Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday held the first of what he called regular Facebook Live chats — answering eight previewed questions while Facebook users visually reflected their live reactions via emoticons.
As Rauner answered a question about pension reform, some users pressed an angry face emoticon, while others chose the thumbs up or love symbol. As he talked about being “cautiously optimistic” that a full-year budget could be reached by end of year, many pressed the thumbs up symbol or the “wow” face.
The eight questions Rauner took, selected by his staff prior to the chat from both Facebook and Twitter, included questions about the budget, term limits and lowering property taxes.
It’s a new world for Rauner to try to grasp, and another way to try to engage with Illinois constituents: “Welcome to our first ever Facebook Live. This is going to be fun and interesting. I haven’t done this before,” the Republican governor said while sitting in his Capitol office.
But if the platform was new to the Republican governor, the message was not.
Rauner brought up term limits twice. It’s a Turnaround Agenda effort he’s been pushing, along with redistricting, since even before he took office. The governor’s push is largely seen as a way to oust longtime elected officials, including Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
“Nothing would change the performance and culture in our state government faster than term limits, also redistricting reform. Both will change the culture immediately,” Rauner said. “If the General Assembly would put those in the ballot for you to vote up or down in 2018 they would take effect a few years after that. But immediately right today many elected officials would look and see ‘Wow, the game’s kind of over. The games of manipulation. The power of incumbency. The power of special interest money locking people into office for 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. The game’s up. It’s over.'”
Rauner on Facebook said changing term limits would get longtime elected officials to retire or resign because they’d see “the people of Illinois stood up and said no.”
At its peak, Rauner’s 25-minute live chat had about 620 viewers. An hour after, it already had 6,000 views on Facebook, where users could re-watch the session. And #raunerlive became a trending topic in Chicago on Twitter.
There was both support and disdain in both Facebook comments and tweets about the chat.
— SEIU HCIIMK (@SEIUhciimk) September 20, 2016
From Facebook user Ron Anderson: “Just stick to your guns….your ideas for our State are THE answer!! Term limits HAS to happen!! Just keep doing what you’re doing. And THANKS!!”