SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn chimed in on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial visit to Illinois’ capital city today, issuing a list of criticisms and complaints Monday about his embattled neighbor to the north.
Quinn, a Democrat, joined a growing number of opponents of Walker’s scheduled speech at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s annual lobbying day activities in Springfield.
The two-page missive distributed by a member of Quinn’s press staff hammered Walker, a Republican, on issues like taxes, job growth and budgeting.
“What can Scott Walker teach Illinois?” the memo noted. “Not much.”
Walker’s 10 a.m. speech at a downtown hotel is his latest national stop as he barnstorms toward a June 5 recall vote.
In the past week he has been in Oklahoma and Missouri. He also is expected to speak today at a fundraiser in Michigan.
A coalition of labor unions has organized a protest outside of the Springfield event to highlight Walker’s high-profile push last year to end collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers.
Other groups also are planning to protest his speech.
“Wisconsin was once the proud birthplace of progressivism,” said William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action Illinois. “Under Governor Walker, progress has been rolled back on job creation, health care access, environmental protection and women’s equality.”
The Springfield event was not organized to help Walker raise money for his recall fight.
“It’s not a fundraiser,” said Kim Clarke Maisch, director of the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which is coordinating Walker’s visit to the Land of Lincoln.
“We simply extended the invitation and he accepted,” added Chamber chief Doug Whitley.
Whitley said he is surprised at the outcry over Walker’s visit.
“I think they’ve overreacted,” said Whitley. “For us it’s just another speech.”