Bruce Rauner has been sworn in as Illinois' 42nd governor.
The Republican businessman took the oath of office Monday during an inaugural ceremony in Springfield. He is the first Republican to lead the state in more than a decade. During his inaugural address Rauner said: "Illinois is a state that truly embodies all that is great about America. Since the days of Lincoln, we have stood as a beacon of freedom and justice.
Now let us embrace all that is wonderful about Illinois, the reasons we love it: our culture of hard work and responsibility, grounded, solid values, diversity, civic commitment and generosity – and harness it so that our next century is one of prosperity.
We can do that if we work together, just as a family does when it faces tough times."
As Illinois' new governor, Rauner says he's ordering state agencies to freeze non-essential spending. He says his first official act as governor will be to take ``immediate, decisive action'' on the state's budget problems. Rauner also says he's asking state agencies to review all contracts signed since Nov. 1. The wealthy businessman is also cutting his own salary to $1 and declining any benefits. Rauner is the first Republican governor to lead Illinois in more than a decade. He faces a Democratic-controlled Legislature and a multibillion-dollar budget hole. Rauner says lawmakers' history of spending money the state doesn't have has made Illinois less competitive. He says he'll issue executive orders Tuesday to strengthen ethics in the executive branch.
Rauner's inaugural festivities kicked off Saturday with a dinner at the Capitol. He and his wife will greet people during an afternoon open house at the Old State Capitol. On Monday night country singer Toby Keith and bluesman Buddy Guy will headline an inaugural concert. Rauner is a private equity investor who has never before held public office.
Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says Illinois is on the verge of a "major transformation.''Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says Illinois is on the verge of a "major transformation.''
The Republican gave brief remarks and thanked attendees of a $1,000-a-plate dinner at the Capitol on Sunday night, the eve of his inauguration.
He says his administration will work hard to create an environment where businesses will flourish.
About 800 people attended the event, including both Democratic and Republican elected officials.
Among the attendees were: former U.S. Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, several Illinois congressmen and state lawmakers, and Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, who offered a blessing.
Tables for the dinner were set up outside the office that will be Rauner's after his swearing in on Monday.
The event followed a cocktail reception at a nearby hotel.