Candidate for governor Bruce Rauner told the 2014 IEA Representative Assembly that he wasn’t interested in anti-middle class schemes like so-called “right to work” laws.

Quinn also compared Rauner to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saying he wanted to bust unions.

“Limiting collective bargaining is not part of my agenda,” countered Rauner.

Yet, just like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch), once in office Rauner focused hard on attacking unions, insisting that what ails Illinois can be cured only by eliminating union influence. That’s what the “Illinois Turnaround Agenda” and  “empowerment zones”(right to work) are all about.

The governor’s defenders say the empowerment zones scheme simply, “…begins a conversation we need to have about Illinois’ future.”

Fine. Except, instead of a conversation we’ve been getting a monologue from a man seemingly obsessed with removing the primary obstacle protecting working people from those who would love to lower middle class wages and eliminate regulations that keep us safe.

Despite the constant stream of gubernatorial misinformation since Inauguration Day, we’ve seen, again and again, and again, that the governor’s idea to disempower unions is quite unpopular.

It’s time for the governor to listen.

A good place to start would be Ralph Martire, executive director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, who says he knows how the state can right itself within two years.

That’s just one smart person who’s given the state’s situation serious thought. There are more.

Sadly, Gov. Rauner hasn’t tired of his own voice.

Recently, the governor let it be known that he’d like to debate Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) about the “Turnaround Agenda.” It came as a surprise that the governor, who famously won’t take questions from the media, was willing to publicly defend his ideas against a supporter of unions.

Except he wasn’t.

Shortly after Smiddy said, “let’s debate” Rauner, through his spokesperson, revealed that the governor had chickened out declined.

There will be no debate, but Gov. Rauner looks forward to continuing to have spirited interchanges with Rep. Smiddy and other legislators in small and large groups about how to make Illinois more competitive and compassionate and get the most value for taxpayers. We appreciate Rep. Smiddy’s hunt for publicity and headlines.

Wow. Smiddy’s the one seeking publicity and headlines?

This from the guy who suggested the debate? The guy who sends out a news release every time a hamlet passes a symbolic resolution of support for his agenda?

Some say Gov. Rauner “is just doing what he said he would do before getting elected.”

But his RA statement above shows that’s not so. His agenda consists of exactly what he said was not part of his agenda.

And his agenda is a bad idea with little support.

The fact is, that Illinois is home to many smart people who have given our state’s problems a lot of thought.

Unlike the so-called “Illinois Turnaround Agenda,” their ideas won’t crush unions or decimate the middle-class.

But they could put Illinois back on the right track.

Isn’t that what candidate Rauner said he was going to focus on?

Isn’t that why you were elected, governor?