Full transcript: Jeanne Ives interview

The GOP candidate is challenging Governor Rauner

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) -- The following is a transcript of Republican primary gubernatorial candidate Rep. Jeanne Ives' remarks made on Tuesday during an interview with WCIA Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Maxwell: 


Reporter: Virginia McCaskey is hosting an event for you?

Rep. Jeanne Ives: Isn’t that awesome?

Reporter: Go Bears.

Rep. Ives: I know. Yeah.

Reporter: Comcast is donating to you. Facebook. These are some big names. Why do you think you’re attracting so much attention from these donors?

Rep. Ives: Well, Virginia McCaskey, she’s obviously a very big pro-life supporter. She saw potential in my campaign, and wow. Lovely lady. Happy to have her on board with our campaign. You know, Bruce Rauner actually disappointed a bunch of his base by signing taxpayer funding of abortion. [It’s] one of the most extreme bills in the United States and the only time that a governor has had that happen via legislation. So we’re happy to have the support of Virginia McCaskey and everyone else.

Reporter: Speaking of ladies, you’re the only lady in this race.

Rep. Ives: That’s right. And I’m the only veteran as well. And I’m very proud of that as well. So we think we’re the party of diversity quite frankly. I have an incredible staff that’s full of all sorts of people who are just as diverse, so we’re very excited about it.

Reporter: Isn’t it interesting that abortion is a women’s issue, and you’re the only woman in this race, and yet that’s what drew you into this race?

Rep. Ives: Well, that’s not the only thing.

Reporter: Okay, correct the record.

Rep. Ives: No. Obviously not. That was the tripping point for most everyone else who is a Republican. First of all, that goes against our party platform. Second of all, nobody starts a brand new entitlement program when state is broke. We are a fiscal basket case. Nobody should have started a new entitlement program. So, that was the trigger for a lot of my supporters to look for somebody else, to look for alternative to Bruce Rauner. But certainly, for me, it wasn't the only reason I am in this race. Obviously, he has had a pattern of really bad legislation that he has signed onto. He bailed out large public utility companies, he bailed out the Chicago public schools on the backs of taxpayers statewide, he's had attacks on crisis pregnancy centers, he signed sanctuary state legislation.

Reporter: So if you were governor, you would not have signed the school funding bill that came across his desk? Either version?

Rep. Ives: I would not have signed that bill. I was adamantly opposed to that bill. I was one of eight Republicans who voted against that bill. It is a horrible bill. What is the worst thing about the bill? We, once again, made a promise that we cannot keep. It is unsustainable the amount of spending that they want to go through that funding formula. We can't do it. So there are better ways to actually help those of the school districts that really needed additional state support. This is a huge bureaucratic nightmare. It was a bill written by bureaucrats for bureaucrats. It had no emphasis on outcomes for students. It had no emphasis in protection for taxpayers.

Reporter: Numbers USA is a group that associates with Restore Our Constitution. Are you familiar with them?

Rep. Ives: I really don’t know them. No, I don’t. I’m not familiar with them.

Reporter: They have this conservative theory that too much legal immigration is bad for the economy. More libertarian thought, like from the Cato Institute, they say legal immigration is very good because it brings people with a strong back and a willingness to use it. What do you believe on this? You mentioned sanctuary state provisions that Governor Rauner signed. Do you think legal immigration is good for the economy?

Rep. Ives: I believe legal immigration is good for the economy. Yes, I do. Legal immigration is a benefit. Why would anybody want our laws wantonly disregarded in any way? That doesn't make any sense at all. What other federal law should we just disregard like that? I mean, give me the list. I don't know. But for the state to actually say that it's okay to abide by some federal laws and not abide by others is just a ridiculous proposition. When I talked to my own state’s attorney about this, he essentially said about that bill that it actually destroys the spirit of cooperation that you should have between local and federal law enforcement. I'm going with the experts. I'm going to pay attention to what they say because they have to deal with the law in place.

Reporter: A lot of expert law enforcement groups though did support the revised version of this SB31, the "sanctuary state" bill, because it took away a lot of the more extreme...

Rep. Ives: Yes, I understand.

Reporter: So there are experts on both sides of this at this point. When you talk to constitutional lawyers...

Rep. Ives: Yes, I understand. DuPage county has actually led in the area of many of the... justice quite frankly. They are a big player in terms of where best practices are considered when it comes to how you run a state’s attorney’s office correctly, what law should or should not do in terms of offenders, and so I am going to trust my own state’s attorney.

[brief pause to silence a ringing phone]

Reporter: What would be different about the Illinois economy today if you were governor?

Rep. Ives: We would actually hyper focus on jobs. We would find a way to incentivize employers to pick up those who are unemployed and at the same time help those that are unemployed to motivate them to actually get a certificate and get a job. I actually firmly believe, and I know, that we have great paying jobs that are at our fingertips but we have not hyper focused on aligning those that are on employed with the proper training and the degrees to hold the jobs and then incentivizing the employers to pick them up.

Reporter: What kind of incentive are you talking about? Are you talking about a tax break for someone who hires the long-term unemployed? How does that look in legislative form?

Rep. Ives: I think that's a great idea. I think we have given out a bunch of EDGE credits to large corporations that in the past have not worked out and we have left behind the small business owners from that type of conversation when they are the ones who predominantly employ most of the people. So you have to incentivize them in one way, plus you have to motivate those who are unemployed to actually pick up a new skill set and to get to a job and be there on time and make it happen.

Reporter: Manufacturing is a big talking point...

Rep. Ives: Yes.

Reporter: ...especially here in Decatur. But, there are also some who are more forward-looking who look at the economy and say, ‘you know what, I've got tough, hard news for you. Manufacturing is not coming back like it was in the 90s. We are going in a new direction. The age of technology, automation, things are changing.’ Where do you fit in that view of the economy? Can we actually revive manufacturing again?

Rep. Ives: Absolutely we can. There's manufacturing jobs that are happening every year. Unfortunately, the manufacturing jobs are not in Illinois. They are moving over to Michigan and Indiana and Missouri. I have friends who own companies and they said, 'Look, we are opening up a new plant, it's a manufacturing plant, but we're heading to Kentucky and not Illinois. We're heading to Wisconsin.'

Reporter: Is that because of right to work?

Rep. Ives: Partially, it is because of right to work. It is also all of the red tape and regulation and worker's comp rates and the property tax rate and the overall tax burden that they find in the state of Illinois. We have not been competitive in business. So part of it is that we are just not competitive anymore. So, we have got to figure that out, right? The other part of it is that manufacturing has changed. There is no doubt. We have to train and tool for the right manufacturing. But I talk to the [Illinois] Manufacturers Association all the time. They know that those jobs are available. Additionally, as like with another workforce, the workforce we have now is getting older. Well, you still need workers to replenish those jobs. So those jobs are available. I am trying to remember the statistic, but I believe IMA told me not that long ago, but in the next 10 years there is going to be 300,000 manufacturing jobs available because their workforce is aging out in Illinois. That is a lot of jobs. We have to fit the people to the job in Illinois. Those are great paying jobs by the way. Manufacturing jobs, we're talking $80,000+ with total compensation. Total compensation, that includes healthcare and retirement. That's a decent job.

Reporter: Are you 100% in on this governor's race, or is there any chance that you still might fall back on your seat in the house?

Rep. Ives: I'm in on this governor's race.

Reporter: 100%?

Rep. Ives: Yes, I mean I'm in on this governor's race.

Reporter: I have to ask you about an event that was hosted by this same group, headlined by David Barton. Do you know him?

Rep. Ives: To my knowledge, I have never met him.

Reporter: He headlined the last event here. He made some rather unusual comments. He thought that AIDS was a rightful punishment...

Rep. Ives: [interjects] Well, if you were going to ask me to comment on somebody else's comment when I don't even know them and I don't know the context, I am not going to comment.

Reporter: It was this same event at this very format with the same audience.

Rep. Ives: I'm not going to comment on it. Okay, I'm not going to comment. Because I'm not going to ask you about someone else's comment when I don't even know what's going on.

Reporter: Then I will ask you about your comments.

Rep. Ives: If you want to talk about the Illinois economy, I am happy to talk about the Illinois economy.

Reporter: I just did. We just talked about the Illinois economy.

Rep. Ives: Okay, great. What's next?

Reporter: It's important. You're running for governor.

Rep. Ives: What about public corruption? Let's talk about public corruption. Because it is an everyday event in the state of Illinois.

Reporter: Why did you just change the subject? This is a very important subject to thousands of people in Illinois.

Rep. Ives: What’s important?

Reporter: He said AIDS was God's rightful judgment on the gay community.

Rep. Ives: I'm not going to comment on somebody else's comment. It's ridiculous.

Reporter: Okay, then what about your comments on this topic.

Rep. Ives: Why would we... You want to.. you're like Bruce Rauner. The guy who didn't have a social ended up only having a social agenda.

Reporter: Excuse me?

Rep. Ives: Well it seems like you're entire topic is to talk about a social agenda.

Reporter: We just spent ten minutes talking about the economy.

Rep. Ives: And that's what's important to families in the state of Illinois.

Reporter: Are you refusing to answer a question to clarify your own comments in the past about the legitimacy of gay marriage?

Rep. Ives: No, I thought you were going to ask about somebody else's comment.

Reporter: I was going to ask you about David Barton. But if you become governor, there is a large part of the population that cares deeply about this. They will want to know where you stand. Would you protect the rights given to the LGBT community?

Rep. Ives: Okay, so what specific rights do they have that are different than any other American? We all are governed by the same constitution. We all have the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,

Reporter: Does that include marriage?

Rep. Ives (continues): speech, second amendment, fourth amendment protections...

Reporter: To marriage?

Rep. Ives: There is nothing that I know of that are called rights that are not specific to any individual. The federal government has weighed in on marriage equality. That is federal law. I am a rule follower. So federal law, like I said when it comes to legal immigration, we are going to follow federal law in the state, regardless of what the law is. That's my position.


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