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Statehouse Insider: Did you watch the debate Monday? Gov. Bruce Rauner didn’t

From the Peoria Journal-Star: 

Monday’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton drew a Super Bowl-sized viewing audience.

OK, almost Super Bowl-sized. The NFL’s championship game draws about 100 million viewers. But the debate still drew an estimated 84 million, the largest in the history of televised presidential debates.

That audience did not include at least one notable person — Gov. Bruce Rauner. Asked the day after the debate if he had watched it, Rauner answered with a terse “I did not,” and that was the end of his availability to the media. He didn’t say what occupied his time instead. Maybe he was continuing to talk to all of those Democratic lawmakers who he says secretly support his positions.


Candidates’ trade talk not impressive

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association president and CEO Greg Baise wasn’t wowed by the debate, at least when it dwelt on the topic of trade.

“I’m disappointed in both candidates’ stand on trade,” Baise said.

Baise said repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement, as Trump wants to do, “absolutely could be devastating to the Illinois economy, both in agriculture and manufacturing.”

And Baise said there are positives to be gained from the Trans Pacific Partnership that Clinton opposes.

“That’s an important act for the country as well because it is building trade relationships in the southeast Asian sector especially,” he said. “If we don’t have those kind of trade agreements, where are those countries going to operate? They’re going to be lost to, I think, the Chinese.”

In conclusion, Baise said he’s “not terribly excited about either of them” when it comes to trade.


Another recession coming?

Baise held a news conference last week to outline the IMA’s legislative agenda for the upcoming veto session and beyond.

But he also was asked about the possibility of another recession, and he said there is cause for concern.

“I always say our members are canaries in a coal mine,” Baise said. “This is as tough a year in getting dues and membership to re-up. It sort of tells you what’s going on out there. It has lengthened out this year, and I think that in the manufacturing sector in Illinois, it is a very slow time right at the moment. We saw this occurring in ’07 before the recession really hit. In many ways, the small and medium-sized manufacturers sort of portend what’s going on. I would say there is a slowdown occurring.”

For the sake of the already cash-battered state, hopefully Baise is wrong.