Closing state facilities is sometimes the right thing to do, says state treasurer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford. It's usually the wrong thing to do, he says, when no long-range plan exists to support it. Springing an announcement of a closing during, say, a State of the State message is a clue there’s no plan.
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“Do you want to sell (such-and-such a facility) to the federal government? OK, let’s plan it,” he says, rhetorically. “Do you want to use it for something else? Let’s plan it. That’s what causes me to be here and make it very clear: when I'm the governor of Illinois, it is this type of thinking – a business thinks through what they’re going to do with a factory.”
Some of the examples of mishandled closures he gave – prisons at Vandalia and Sheridan, and the Zeller Mental Health Center in Peoria – date to previous governors, but Rutherford says going back that far for his campaign points is no problem.
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