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Governor candidates’ views on Obama library evolve

CHICAGO (AP) _ The candidates for Illinois governor have evolving views on who should pay for a potential presidential library in President Barack Obama’s home state, but both Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner say private funding should be a main source.

Quinn and Rauner _ matched up in one of the nation’s tightest governor’s races _ detailed their thoughts in candidate questionnaires from The Associated Press. Quinn said private funding should ”make up the majority” of funding and Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist, added that he’d personally contribute to it.

Here’s a look at where the candidates stand ahead of Obama’s visit to Chicago, which includes campaigning for Quinn on Thursday:


Talk of an Obama library in Illinois has translated into the promise of jobs and tourism. Supporters point to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, which remains among Illinois’ most popular tourist sites. Millions have visited the facility since it fully opened in 2005.

Earlier this year Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan proposed offering $100 million in tax dollars to lure the library to Illinois. But Republicans opposed it, saying it could be a dangerous precedent. The matter was never called for a final vote.

Still, during the gubernatorial primary, several GOP candidates said they’d like an Obama library in Illinois. They were quick to note, however, that support for it wasn’t an endorsement of Obama.

Heading into November, no gubernatorial candidate has made the library a major issue and neither has gone public with a preferred location. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel _ a Democrat who also is personal friends with Rauner _ has said he’d like to see the library on Chicago’s South Side, where he believes it would spur development and jobs.


Both Rauner and Quinn have shifted their stances on the library funding.

During the primary, Rauner of Winnetka, said he didn’t have a view on public funding toward the library. Several months later, the businessman told the AP it was a good move for Illinois and he’d even chip in a donation. Last month, Rauner _ who has poured millions into his own campaign _ invested $1 million in a credit union helping small African American businesses.

”I support having the Obama library in Illinois, think it would be good for tourism and would personally contribute to it,” he wrote. ”That said, all the other libraries are privately funded, and I don’t see why the Obama library should be different in that regard, especially when we have so many other pressing needs …”

After Madigan’s proposal surfaced, Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, put his support behind it. Later, he said he’d like to see private money factor in.

”Private funds should make up the majority of this investment,” Quinn told AP. ”The Barack Obama Presidential Library is an important investment that will pay tremendous dividends, creating jobs, economic growth and attracting increasing tourism.”


The Barack Obama Foundation is developing and raising money for the project. Several Chicago sites wanted the facility. The short list announced last month includes the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Chicago, where Obama taught, along with the University of Hawaii, in Obama’s birthplace Honolulu and New York’s Columbia University. The in four institutions have until December to submit proposals with detailed plans.


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