Governor Gets Key to City and His Own Day in Centralia After Positive Murray Center Comments
Governor Says There Is More Money for Murray in Next Year's Budget to Continue Improvements
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      Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby proclaimed Friday as Governor Bruce Rauner Day in Centralia and then presented him a key to the city as a thank you for keeping Murray Development Center open.

      Ashby addressed the Governor after he talked to Murray Center Parents and staff with a positive message about the center's future. He started with the proclamation making Friday Rauner's Day in Centralia and then presenting the key to the city to applause from those in attendance.

      "This is my second term, seven years, never have I gave a Key to the City. Never," said Ashby as he unveiled the key.

      "I am deeply honored and deeply humbled," Rauner replied. "I will display with pride in the State Capital in the large office where all of our visitors come. I will display this pride. I am so proud, I am so proud of the community here in Centralia in Clinton County. For all of Illinois, this is a wonderful home for our most vulnerable residents. They deserve it, we're going to protect it, keep it open, and help expand the services so it is the best in the world."

      Earlier the President of the Murray Parents Association, Rita Winkler, praised the Governor and noted they want to help due to the State's budget issues.

      "You will never how thrilled we are to be open. So we do everything possible. If the staff tells us they need something and the staff has been very good at working with us," said Winkeler.

      "The staff here is awesome," said Rauner as he led a round of applause for the staff. "The staff is phenomenal."

      "We couldn't do it without the staff. They are actually family too, they take care of our children," Winkeler added. "We trust them like our own."

      When speaking after the meeting, Rauner reiterated the need for facilities like Murray Center.

      "I believe to provide every type of support option is important and I believe there is a critical role in the State of Illinois for larger homes like this that can provide more intensive services, broader support services than can be done in other settings. Murray Center deserves to stay open and it deserves to be supported and to be expanded in the type of work it does."

      Rauner noted while this was the first Key to the City given by Mayor Ashby, this is the first Key to the City he has ever received.

      While Rauner may be at odds with AFSCME, the union members greeted the Governor at the entrance to Murray Center Friday with signs all supportive of the decision to keep the center open.

      Former Governor Pat Quinn was in the process of closing the facility when he lost re-election and Rauner reversed the decision and began making improvements and adding staff that continues today.

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