Over the weekend Gubernatorial Candidate Bruce Rauner toured the state institution in
Centralia, Murray and stated that he, “promised to keep the facility open if he wins the
Governor’s mansion in November.” Well, all I can say is we have a lot of work to do with
all candidates running for office in November because state institutions have become an
Candidates need to know the facts from UCP’s “The Case for Inclusion 2014:”
There are now 14 states without state institutions
Another 11 states have only one state institution
Since 1960, 219 (10 more in the past year alone) of 354 state institutions have
Another 16 state institutions are scheduled to close through 2015
Illinois remains a very institutional state with seven state institutions only behind in
institutional population by California, Texas and New Jersey.
A recent UIC Study indicated that 89% of the families whose loved ones moved out of
the Jacksonville Developmental Center now support community living.
It costs taxpayers $240,000 to segregate the individuals living at the state institution in
The Arc intends to meet with candidate Rauner and other candidates running for office
in November. I encourage you to host legislative forums in your area and make the
closing of state institutions an issue along with inclusive schooling and Employment First.
Today, I am back in Chicago honored to be invited by the Chicago Community Trust for a
breakfast meeting with business leaders and other community advocates on Employment
First. I then meet with Ligas Court Monitor Tony Records.
Friday’s meeting with Secretary Saddler and Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas went very
well. The meeting agenda included employment, community living and the importance of
“Rebalancing” the disability system.
Two stories follow on Candidate Rauner’s tour of the state institution in Centralia.
Murray President Winkeler and Candidate Rauner Saturday
CENTRALIA, Ill. (AP) — Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner said Saturday
he supports keeping open a center for people with developmental disabilities in Centralia
that his opponent is trying to close.
The Winnetka businessman, who faces Gov. Pat Quinn in the November election, met
with relatives of residents at the Murray Developmental Center and told them they should
have a choice in their family members’ care.
Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has supported closing some state-run institutions, including
the Murray Developmental Center, and transferring disabled residents into community-
based care as part of a strategy to save money and improve the quality of care for
residents.Rauner’s campaign issued a statement Saturday claiming Quinn decided to close
Murray Center “without ever visiting the facility.”
“It is irresponsible to close Murray Center unless we can make absolutely certain that the
most vulnerable residents are being cared for in an environment that is as good as — or
better than — Murray Center,” Rauner said in the statement. “Right now, Murray Center is
the best option for these families.”
Quinn’s campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko called Rauner’s visit and announcement
“This guy will say anything depending on his audience, and now is playing politics with the
quality of people’s lives,” Miltko said. “Today, Rauner showed a complete lack of care or
understanding that people with disabilities deserve the choice to live more independently.”
Murray was scheduled for closure last year. But some parents of developmentally disabled
adults are waging a court battle to keep open the center, which serves about 250 residents.
Those parents involved in the legal challenge don’t represent all families of the
developmentally disabled, said Tony Paulauski, executive director of the Arc of Illinois, an
advocacy group for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. He said most
families support closing “antiquated state facilities.”
“Young families I meet with, the last thing they want is to have a son or daughter in an
institution,” Paulauski said.
Paulauski said the quality of life is better in small community living arrangements such as
group homes, which can provide personalized care.
Rauner Promises to Keep Murray Center Open
By Rob Sussman, WJBD News
In front of a large crowd of Centralians gathered at Centralia City Hall, Republican
Gubernatorial Candidate and Winnetka Businessman Bruce Rauner pledged his support
for the Murray Center, and promised to keep the facility open if he wins the Governor’s
mansion in November.
“I love Illinois. I was born and raised here. I raised my children here, and I built businesses
here. I never want my kids to have to leave to find a better life, and I don’t want your kids to
be forced out of a facility that they need. I am absolutely keeping Murray Center open”
Rauner said to overwhelming applause.
Rauner took a tour of the Murray Center facility prior to the meeting with Lebanon State
Senator Kyle McCarter and Okawville State Representative Charlie Meier. Rauner says that
the people he met and the efforts of the staff surpassed his expectations for a state run
“I was stunned how wonderful the place is” said Rauner, “State Government usually doesn’t
do too much well, but this is a place that was warm, embracing, and encouraging… I wish all
facilities connected to our state government were so wonderful.”
Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby was in attendance and said that the residents at the Murray
Center are citizens of the city that need protection.
“We got this news over two years ago, and it struck this area very hard, because of the fear
and what it would cost to us…but more importantly, it was about the 260 citizens out there.
With the Murray Parents Association and the people of Centralia, we’ve been able to fight this”
said Ashby. Rauner attended a large fundraiser at Centralia’s Arizona Joes bar after the
meeting, and made an undisclosed donation to the Murray Parents Association. Murray
Parents Association President Rita Winkeler says that Murray Center supports have all the
facts about the election.
“The Murray Parents Association is not allowed to endorse any political candidate, but we do
want to get out what each candidate stands for. We asked Mr. Rauner, and we also asked
Governor Quinn to come down many, many times, and [Quinn] has never done that” said
The fundraiser saw performances by Drew Baldridge, Doc Holliday, and Bad Weather. All
three acts donated their time to the fundraiser.