Chris Kennedy, former Board of Trustees chairman, to run for governor

Darin HammondFeb 10, 2017

Robert Kennedy says state government needs "fundamental change". Pat Quinn and left before Gov. Bruce Rauner took over.

A YouTube video accompanies Kennedy's announcement.

Kennedy, a resident of Kenilworth, a northern suburb, is the former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and is the founder of Top Box Foods, a non-profit organization that provides affordable, healthy food to Chicago neighborhoods. He was also on the board of trustees for the University of IL.

Rauner, a wealthy former venture capitalist, poured $50 million into his campaign coffers late a year ago, and gave almost as much to fellow Illinois Republicans in 2016.

He also managed the Merchandise Mart, a landmark Chicago exhibition hall, and now oversees Wolf Point, a real estate development project in the city's downtown.

"I have a vision for the future that restores the economy", Kennedy said.

Kennedy was interviewed on WGN Morning News Thursday, and anchor Robin Baumgarten asked him,"What do you say to people who say, here's another wealthy guy who's just going to throw money at the office". He was the longtime head of the Merchandise Mart until 2012. He is now involved in real estate development at the Wolf Point project in Chicago. "I believe in working with others, not telling them what to do". Rauner said he plans to seek re-election.

"All my life, I've worked with small businesses and some of the largest corporations as well, and I know how that economic chaos he's released on the state can be damaging to those companies", Kennedy said. "And I think it's fixable", Kennedy said in a Chicago Tribune article.

Democratic Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar also has announced he's running.

The poll, which was conducted between January 23 and January 29 and received 5,352 responses, asked respondents to select their preferred Democratic candidate to run for governor in 2018.

We have a tough task ahead: taking on a governor who has put IL in the worst shape it's been since I moved here thirty years ago. Businessman/investor Pritzker is the brother of Penny Pritzker, who served as Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama.

"The people of IL deserve to know whether potential gubernatorial candidates will be independent of Mike Madigan", Yaffee said. "I look forward to engaging in a spirited campaign focused on social justice, equity and providing a new deal for all of IL".

The Republican Party quickly attacked Kennedy, calling him a "lap dog" of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"Today I am announcing my run for governor because I love Illinois", Kennedy said in a statement. "We need to bring people together, and come up with a solution that works for everyone in every part of the state".

"Chris Kennedy is committed to the Madigan Agenda and tried to give Madigan even more power".

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