Edwardsville mayor, Senate candidate defends Rauner's abortion decision – to a point
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton doesn't agree with other state conservatives calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to give up on his re-election bid because he enacted legislation to force taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions in Illinois.
“I don’t think he should step down for this," Patton told the Metro East Sun. “I don’t know the ramifications of what he was dealing with in Springfield and what the pressures were. I personally would have opposed it."
Patton is running to replace Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) in the 56th District. Haine is retiring.
Patton said it's important to understand that political decisions are rarely black and white. The law that Rauner enacted, which provides for Medicaid and state insurance coverage for abortions for any reason until the last day of pregnancy, has upset much of his base, and Patton said he must have had his reasons for approving it.
"There are a lot of things that can be controversial, and again the details of why he makes those decisions or why he decided to sign that bill, I would like more details from him," he said. “I don’t know the ins and outs of what he was dealing with in Springfield, what forces he had placed on him to make that decision, but the people around my area are very upset about it.”
He added that it was time to move past the controversy and look toward the future.
“Hopefully, I can get in there and meet with people of like mind and say, ‘This isn’t someplace where we want to see our tax dollars going,'" Patton said.
U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), John Shimkus (R-Collinsville), Randy Hultgren (R-Winfield), Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), Adam Kinzinger (R-Cannahon), Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) and Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) signed a statement urging Rauner not to sign the bill. They also voted for House Resolution 36, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would restrict abortions after 20 weeks.
The 56th District covers O’Fallon, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Wood River, Alton and Godfrey.