SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Thousands of protesters greeted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in Springfield, Illinois Tuesday, April 17th. It was a campaign stop for Wisconsin's governor, and Walker said he went to Illinois to draw the contrast between his budget reforms and the opposite direction Illinois took in handling their budget.
Union protesters were on hand Tuesday as Walker spoke to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Over 4,000 protesters flooded the street outside the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield. The protesters said they were incensed that the Illinois Chamber of Commerce invited Wisconsin's lightning-rod Governor Scott Walker to speak. "It's a slap in the face to us," Aaron Kelsey said. "We're not going to let Mr. Walker come to Illinois and share the ideas that are really hurting everybody," Liam McDonnell said.
Walker has encouraged Illinois businesses to "escape to Wisconsin," to get away from Illinois politicians who raise taxes. "Why would you invite someone who is trying to take your economy? Why would you take jobs from Illinois, when you're so devastated anyway?" Diana Schott said.
Inside the hotel Tuesday morning, a friendlier crowd gave Walker a standing ovation. Walker gave a 30 minute speech to business and legislative leaders. "Not just the people outside, but the people who directed them to come outside - a handful of big government union bosses, not just in my state, but particularly in Washington, think I'm standing in the way of their power and their money," Walker said.
Walker explained his approach to budget reform, which includes cutting taxes, spending and regulations. "We did more than just tax cuts. We put into place a new system," Walker said. That system, Walker said, is more business-friendly than the one in place in Illinois. "It's not the government that creates jobs. It's people that create jobs," Walker said.
"He only cares about the CEOs, and that's not what makes the world go around, I'm sorry," Schott said.
Walker had another out-of-state campaign appearance Tuesday in Michigan. He said all the trips were paid for by his campaign, not his official office.