FOX 32 NEWS - He the state's chief executive, but rarely talks publicly of the scandalous violence in Illinois’ biggest city: hit by 4,300 shootings and nearly 800 killings last year.
FOX 32: Do you agree it's a crisis, the shootings and killings in Chicago?
“It’s a massive tragedy. It’s just heartbreaking what's happening in many of our neighborhoods,” Rauner said.
FOX 32: Should you be dropping everything else and focusing on stopping the killing?
“Um, so the question is, "what's the answer?" Everybody's got different ideas,” Rauner said. “There’s a lack of economic opportunity. Young people don't see a future for themselves in so many of these neighborhoods. We have massively high unemployment. Massive unemployment in many neighborhoods in Chicago and around the state. And we have the worst-funded schools in low-income neighborhoods of any state in America. And I’m working to change those two facts, because that will have the long-term impact to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
The Republican governor said jobs generated by his economic reforms would do far more than new gun laws sought by some Chicago Democrats.
“We’re not lackin' gun regulation. What we're lackin' is economic opportunity. What we're lackin' is educational quality. That’s what I’m trying to fix for the long term. So the young people in every neighborhood have a better future,” Rauner said.
FOX 32: So, what have you done to stop the shootings and killings this year?
“Short term? What we've asked the state police to do is come, beef up their staffing in Chicago. Patrol the interstate freeways, which is under the purview of the state police, very aggressively, and work much more coordinated with the Chicago Police Department,” Rauner said.
A spokesman for the governor's political nemesis, House Speaker Mike Madigan, said Rauner's turnaround agenda, "would do nothing good." He said freezing property taxes, for example, would make it harder to pay for police and public safety.
The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene for a lame duck session next Monday and Tuesday. The new House and Senate will be sworn in at noon Wednesday.