Governor-Elect Rauner hosts inaugural dinner in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Bruce Rauner will be sworn into office as Illinois' next governor on Monday in Springfield and Sunday night the governor-elect hosted a lavish $1,000-a-plate inaugural dinner.

Among those in attendance was Chicago's new archbishop Blase Cupich.

A cold, rainy night in Springfield belongs to Rauner, who will be sworn in as Illinois' 42nd governor on Monday morning.

The sometimes "high-spirited" dinner in the Capitol Rotunda cost as much as $25,000 a couple. The well-heeled donors, who paid the entire price for inaugural events, rode busses and walked through freezing rain to get inside.

"If it was 30-below-zero and snowing an inch an hour, it still would be well worth it," said Gary Rabine.

"We're very excited for him and wish him the best," said Cash Miller.

Before the party, the governor-elect made the rounds in Springfield, including a job fair at the Convention Center.

"I'm honored, I'm humbled, I'm privileged," Rauner said. "This is a privilege for me to go to work for every family in the state."

Earlier, the Rauners, with a net worth in the hundreds of millions, read a children's story at the Lincoln Presidential Museum, where they surprised visitors.

"He paid for the admissions of all the people who are here," said John Tibenski.

But experts wonder if the wealthy Republican can solve the state's fiscal crisis.

"There is no other state in the US in as bad a position as Illinois right now," said Laurence Msall, Chicago Civic Federation.

"I'm a governor who will lead and take some arrows because we've got some tough decisions to make," said Rauner.

Chicago's new archbishop Blase Cupich will deliver the inauguration invocation and like Rauner would not reveal what he will say.

"I have to use language that you're familiar with, stay tuned," Cupich said.

Five other statewide constitutional officers will also be sworn in Monday, including the newly appointed State Comptroller, Leslie Monger.


Before heading to Springfield Sunday, Rauner said he was feeling some butterflies.

"I have to admit I'm nervous, but I'm also very excited and honored and humbled," the governor-elect said.

Rauner and his wife, Diana, took part in a "day of service" at the Bradley Center in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood Sunday morning. He said he wants to make sure everyone in the state is focused on the needs of families who are suffering.

ABC7 Eyewitness News' coverage of Governor-Elect Rauner taking the oath of office will begin at 11:35 a.m. live Monday morning, right after a special edition of Windy City Live.

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