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Rauner spends part of final weekend of campaign in southern Illinois

  • Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, with Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, speaks at a Harrisburg rally on Friday night.

    Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, with Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, speaks at a Harrisburg rally on Friday night.

By Travis DeNeal
updated: 11/4/2018 1:38 PM

HARRISBURG -- Gov. Bruce Rauner spent the final Friday night and Saturday before Tuesday's election in southern Illinois, arguing that making the state more business-friendly will improve economic conditions throughout Illinois, especially here.

Rauner, traveling with Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, visited the Saline County Republican headquarters in Harrisburg Friday night. He said the foundation for an improved southern Illinois economy exists, and said bringing a state of the art port to Cairo would help tremendously.

We should be booming economically," Rauner said. "We've got such great people here. We've got some of the (nation's) most productive workforce here in southern Illinois. It's a great location in the center of the country, a great highway system and we've got the river system here."

The reason it isn't, he said is high taxes and too much regulations, or red tape, standing in the way of business.

Rauner and Sanguinetti are running for re-election against Democratic businessman J.B. Pritzker and his running mate Julia Stratton, a state representative. A Conservative Party candidate, William McCann and a Libertarian candidate, Grayson "Kash" Jackson are also on the ballot.

Rauner said the coal-rich region of southern Illinois had been hurt economically by former President Barack Obama's policies toward fossil fuels.

"There's been a war on coal, there's been a war on energy," Rauner said. "I'm very pro-energy, pro development, pro-every energy option for the people of Illinois."

Rauner said revitalizing Cairo with a state-of-the-art port is a positive step toward using the Mississippi and Ohio rivers that define the boundaries of southern Illinois to build the economy.

"I want to bring back the ports. I donated and helped lead the effort to try to build a major new port in Cairo," Rauner said.

Regulation of business makes Illinois less competitive with its geographical neighbors, Rauner said.

"I want to make sure we reduce the regulatory burden on our businesses so we're competitive with Indiana and the states around us and bring more jobs here to southern Illinois," he said.

Rauner said a group effort will help grow southern Illinois' economy.

"It's all about all of us here in southern Illinois coming together to grow the economy, and get higher wages through economic growth. We need to lower the taxes and get term limits on these politicians to end corruption," Rauner said.

"That's what's at stake. That's why we need not just everyone here in Saline County but everyone here in southern Illinois. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican."