Lt. Governor touts commitment to education

By Sam Beard, @SamBeard_DE

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti visited the university Thursday to endorse her office’s policies and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Sanguinetti, the first latina Lt. Gov. in the country, is the highest officer in the state besides Gov. Bruce Rauner. She said she supports his budget and admires his devotion to education. 

“I met Bruce Rauner and I found out about his belief in education reform and offering all children in the state of Illinois the same opportunity despite what their backgrounds are, what their parents make or where they come from. That’s why I decided to sign up,” Sanguinetti said. “I believe all children in Illinois deserve a world class education.”

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When asked if she support Rauner’s plan to cut funding to higher education by almost 33 percent, Sanguinetti did not directly answer the question.

“I support the governor’s turn-around agenda,” she said. 

If the governor gets his way, Illinois state universities would see an unprecedented $387 million slash in funding next year, resulting in a $62 million dollar reduction in the SIU system’s budget — setting state funding for the university back to level not seen since 1986. 

“With regard to education, I’m focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said. “This is great because in the S.T.E.M. fields, jobs are going to be available like crazy.”

Sanguinetti said more students should pick their major based on what what business owners want because Illinois employers have told her that the state’s graduates do not have the skills they desire.  

Without listing any specifics, she also said a common goal she and Rauner share is economic empowerment and helping those who need it most, like minorities and women.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute hosted the event. Director David Yepsen introduced Sanguinetti and said she made her way out of poverty to get where she is today.  

“Sanguinetti was born to teenage parents in Hialeah, a neighborhood outside of Miami,” Yepsen said. “Her mother was a Cuban refugee and her father, an Ecuadorian immigrant.”

Sam Beard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SamBeard_DE

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