Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Bill Daley, the fellow Democrat looking to unseat him, took the stage together Monday for the Rock Island County Democratic Party’s annual Salute to Labor Picnic in Hampton, Illinois.
Both Quinn and Daley are seeking the Democratic nod for governor in 2014. Quinn hopes to secure a second full term as governor, while Daley, who formerly served as President Obama’s chief of staff, is making his first run for public office.
Daley has been a vocal critic of Quinn, criticizing his “lack of leadership” on pension reform.
“Those people who’ve been in Springfield a long time, that’s all they know. They ought to not only get out and talk to people, but look at the results of some of their policies — or lack of policies — that have really hurt people,” said Daley.
Monday, Quinn responded to Daley’s claims and defended his decision to suspend legislators pay because they failed to get a pension reform bill to his desk.
“Yesterday, Mr. Daley said he thinks we shouldn’t have held up the pay. Well I think the taxpayers of Illinois think it should be held up until the job is done. That’s what Labor Day is all about — you don’t get paid unless you work,” said Quinn.
At Monday’s picnic, some local voters sympathized with Quinn.
“I know there’s a lot of resentment, but look what he was left with,” said Gilbert Sierra.
Most, though, said their vote will ultimately come down to jobs.
“We want to see more of the jobs be built union,” said Steve McFarland.
“Wages, benefits, and working conditions. We want our workers to be treated fairly and make a good living,” said Paul Miller.
Monday, Quinn told voters that jobs are his focus, too.
“Our state of Illinois has created more jobs than any other state in the Midwest, except maybe Michigan, since the recovery began,” said Quinn.
But Daley — who has said he is running because he doesn’t feel Quinn can beat a Republican challenge this time around — said Quinn’s actions aren’t enough.
“I think it’s time we make a big change in Springfield, because this isn’t working, unless you like high unemployment,” said Daley.
The democratic primary is set for March 18, 2014.