Prominent Republicans celebrate Rauner's upcoming inauguration

SPRINGFIELD—On the eve of inauguration day in Illinois, the talk around town is about the change that's coming.

“This is a turning point,” said Richard Porter, the national committeeman of the Illinois Republican Party. “Plus it's a rebirth of the two-party system in this state. So it's really a tremendous thing, it's exciting. So I think we're turning the corner. Onward and upward.”

Republican governor-elect Bruce Rauner will be sworn into office Monday morning, but celebrations were already underway Sunday night, with a reception at the Hilton Springfield, followed by a dinner at the state house, where hundreds of his most prominent supporters looked forward to the future Illinois.

“It makes me very happy that we now have a governor that can compete with the governors of Indiana and Wisconsin in attracting huge new employers and the income that they bring to our state,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois).

Before that can happen though, they say Rauner has some work to do on the state's economy.

“To solve the fiscal crisis,” said Porter. “I mean it's a serious situation.”

But they believe he has the right background to make the fix.

“He has experience in the private sector and can successfully use that in the public sector as well,” said Prahith Chakka, a Rauner supporter who traveled from Naperville to Springfield for the inauguration events.

“Bruce Rauner, being a former investment banker, is going to look at the state deal by deal, adding new employers,” said Kirk. “And we'll be able to grade him very easily in the coming years.”

Whether Rauner will ace this text remains to be seen.
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