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HomeIllinois NewsRauner dismisses Chief of Staff Rasmussen, moves Left even more

Rauner dismisses Chief of Staff Rasmussen, moves Left even more



AR-150609073CHICAGO – Besieged Governor Bruce Rauner dismissed former Illinois Policy Institute vice president Kristina Rasmussen as his chief of staff Friday and moved to the Left with an establishment-friendly replacement. 

Former U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton will become his chief of staff effective Monday, Oct. 9. Heaton most recently served as the director of Public Safety and chairman of the Statewide Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

Rasmussen will remain on staff until Friday, Oct. 13 to help ensure a smooth transition.

The announcement follows an array of Governor Rauner actions that have been confusing and frustrating to Republican rank and file, as well as elected officials. 

State Rep. David McSweeney, a outspoken critic of Rauner, said Rasmussen leaving indicates the governor is moving further and further away from Republican basics and more and more to the Left.

"Kristina Rasmussen is a tenacious fiscal conservative leader with a very bright future," McSweeney said. "With her departure, it's clear that Bruce Rauner will move further to the left."

Earlier this week, after Rauner signed into law a measure that requires Illinois taxpayers to fund Medicaid abortions, McSweeney said Rauner was "a failed governor." 

But why Heaton and why not Rasmussen, who moved into the COS spot just weeks ago?

Heaton has served as public safety director and the governor’s Homeland Security adviser since January 2015. In these roles, he has worked extensively with members from all three branches of Illinois state government and is familiar with the workings of the Office of the Governor and the priorities that the governor has established.

“I’m excited to promote Rodger to be our team leader,” Rauner said. “His combination of legal, legislative and policy experience will help us build on the significant improvements that Kristina accomplished in a very compressed and challenging time.”

Heaton has had a 30-year career in law, litigation, law enforcement and policy. From 2005 to 2009, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, the chief federal law enforcement official for 46 counties. He also served on the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a body that advises the Attorney General on all policy matters related to the justice system.

The governor lauded the work of outgoing Chief of Staff Kristina Rasmussen, who is leaving the administration to pursue other interests.

“I brought Kristina on last summer because of her reputation as a foremost policy leader and organizational innovator,” the governor said. “I asked her to reinvigorate our staff and advance our goals in improving education, growing jobs, and protecting taxpayers … and she delivered on all fronts.

“Kristina built and organized a team that is enhancing our executive operations, making them more focused, more effective and better prepared to win a growth agenda for Illinois,” Rauner said. “I know she will be a great success in any endeavor she chooses in the future.”


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  1. North Cook Tea Party, in case you missed it, Kirk is no longer in office. He suckered a lot of the base into voting for him in 2010 and he used a lot of your type of groups to do it. Then what happened? He threw them under the bus. How did that turn out for him? Rauner’s disdain for the base will have the same result.
    The Tea Party can stand with whomever they choose. It doesn’t worry me; they don’t have a great track record of picking true conservatives here in Illinois anyway.

  2. Rauner is a grade-A goofball. I used to cringe when everyone said he was nothing but a RINO and Democrat in disguise. I was hoping he’d turn the tanker ship ‘Illinois’ in time to avoid the ice-burg. He’s nothing but a weak politician and disappointment.

  3. I am so disappointed at Bruce Rauner’s inability to crack the Madigan Machine. Furthermore, even though I strongly supported and campaigned for Governor Bruce Rauner, he has not turned out to be the pragmatic and strong leader many of us were hoping he would be.
    The question we now face in Illinois is what kind of Governor will Pritzer be, because Governor Bruce Rauner has no chance of being re-elected. President Trump supporters are not energized by Rauner and will not go out and vote….they will sit home.
    Unfortunately, the Republican Party in Illinois is completely leaderless and its spiral downward will continue. Electing a few more Republicans in the State Legislature will accomplish absolutely nothing, and the incentive to elect such Republicans will be non-existent.
    Bruce Rauner’s inability to energize the Republican Party and elect Republicans in our last election rested on the statewide decision by party elites to turn their backs on now President Trump. The Illinois “politically correct” Republican Elite Strategists have blundered into oblivion…even though the electorate screamed at them to open their eyes as to what was happening all around them. Every single state surrounding Illinois was won by President Trump.
    Right now Bruce Rauner has NO MESSAGE and NO FOLLOWING…he can hire and fire all the political experts he wants. He has forgotten that the real experts and power players right now are the ones who VOTE.
    I know of an issue that could potentially get him reelected with very strong Republican and Democrat support in one of the most populated northern regions in illinois…but I doubt if he will contact me, even though I strongly suggest that he do so.

  4. Joe, you did more than support and campaign for Rauner; you browbeat and demeaned anyone who dared to question Rauner, or you for that matter, during that election! You, Cattoni, Tucker, the Jarretts, and others in your circle worked hard to convince people to ignore their social convictions and vote for Rauner. As far as I am concerned, you and your Tea Party type friends helped facilitate Rauner in this whole mess!

  5. Chairman Mao, President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan and Governor Rauner have the same moral values.
    The founder of Planned Parenthood with the KKK went to Mexico to close Churches and Kill Christians.
    Adolf and Josef were both Atheists. Every leader of a Communist country was/is an Athiest.

  6. Joe good point. So, why is the supposed conservative campaign leaders, PACs and GOP-based political organizations with the money, power, political bully pulpit and media connections, PUBLIC INFLUNCE
    continue to push this type of candidate?

  7. Chase…no denying I supported Rauner, and I have no qualms at all about having supported him. I still might support and campaign for him under certain conditions. Furthermore, I would still vote for Rauner over Pritzker.
    My question still stands, “what have conservatives ever accomplished in Illinois other than elect liberal/progressive/socialist Democrats?”
    The proof is in the Legislature.
    Do you think there is ANY “conservative” in the Republican Party that can DEFEAT PRITZKER? Just asking…because Rauner will more than likely be a one term governor.
    The biggest reason that RAUNER WILL LOSE is because he refuses to support President Trump and he will not seek his help in Illinois. If he did change his attitude about Trump…his wife would probably divorce him.

  8. LOL JD…this whole mess existed before Rauner came in…that is why we campaigned our ass off for him.
    Politics is a contact and blood sport in certain areas…people that do not have the stomach to play under those rules…can remain under the heels of the Democrats.
    I don’t buy the holier than thou phony party principles that prevent some people to play hardball with the opposition Democrat Party. I am only willing to support and campaign for pragmatic LEADERS that have PLANS and IDEAS to solve the horrific problems in our state.
    BTW, since I got back into politics in March of 2010, by helping to elect future Congressman Joe Walsh…I have NEVER received ANY monies or favors from any candidate I have helped in their campaigns.
    Bruce Rauner’s biggest mistake was that he surrounded himself with wimpy politically correct type people that hampered his ability to play hardball.

  9. Joe – try to pay attention more than once every four years and you’d have the answer to your questions. Just scour the blog and find if I think there’s any conservative in Illinois that can be elected.

  10. You certainly are trying to pretend you were not head over heels in love with Rauner in 2013/2014. The posts are still there Joe. Just because you disappear for three years doesn’t mean your archives do so.

  11. It wasn’t Bruce Rauner’s mistake Joe. It was yours and your Republican friends. He was a life long Democrat, you knew he was a life long Democrat, and you still let him take over your party and welcomed him with hugs and kisses (the archives of Joe Chavez worshiping Rauner are still here).