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Governor's Day at Fair Features No Political Speeches
Wednesday was Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. Typically, that means a big rally on the director's lawn. But this year, the governor decided to do things a little differently.
Gov. Pat Quinn and many state leaders received a cool reception for their speeches at the 2012 Governor's Day Rally at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
This year, the governor was the only person to speak, and only to thank people for attending.
"I've always seen this afternoon event as a picnic," Quinn said. "A family picnic. We are all Democrats who are rallying because we want to have a good time and bring people together from all parts of Illinois."
Lawmakers we spoke to seemed okay with the new format.
"We had a great crowd today at the breakfast," Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill said. "We heard from candidates running from statewide office. I thought we had a great breakfast. This is a little different than what we've seen in the past but so far it's a good event, I think."
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton did not attend.
With recent in-fighting over pension and payroll, this might not bode well for the party in the next election.
"While it think the primaries are a good thing," Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign said. "People have an opportunity to put forward their qualifications, their vision for the state of Illinois. And the hope is that we come together as a party afterwards and focus on the things we have in common rather than divide us."
"I would suggest anyone who thinks the Democratic Party has disharmony and discord to hang out and watch the Republican Party," Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie said. "These guys are in much more disarray than we can ever be in."
But on this day, there weren't more than a handful of lawmakers on hand to stand together.
"Well, it's open to all our friends in the legislature that are Democrats," Quinn said. "But it's up to them if they want to come. I know some are sore about not getting their pay, but it's more important to get pension reform. I'm not taking my paycheck."
We also asked lawmakers at the rally about the veto of their salaries. Everyone we spoke to said they disagree with the move, and hope it will be resolved in court. But if not, they feel confident they have the votes to override Quinn's veto.