State Republican urges bipartisan compromise, support for budget


Paige Leskin/Daily Senior Staffer

State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) speaks Monday to the Republican Club of Evanston. The Senate minority leader emphasized working across party lines to improve the state’s future.

Paige Leskin, Managing Editor

Illinois politicians on both sides of the aisle must compromise to lift the state from the “dire shape” it’s in, the top Republican in the state Senate said Monday in Evanston.

Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) updated the Republican Club of Evanston on key legislation and matters the General Assembly is working on in Springfield. She broke down the changes Gov. Bruce Rauner has implemented since he was elected in November to help mitigate the state’s problems.

“Obviously a lot’s changed since the election,” Radogno said at The Mather, 425 Davis St. “Everyone agrees that we have to do something difficult.”

As part of the new state budget, the governor has proposed cutting funding for resources in order to help the state in its financial crisis. These savings are being made from areas of the budget that can afford to be trimmed down, like Medicaid and pensions, Radogno said.

Radogno warned the cuts could hurt people and would seem “terrible” at first. However, the senator said, they are needed to prevent more taxpayers from leaving the state.

With a Republican in the governor’s office and a Democratic majority in the state legislature, Illinois has a bipartisan government for the first time in many years. Instead of this resulting in a standstill, Radogno said she hopes the state’s urgent concerns will force politicians to work together and find solutions.

“It’s a slow climb out of the hole,” she said. “But the silver lining … is it’s additional leverage to get people to the table.”

Don Schollenberger, the president of the Republican Club of Evanston, commended the senator for coming to Evanston and speaking about important pieces of legislation. It’s important for the city’s Republicans, he said, to be informed about the financial status of the state.

“Everybody here is looking for answers,” Schollenberger said.

Radogno also took the opportunity Monday to voice her support for the controversial PARCC testing in schools and discouraged parents from opting their children out of the state-mandated assessments.

“We need a nation standard to be competitive in the economy,” Radogno said.

Radogno has served as the Senate minority leader since 2009 and is also the first female leader of a political party in the state’s Senate.

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