The Ford County community of Gibson City hosted the Republican candidates running for governor Saturday morning.
Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and R8 Partners Chairman Bruce Rauner discussed their platforms for governor. All four focused on Illinois' unemployment rate, which is ranked second worst in the nation.
Rutherford said his pick for lieutenant governor, Steve Kim, would take on the task of improving the unemployment rate.
Rutherford said his lieutenant governor will actually have a substantive role in the Rutherford administration. He said his lieutenant governor (Kim) will be in charge of the Office of Job Creation and Retention.
The candidates also talked about their fiscal policies, pointing out events that prove their commitment to conservative government. Rutherford said he has been fiscally conservative since day one at the State Treasurer's office.
"I said, 'go to every desk of the Illinois State Treasurers, and if no one is sitting there, I want you to disconnect the telephone.' We got rid of 14 percent of the telephone lines in the office of State Treasurer just because no one was sitting there," Rutherford said, "I didn't fix the state budget problem, but when I stand before you, I know that you do that in your home, church and business, government should do that too."
Brady criticized less conservative politicians, recalling a time when he served in the Statehouse with future President Barack Obama.
"I used to play poker with him, and I used to joke that if he was half as conservative with our tax dollars as he is with his own poker money, we'd be a lot better off," Brady said.
Brady ran for governor in 2010, losing to Gov. Pat Quinn. He said the reason Republicans didn't win the governor race last election is a lack of leadership.
"With your support, we won the primary [in 2010]," Brady said, "And with your support we won 98 counties in this state. And with your support, leading the ticket we picked up Illinois House and the Illinois Senate and Congress. We didn't have that great fortune in the last election because we didn't have someone who could bring our party together."
The winner of the Republican Primary will face off against Gov. Pat Quinn or Challenger Bill Daley.