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Rauner rallies for “new day” in Illinois after saving 800 Exelon jobs

PORT BYRON, Illinois - Signs and cheers raise the roof inside Riverdale High's gym on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pumped up the crowd at a community celebration over the saving  of 800 Exelon jobs.

"It's a new day in Illinois," he said.  "We are going to compete for the jobs of America."

A tough, two-year process created the Future Energy Jobs Bill. Lawmakers broke through Illinois gridlock to save the Quad Cities Generating Station.

Bipartisan support was crucial for the landmark legislation.

"We now have a policy that will set the standard for excellence," said Exelon's Bill Stoermer.  "We're going to lead energy in the world."

The deal also saves the largest single property taxpayer in Rock Island County.

Faces in the crowd tell the story.  It's about a community.

"The families that were going to be affected by it - it's just tremendous that this bill passed," said Allen Cimock, a longtime Exelon staffer.

At Wednesday's bill-signing ceremony, there's a feeling that this accomplishment could spark more changes in Illinois.

"We look forward to working with you and continuing to bring business back to Illinois," said Exelon CEO Christopher Crane.  "Get Illinois back on its feet."

Gov. Rauner says it's a chance to reverse the flight of jobs from Illinois to other states and countries.

"I'm going to Mexico, Germany and Canada," he concluded.  "I'm going to bring those jobs right back here to the Quad Cities and right back here to the state of Illinois."

On Wednesday in Port Byron, a new day to celebrate saving jobs.