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Bennett defends Champaign-Urbana from Rauner’s attacks

bennett 040218CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is condemning Governor Bruce Rauner’s baseless remarks against Champaign-Urbana.

During a radio interview in Chicago last Friday, Rauner criticized Champaign-Urbana’s workers and transportation systems.

“Champaign-Urbana is wonderful,” Rauner told WGN AM-720. “But it’s very hard to keep a company of more than six people there. There’s no convenient transportation, not much of a workforce, and it’s very hard.”

Bennett is surprised and disappointed in Governor Rauner’s claims against the workforce.

“I have personally been on a tour of the University of Illinois Research Park with Governor Rauner where we learned that the Research Park has 2,000 employees in high-tech fields and more than 100 companies in just one area of Champaign-Urbana. Then he talks about how ‘it’s hard to keep a company of more than six people there.’ That’s just outright dishonest, frankly. He knows what we have here.”

Recent reports also show that Champaign is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and is outperforming neighboring cities in employment and wage growth, according to data compiled by the state of Illinois.

“I think Champaign-Urbana offers the ideal setting for a public-private partnership,” Bennett said. “We have some of the best minds in the country here on the faculty at University of Illinois and we have some of the top students in the country and the world, so companies like Caterpillar, Anheuser-Busch or brand new start-ups can come here and find employees like our students who are just starting their careers and can bring their brain power and fresh new ideas.”

Bennett also said that the governor’s comments are harmful to the effort to attract more jobs into downstate communities and in Illinois.

“It’s so frustrating,” Bennett said. “As we try to attract jobs to Champaign-Urbana, to Danville, or to Rantoul from out of state, a simple Google search will tell you that our governor continues to be not our biggest cheerleader, which we need him to be, but instead he’s our biggest naysayer.”

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Higher Education; Labor; State Government; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.

Associated Representatives:
Carol Ammons
Michael T. Marron