ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Stateline roads are now back open following a campaign stop from Vice President Joe Biden. As Secret Service members swarm Rockfordr, so do hundreds of voters in support of three local candidates.
This is the first time since 1992 that a sitting Vice President came to Rockford for an event. The last time, Dan Quayle came to try and gain support for his candidacy, but this time, Joe Biden was trying to help out three other candidates.
By our count, about 500 people filled the IBEW Union Hall to hear from the Vice President who showed up about 54 minutes late.
While he was in the area to support congressional candidate Cheri Bustos and senate candidate Dick Durbin, it was pretty evident that the most important candidate he was backing was Governor Pat Quinn.
Quinn is in the tightest race of the three and he spoke far longer than either Bustos or Durbin on stage. He also introduced Joe Biden to the crowd.
"Because of this guy, a half a million more people have Medicaid. A half a million people. What do the Republicans do? They want to kick 21 million people off of Medicaid over the next 10 years. That's what their budget calls for,” said Vice President Biden.
Medicare was one of many issues that Biden brough up, specifically targeting middle class voters. He also spoke at great length about minimum wage, income inequality, and the need for better infrastructure in our country and Illinois.
New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie was just in Rockford last week, supporting Bruce Rauner.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Vice President Joe Biden is headlining an Early Vote Rally in Rockford on Monday.
It’s at the IBEW Hall Local #364 on Mill Road. The event is open to the public, but tickets are needed. Doors open at 12:30pm, the rally starts at 2:30pm.
Click the link to apply for free tickets: http://action.cheribustos.com/page/s/biden-rally
The Secret Service as well as campaign staffers for Senator Dick Durbin have taken over the IBEW Hall in Rockford to redecorate for Monday’s rally.
“We had a contract ratification meeting today and once that meeting was over, it was like locusts,” says Charlie Laskonis, IBEW 364 Business Rep. “It is incredible how they transformed everything. Staging, they have a bunch of dividers that are up, they put up blue curtains all around."
The Secret Service won't be the only ones protecting the Vice President. Rockford Police are calling in nearly every available officer.
“We have to provide security and the site and some traffic control posts,” says Assistant Deputy Chief Pat Hoey with the Rockford Police Department. “What’s nice about it being during the week we have all the detectives working so were utilizing almost all on duty people, we just have to bring a few officers in early from the afternoon shift.”
For security reasons, the exact route of the Vice President isn't being released but some busy roads may be temporarily closed while Biden is in town. Drivers should keep an eye out for Illinois State Police and Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputies who will be manning temporary traffic blockades.