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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - American Justice System

Interview

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CROWLEY: Thank you. Governor Quinn let me -- I'm going to give you a chance to respond to Governor Perry on trying to get jobs out of Illinois and into Texas. But first, I do want to talk to you about the Zimmerman verdict. You have seen that in your state there are demonstrations in Chicago and perhaps elsewhere. This is also a city that's no stranger to gun violence. Is there a national implication to this verdict?

QUINN: Well, I think there is. It's a tragic episode. I agree with Trayvon Martin's father that his heart is broken. My heart is broken. And our faith is not broken, as Mr. Martin said. It's important that we really look at this stand your ground law. I don't think that's a good law. We don't have it in Illinois, and we don't want it. And I think also the idea of individuals with guns that are concealed that are told by the police not to do something, violating that police order, there's something really wrong when that happens. And I think lots and lots of people across our country feel that way.

CROWLEY: And a lot has been said, though, about the justice system and that it seems to many people sort of innately racially divided from whether someone is charged all the way through the verdict. Do you think that the American justice system is innately racist?

QUINN: Well, I sure hope not. The American way is colorblind. And you know, Dr. King 50 years ago on August 28th of 1963 talked about that goal of all of us to have a colorblind society and if our justice system needs improvement we must together, all of us, Americans, work together to straighten that out.

CROWLEY: And let me give you a chance to respond to Governor Perry. They have fewer regulations. It's a pretty business-friendly environment down there. It's kind of easy living. What is your response with him trying to draw business away from Chicago and elsewhere in the state?

QUINN: I believe in competition. You know, the Chicago Bulls can compete with anybody. So can the Chicago Blackhawks. We just won the Stanley Cup. We have in Illinois well-educated workers. We've been able to attract corporate headquarters from all over the world. We also have a higher minimum wage. We believe that we should fight hard to alleviate poverty. Texas has one of the worst poverty rates in the country. They also have a situation of industrial accidents that are just unacceptable. So we believe in worker safety laws. And there's quite a difference between Rick Perry and I. We both went to Iraq and Afghanistan four years ago. I was his roommate.

CROWLEY: Oh, my goodness.

QUINN: And for seven days I heard him talk -- I talk about -- I heard him talk about his favorite subject -- Rick Perry. So we have a good debate going. We have a completely different philosophy.

CROWLEY: You do indeed.

QUINN: But that's what America is all about.

CROWLEY: Friendly competition, sort of. Let me ask you about you and your state legislature. You have cut off the paychecks of your state lawmakers because they have not acted on your pension crisis. A lot of people have said this is showboating. Some have questioned whether it's legal. Can you keep this up? And for how long?

QUINN: Well, our Illinois constitution adopted by the voters in a referendum gives the governor the power, the line item veto power to reduce appropriations. Our budget year just began. And because our legislature has not put a pension reform bill on my desk, our pension liability is $100 billion. We've been working on this for several years. I finally said to the legislators, we're not going to give you your pay until we put a pension reform bill on my desk --

CROWLEY: You really are going to do that? Until they give you a pension reform bill, no salary, no paycheck?

QUINN: I've already done it. I suspended their pay on Wednesday. I also told the comptroller not to pay me. This is a major issue that we have to work together on. And you know, you shouldn't get paid unless you get the job done.

CROWLEY: OK. And just quickly, you're up for re-election next year. Your numbers look pretty grim. And in fact, you're going to be challenged probably by your own attorney general and by President Obama's former chief of staff. Are you in the re-election race no matter what?

QUINN: I'm running for re-election. Last time I ran in 2010 "The New York Times" gave me a 9 percent chance of winning and here I am. I know how to organize grassroots citizens.

CROWLEY: All right. Thank you so much, Governor Quinn, for coming in this morning. I appreciate your patience.

QUINN: OK. Thank you.

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