesn’t understand the issues so no wonder he doesn’t want to debate it because it would be pretty obvious that he hasn’t been in charge for three years,” Ives said. “It’ll be very obvious that I’ve been leading the charge for good government in Springfield even as a state rep.”
Ives said she will challenge Rauner to a debate.
“We want to bring out the issues that are important to Illinoisans,” Ives said. “We will press him to have a debate in the future.”
Several of the Democratic candidates for governor have agreed to debate each other throughout the state after the first of the year.
Rauner was in Jacksonville to visit Eli Bridge Company, one of the oldest manufacturers of ferris wheels and other rides. Company CEO Patty Sullivan said the continued increasing cost of workers’ compensation in Illinois is taking away from its employees. Eli Bridge already is having to cut back, she said, because of increasing costs of health insurance, which is shared with employees.
“And with the workers’ comp going up, and that’s all on us, it takes away from what we can pay our employees,” Sullivan said.
The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute reported Illinois’ workers’ comp costs have risen 3 percent over three years. The report said there were more doctors’ visits per claim in Illinois than 17 other states it studied. Payments for surgery and ambulances were also higher than other states, according to WCRI.
Gov. Bruce Rauner stopped at Eli Bridge Friday and said workers in Illinois must get quality care when they’re hurt, but Illinois’ workers’ compensation system has to change.
“Our system has a lot of fraud and bad claims and trial lawyers making money of the system so it’s hurting and it’s hurting the small business employers and our system needs to change,” Rauner said.
Illinois’ workers’ compensation costs are the highest in the Midwest.
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