Gov. Bruce Rauner holds a press conference inside Club 81 Too in Hegewisch on July 5, 2017.
A key adviser to Gov. Bruce Rauner is leaving the administration, replaced by a leader of a high-profile conservative think tank, the governor’s office announced Monday.
Chief of Staff Richard Goldberg will be "transitioning back to foreign policy, national security and consulting following a three-year plus term as senior adviser" to Rauner, the governor’s office said in a statement. Goldberg’s replacement is Kristina Rasmussen, who was the president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.
The shakeup comes days after the Democrat-led General Assembly orchestrated a rebuke of the Republican governor when it overrode Rauner’s veto of a budget for Illinois government that includes tax hikes to pay for state spending. More than a dozen Republicans broke with the governor in the episode.
The Illinois Policy Institute from which Rasmussen hails is a Chicago-based think tank to which Rauner has donated at least $500,000 before he was governor. It has has been one of the most vocal critics of Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, particularly House Speaker Michael Madigan. And it was aggressively opposed to the budget plan that lawmakers enacted last week.
Goldberg was formerly a deputy chief of staff for then-U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk before joining the Rauner campaign, and then the governor’s administration. During his time in the governor’s office he developed a reputation as a confrontational advocate for Rauner’s agenda. Goldberg is a Navy Reserve intelligence officer and served in Afghanistan in 2011.
Rauner said in a statement that Goldberg is "one of the most talented policy, political and communications advisers I’ve ever met and I will be forever indebted to his faithful public service for the last three and a half years."
"I respect his decision to return to national security, foreign policy and consulting," Rauner said.
Previously, Rasmussen was director of government affairs for the National Taxpayers Union.