- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - New GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his State of the State speech Wednesday, outlining a series of proposals for his first year in office including stripping power from labor unions, shrinking the size of government and increasing education funding.

Here’s a look at Democratic and Republican lawmakers’ reactions to his plans, as well as union and business leaders:

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago

“I’ve known Rauner before he decided to be a candidate for governor. He has a lot of strong views. And we saw a lot of those views in his speech today.

Those views, those issues will be before the legislature, and some will be (dealt with) favorably, some not favorably. I wouldn’t characterize anything as a non-starter. I agree with the governor that the state of Illinois needs a lot of work, a lot of attention, that there is a serious problem with fiscal issues in the state.”

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago

“Unfortunately, too much of the governor’s opportunity was squandered with campaign rhetoric that denigrates the reputation of the state. Illinois has made progress since the Great Recession. With each speech that Gov. Rauner delivers, I am reminded that the new governor has a lot to learn if he is to build on our successes in Medicaid reform, workers compensation, pension reform, cutting the bill backlog and meeting our obligations.”

GOP Leader Christine Radogno, Lemont

“It takes leadership from the top to get everyone to the table. The governor has the ability, because of the tools he has, to encourage people to compromise and put votes on things. I am very encouraged by the strength at which he seems to be coming out.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Western Springs

“When you have a strong governor in Illinois, it forces the issue and forces discussion.”

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook

“The thing I found most concerning was toward the end of the speech, when he talked about viewing his proposal as a package and not a list of individual items. …That doesn’t set out for me a willingness to negotiate, if he’s just expecting us to pass this package as a whole.”

State Rep. Mike Connolly, R-Naperville

“He’s accomplished so much in his life he’s challenging us to step up and make Illinois great again.

He’s a tall, long guy, the last time we had a tall long Republican from Illinois in charge was Abraham Lincoln and he challenged us too.”

State Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge

“Where the rubber hits the road is we need to see what his plans are to address the state’s financial challenges. A very specific plan.”

Kim Clarke Maisch, Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business

“Today, Gov. Rauner made good on his promise to pursue policy initiatives that are key to reducing the cost of doing business for Illinois’ small employers. We finally have a governor who is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with our state’s job creators and significantly address real worker’s compensation reform, unemployment tax fraud and legal reform.”

Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers

“Immediately upon taking office, Gov. Rauner proclaimed that Illinois was in worse financial shape than he originally thought. Our current state budget is unsustainable, but attacking the middle class with regressive, trickle-down policies that have failed miserably in other states is not the way to grow our economy.”

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