Four more years: Pritzker, Stratton celebrate re-election and talk about goals
CHICAGO (WGEM) - Gov. JB Pritzker says he serves all of the people in Illinois, whether you voted for him or not. Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton are looking forward to another four years in office. The Democrats met with reporters Wednesday morning in Chicago, to give a glimpse of what Illinoisans can expect following their victory over Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) and Stephanie Trussell.
“Well, Illinoisans made their decision - a decision that we should be a beacon of hope, and opportunity, and caring,” Pritzker said.
The governor said he looks forward to working in a bipartisan manner with Republicans. While Pritzker said he won’t compromise his ideals, he said Democrats should listen to and incorporate good ideas Republicans bring to the table.
“We’ll maintain a vision that includes every Illinoisan of just and equitable opportunities in employment, education, housing, and other areas that impact our lives,” Stratton said.
The Lt. Governor also said the Pritzker administration will push forward by protecting women’s rights and committing to gender equity. Pritzker and Democratic leaders of both chambers called for a special session to address abortion protections over the summer, but those plans never came to fruition.
Democrats kept the supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate following results from Tuesday’s election, so they should have no reason to not vote on proposals for abortion rights or an assault weapon ban next week. Still, Pritzker said the caucus may not have enough votes to make it happen during the scheduled veto session.
“Whether we get it done in November or we get it done in January, and early in the session, whenever that may be, we are going to work on passing an assault weapon ban and making sure that we are protecting women’s reproductive rights by expanding capacity and making the investments that are necessary here in our state to protect women,” Pritzker said.
The governor also said that he is proud that Illinois received six credit upgrades, raised the minimum wage, legalized recreational marijuana, and lowered taxes for families during his first term. Pritzker said his administration will be laser-focused on continuing to rebuild an Illinois that works for everyone regardless of their background or zip code.
“Working families won. Children won. Those who have been left out and left behind won,” Pritzker said. “Our economy won. Democracy won, and I can’t wait to get back to work.”
Stratton thanked every person who exercised their right to vote during the General Election. Stratton said no matter your vote, people must work together to protect democracy.
Conceding is a crucial part of democracy, and Bailey decided to call Pritzker to end the gubernatorial race late Tuesday night. Pritzker said it was a short conversation as Bailey said very few words.
“I got on the phone. I said, ‘Senator Bailey.’ He said, ‘Governor, I want to congratulate you.’ And I said, ‘Well, thank you very much. That’s very kind of you.’ And he said, ‘Okay then.’ That’s the entire call.”
Other Republicans accepted the election results and conceded in their races Tuesday night. House and Senate Republicans didn’t pick up nearly as many seats as they predicted, and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin announced he will not run for another term as the caucus leader. Durkin said in a statement Wednesday morning, that the Illinois Republican Party should rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party to bring change to the state.
“I am proud of the work the House Republican caucus has accomplished under my tenure, and thank everyone who played a part along the way,” Durkin said. “I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation.”
Pritzker said he hopes the next House Republican Leader is willing to sit down and talk about what lawmakers could accomplish together. He said anyone rejecting the idea of bipartisanship would not be good for Illinois. Pritzker recalled how he worked with Durkin on many issues and passed a bipartisan budget during his first year as governor.
“I think someone who has served as many years as he has, admirably, honorably, is someone that is probably a loss for the Republicans because he decided not to run for leader again,” Pritzker said. “I look forward to whoever the new Minority Leader is sitting at the table and getting things done with them.”
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