JB Pritzker, Candidate for Governor
Today, Illinois is in crisis: last among the states in our credit rating and nearly last in education funding. Services for families are closing, and healthcare has been cut back. There are a lot of reasons for this, but chief among them is our failed governor, Bruce Rauner.
Since announcing my campaign to beat Bruce Rauner two months ago, I have had the privilege of listening to many voices of hard working, good people all across our state. Illinoisans are committed to building a better life for their families and moving our state forward, but they are being let down by their governor.
Over a century ago, my great grandfather emigrated to America and arrived in Illinois penniless. He found a job and worked hard, but he had help. A social service agency helped him find a place to live. A public school helped him learn English. And a state university allowed him to get a higher education degree. You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have any, and Illinois gave my great grandfather his bootstraps.
It’s still true today that everyone in our state deserves the opportunity to lift themselves up – middle class families seeking better paying jobs and a college education for their kids, workers striving to get to the middle class, and our most vulnerable who need a helping hand.
But our governor and our government have let us down. Our public schools are barely scraping by without proper funding from the state. Our state universities are laying off faculty and staff, while our students are facing cuts to their financial aid.
Bruce Rauner has decimated our state’s future, forcing people, businesses and jobs to flee. We are over 700 days into a historic budget crisis, and Rauner continues to attack working families instead of doing his job for this state. He holds the state budget hostage and won’t give up on his right wing agenda to reduce wages and workplace safety, reduce workers’ rights, and diminish our public education system.
Our state needs a leader who has a proven record of bringing people together, thinking big, and getting results. That’s why I’m in this race.
WHO I AM
For 24 years I’ve been married to the love of my life, MK. We met on Capitol Hill when I was working for U.S. Senator Alan Dixon. MK has been my partner in everything important in life, and she is my partner in this campaign.
We have two wonderful children. Our 14-year-old daughter Teddi is a track and cross-country runner, and our 12-year-old son Donny is a math whiz and a football fanatic.
My kids are being raised with the lessons my parents taught me – the value of hard work, the importance of never taking for granted how privileged we are to live in this country, with its freedom and its blessings. My parents taught me that I’ve got to work twice as hard to earn the opportunities I’ve been given, and MK and I are trying to convey that to Teddi and Donny.
My parents were entrepreneurs who built a small motel business that became successful. I’m proud of the business my parents built, but I didn’t follow them into it. Instead, I built my own. Today, we have over 1,700 employees in Illinois, many of whom are proud union members.
While I’ve been able to successfully create jobs and help businesses grow, what I’m proudest of is the work I’ve done to solve big challenges for the people of Illinois and help lift up our communities.
WHAT I’VE DONE FOR ILLINOIS
School Breakfast for low income kids. There are 55,000 kids in low-income school districts who now get school breakfasts every day because of my work with Share Our Strength and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Our children can’t learn on an empty stomach and they shouldn’t have to try. Last year, we pushed the state to get on board, and a law was passed so that 175,000 kids more kids across the state could get the breakfast they need to start their day.
Child care and pre-school. Early childhood education is a passion of mine. For two decades I’ve been proud to be a national leader on this issue, working with government, business and non-profit leaders to create early learning programs both in Illinois and across the nation. In 2014, President Obama asked me to help organize a White House Summit on Early Childhood that brought leaders from across the country together to advance the cause of early learning.
Creating new jobs for our future. Illinois was losing technology jobs. Our best and brightest entrepreneurs and engineers were leaving Illinois. I wanted to change that. So, I brought together our universities, state and local governments, and industry leaders to create a non-profit, small business technology incubator called 1871. Today, 1871 has helped create 6,000 good paying jobs in Illinois and has helped transform our state into one of the top technology startup hubs in the world.
This is the most important work of my life – identifying challenges, bringing people together, and getting results for Illinois. There’s so much more we can do in our state to improve the lives of our families and communities. That’s exactly what I’m going to do as governor.
WHY I’M RUNNING
I am confident we can meet the challenges ahead, overcome them, and chart a course for building jobs, prosperity, and equity for all of Illinois.
Putting families and communities first. That starts with passing a budget. Over 700 days without a budget is 700 days too long. Stopgaps and one-off funding measures are not going to do the job. Illinois’ working families and communities that need help ought to have a government that puts them first. I’ll do that as governor.
A progressive tax system. A progressive income tax is a first step toward more fairness, taking the burden off of low-income and middle-class families. Illinois is one of just four states that uses an antiquated, flat tax system. It is time for a progressive tax system, where those who have the ability to pay more are the first to help.
Investing in education. Education is an investment in our children, our economy, and our state’s future. As governor, I’ll invest in the people of Illinois. That starts with building up our state universities and community colleges and increasing state funding to our schools. Among all 50 states, Illinois is nearly last for state funding of public education. That’s unacceptable. I will make sure that our schools and our kids get the resources they need for educational excellence.
Creating jobs. Illinois must invest in our entrepreneurs and small businesses. They’re the most prolific job creators in our state, but they’re not receiving the support they need. And in our most vulnerable communities, they’re not receiving support at all. I am committed to increasing access to capital across our state and providing the training and mentorship small businesses and their workers need to thrive.
Raising wages and standing up for working families. As governor, workers in Illinois will have a partner in Springfield and will always have a seat at the table. I’m so proud to have the labor movement fighting with me, receiving the endorsements of 15 unions as well as the statewide AFL-CIO. I am committed to standing with our state’s hardworking men and women of labor to protect wages, raise the minimum wage, and defend collective bargaining rights. When Bruce Rauner says he wants “Right to Work” laws, he means he wants workers to make less money, and there is no place for that in Illinois. I’ll be a governor who wakes up every day thinking about how to improve the lives of Illinois workers.
HOW DEMOCRATS WILL WIN
Since I announced my candidacy, I have been building a grassroots campaign of volunteers across our state. With the massive resources and incumbency advantage the GOP Governor has, winning in 2018 won’t be easy. So rather than attacking my Democratic primary opponents, I’ve taken the fight directly to Bruce Rauner every day.
I encourage you to visit my website dedicated to taking on the governor and his failed leadership at www.CrisisCreatinRauner.com. Then sign up on my campaign website at www.jbpritzker.com and follow me on Twitter at @jbpritzker and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jbpritzker.
With the support of the labor movement and powered by our many grassroots volunteers, we’re building a field operation that will reach voters in every county across the state. We’re going to win in 2018, and we intend to beat the Republicans up and down the ticket, taking back Congressional seats, state house and senate seats, and county seats across the state.
Let’s clean up Bruce Rauner’s mess, get our state back on track, and chart a course for Illinois’ future. I’m ready for the fight ahead, and I hope you’ll join me.
– JB Pritzker