Governor’s Race 2022: One on one with Bailey and Pritzker

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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – The Illinois primary election season is over, but you will still see plenty of political ads from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sen. Darren Bailey. A battle that started in 2020 with a downstate lawmaker challenging COVID-19 executive orders has become a fight for the governor’s office in November.

Illinois voters may want to buckle in for a wild ride over the next few months as the billionaire governor takes on the millionaire farmer from Xenia.

Of course, abortion rights will play a major role in this election.

Pritzker wants Illinois to remain a safe haven for abortion and has already called for state lawmakers to return for a special session to expand reproductive health care rights. He would like to see proposals passed to allow more health care personnel to provide abortions and more space for people to have the procedure done.

“I believe this is an important right to secure, it ought to be a constitutional right,” Pritzker said Thursday. “The Supreme Court has now taken that away. But, here in Illinois, we protect it. We need a governor who is going to protect it.”

Bailey says he is fighting to make sure abortion is “unnecessary” in the state. He argues Illinois should block taxpayer-funded abortion and restore parental notification. Bailey believes parents should know about every health care decision.

“I want to make sure that Illinois begins to offer true choice to pregnant women, something that Gov. Pritzker, at the end of the day, doesn’t care about and simply is not accomplishing,” Bailey said Wednesday.

When asked where Bailey stands on abortion in cases of rape or to save a mother, the Republican said he doesn’t consider saving the life of a mother as abortion.

“That is the only exception I would personally adhere to.” Bailey also said he doesn’t consider rape an exception for abortion.

Pritzker said the vast majority of Illinois voters won’t agree with Bailey’s stance, regardless of their political party. The governor believes Bailey will only focus on pushing former President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“Anything that fawns over Donald Trump, it seems to me, they’re going to do even if it’s bad for the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said. “MAGA Republicans want to take us backward. In fact, that is one of their slogans: Take it back. They want to take it backward. They literally want to take us back to the 1950s.”

Bailey told the Capitol Bureau that he would like to introduce America First policies during his first days in office if he is elected.

“Illinois First would be a state where parents felt safe about letting their children walk around in their neighborhoods. Illinois First would be a state where parents felt safe about visiting Chicago and the urban areas, taking vacations, and shopping without worrying about violent crime,” Bailey said.

Bailey also said he would ensure Illinois parents wouldn’t have to worry about children being indoctrinated by what he calls “woke policies.” The Republican feels Pritzker should give up as governor if he is too preoccupied with a potential presidential run in 2024.

We asked Pritzker if he is seriously considering a presidential campaign.

“I’m running for re-election for governor of Illinois because I love this state and I love the job,” Pritzker said. “I really believe that we have so much more that we can accomplish for the people of Illinois.”

Still, Bailey argues his administration would be better at recruiting new businesses and keeping small business owners happier than they are under Pritzker. The Republican said Illinoisans are ready for a massive change.

“Our current and our past governments, they’ve pushed the working people like me, they’ve pushed us aside for far too long,” Bailey said. “They’ve been too busy catering to themselves, scratching each other’s backs, being in cahoots with each other and those days are coming to an end.”

Bailey’s claim to be an average Illinoisan is a bit dubious though. The millionaire grain farmer has 12,000 acres of property.

The senator said he will fight for taxpayers and working families so they can thrive. Bailey has attacked Pritzker for not doing enough to help families struggling with inflation. The Democrat’s $1.8 billion Illinois family tax relief plan takes effect Friday. It will suspend the gas tax for six months and eliminate the grocery tax for a year. Pritzker says individual checks for low-income and moderate-income families will also help provide relief that people can use at the pump.

“There’s some people who don’t drive cars and still need relief,” Pritzker explained. “So, we want them to be able to benefit too. People can choose if they want to use those dollars for relief at the pump, relief at the grocery store, help pay utility bills, or even rent.”

After Bailey’s victory Tuesday night, the Pritzker campaign said the senator has extreme and dangerous views on most issues important to families. Bailey chuckled during our interview Wednesday morning and said he wouldn’t expect anything less from a “tyrannical, out-of-touch billionaire governor.”

“Of course, that’s going to be his message,” Bailey added. “But at the end of the day, the movement that Cindy and I have witnessed, even in Chicago, the voices of the people are resonating. They are ready for something different.”

Pritzker had a busy first term as governor keeping people alive during a public health pandemic and helping Democrats pass proposals that were top priorities for years. The governor noted Illinois had an enormous bill backlog and Democrats have stabilized the state’s finances and eliminated the backlog. Although, that job isn’t over because Pritzker stressed lawmakers need to continue passing balanced budgets.

Historic investments in education funding, addressing police and fire pensions, legalizing recreational marijuana, and raising the state’s minimum wage were some of Pritzker’s top goals. As far as the future, Pritzker would like to work on a plan to make college free for anyone making the state’s medium income or lower.

“That’s something we’re working toward. Obviously, you gotta keep balancing the budget and keep running surpluses so you can pay for those things,” Pritzker said.

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.

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June 30, 2022 at 10:43PM

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