Today, as Illinois enters its third century of statehood, the bright possibilities and opportunities for our state have never been stronger.
There is no question that we’ve faced more than our share of crises and dysfunction. Of needless ideological warfare and missed opportunities. Of stalled progress and moving backward, instead of forward.
Together, we can — and will — put that in the past and focus on our shared future. I believe this — not because the challenges are small, but because our ability to capitalize on our strengths to solve those challenges is enormous.
For nearly two years, I’ve traveled throughout the state to listen to the people of Illinois, who deserve a government that is on their side, with leaders whose vision and ideas are as bold as they are. Starting tomorrow, we will move forward with that bold agenda.
As we start to expand our economy and strengthen our state, Illinoisans need a responsible government, and that means enacting a balanced budget. We will make sure that our government works efficiently, and delivers better service. We will move forward with a fair tax system that ensures we stop solving our problems at the expense of working families. It’s time for a tax system that asks the wealthiest to pay more and lowers taxes on the middle class and those striving to get there. We will fund the priorities our communities rely on and bring an end to the days of passing the buck to the next generation.
We must do this while never taking our eyes off of the investments we need to make in our future. We need a capital bill that funds the roads, bridges, waterways and broadband infrastructure a 21st century economy demands. The backlog of repairs on our roads and bridges is real, but so is the fact that we are a supply chain hub of the nation.
Today, Illinois has great schools, whether you’re in kindergarten or in college — but we can do more to make college more affordable and strengthen our classrooms. We need the world-class education system our students deserve that no longer permits skin color or zip code to serve as barriers to opportunity. And we’ll be moving forward with a plan that ensures a comprehensive birth-to-five system of early childhood education that gives every child an opportunity to achieve their potential.
The future we build must be inclusive. Our immigrant neighbors and friends must know they will always be able to call Illinois home. Women’s rights are not up for debate and LGBTQ Illinoisans must always feel safe in our workplaces and schools. Illinois should be a place where workers know their government will fight for them — for better wages and safer working conditions.
Too many businesses and jobs are leaving our state and we will reverse that. Entrepreneurs are rising up to create the small businesses that are the foundation of our economy, and we will attract and support new entrepreneurs in every part of this state.
Our criminal justice system should pursue restorative justice instead of mass incarceration. Marijuana should be legalized and unfair drug laws remedied. Our economy should work for everyone, lifting up our communities and providing hope and opportunity to those who have been left behind for far too long.
We need a health care system that proclaims loudly and clearly that health care is a right and not a privilege.
One thing is clear from all of the obstacles put in our state’s path: Despite those challenges, Illinoisans persevere. Our strength and our potential is and always will be our people. It’s teachers shaping our next generation, social service workers going that extra mile for those they serve, mothers and students rising up to bring an end to gun violence in their communities, and hardworking families across Illinois determined to build a better life.
That’s the Illinois I believe in. It’s the vision I ran on, and it’s the principles I’m bringing to Springfield. But I can’t do it alone.
The solutions for Illinois will never be found in one person, in one organization, in one city. It will take all of us, Democrats and Republicans, union laborers and business leaders, students and seniors, people of all races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, and abilities coming together to craft the path forward. We can only do this by listening to one another and by working together to solve problems.
Throughout my campaign for office, I closed remarks with a simple question: “Are you ready for the fight?” Inspired by the passion, the perseverance, and the ingenuity of the people of this state, I stand ready for this fight. I hope you’ll join me.
J.B. Pritzker will become governor of Illinois on Jan. 14.
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Columns,Region: Springfield,Feeds,Opinion,Region: Central,City: Springfield
via Columns – The State Journal-Register http://bit.ly/2SlLu5R
January 12, 2019 at 04:07PM