Kennedy heir an early entrant to governor's race in IL

CHICAGO-Democrat Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Sen.

Democratic businessman Chris Kennedy released a video announcement Wednesday.

"Today I am announcing my run for governor because I love Illinois", Kennedy said in a statement. In a campaign video announcing his candidacy for 2018, he takes a swipe at a state government headed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

He also managed the Merchandise Mart, a landmark Chicago exhibition hall, and now oversees Wolf Point, a real estate development project in the city's downtown. "By working together to achieve results for IL families, I believe we can restore the American Dream in our state within a generation".

But he also indirectly criticized the Republican governor, who has locked horns with the Democrat-controlled state legislature and is stuck in a historic stalemate that has left the state without a budget for some 19 months. Pat Quinn appointed Kennedy chairman of the board of trustees for the University of IL, a day after the death of Kennedy's uncle, MA U.S. Sen.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, who leads Illinois's Democratic Party, said after the remarks last July that Kennedy would make "an excellent candidate".

That drew an attack from the Illinois GOP, which has worked to link any potential rivals to Madigan, Rauner's staunchest opponent at the Illinois Capitol.

"We need a governor who will fight for reform, not another Mike Madigan-first politician", said party spokesman Steven Yaffe.

Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar has also filed paperwork to enter the governor's race.

The former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, Kennedy founded and now leads Top Box Foods, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable, healthy food to Chicago neighborhoods.

"Mike Madigan has already endorsed Chris Kennedy's run because he knows that Kennedy will never stand up to him". At U of I, Kennedy oversaw a $5.5 billion budget, 78,000 students and more than 23,000 faculty and staff.