Kemp Foundation forum brings together business and political leaders

CHICAGO -- A forum on expanding opportunities came to Chicago Friday.

The Jack Kemp Foundation brought together business leaders as well as national and local political heavyweights. Republicans and Democrats.

The Ricketts family was influential in getting the forum to Chicago.

“It’s difficult to get people to come together and talk on a lot of these issues. I’m grateful for everybody who showed up,” said Jimmy Kemp, the foundation’s president.

House Speaker Paul Ryan stopped in. He talked about efforts in Congress to get money to needy communities.

“We’ve been working on an opportunity agenda, a poverty agenda for quite some time in Congress and it hasn’t gotten a great deal of attention, unfortunately,” he said. “There are trillions of dollars of unrealized capital gains that are out there that can be unlocked and reinvested in poor communities.”

Ryan said that the Internet has “weaponized” political polarization.

Governor Rauner was also on hand. Journalist Charles Thomas grilled him about the Turnaround Agenda he ran on four years ago.
Rauner blamed his nemesis House Speaker Michael Madigan for Illinois’ problems. And the governor called on every candidate for the House this year to pledge the following.

“We want every member of the General Assembly who is running for the House of Representatives — which controls the budget making process and the spending process — we’re asking them to sign a promise to you and all the people of Illinois. Sign a promise. Don’t just talk about it. Don’t pretend. Sign a promise right in front of a TV camera or in front of an editorial board,” Rauner said. “I promise to vote to put term limits on the ballot. … The second promise is I promise to vote for somebody, anybody, other than Mike Madigan to be Speaker after 35 years.”