On Monday, January 14, 2019 Illinois inaugurated its 43rd Governor, J. B. Pritzker, and Lieutenant Governor, Juliana Stratton.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Governor Pritzker stated, “I am honored and humbled to serve as the 43rd governor in Illinois history. I am excited to get started and make Illinois a state that works for everyone.”
As Pritzker begins his duties as Illinois' new governor he will be focusing on growing the economy and creating jobs, balancing the budget, expanding healthcare to all Illinoisans, and stabilizing state government.
In Governor Pritzker's inauguration speech, “Possibility and Promise”, the governor thanked his wife, MK Pritzker, and his children, Teddi and Donny. He also thanked his parents, Sue and Don Pritzker, who departed this world too soon more than three decades ago but who left behind a set of values around honor and decencny that will endure as long as there are good people in the world. He recognized our Lieutenant Governor, the incomparable Juliana Stratton and asked those gathered to give her a standing ovation.
During his speech, Governor Pritzker spoke of Presidents Lincoln, where Lincoln found the mettle to grip a warring nation in both hands and hold us together to President Obama, who came to organize and to witness the courage that runs deep in our communities-in whom he found the fortitude to launch his bid to make history.
“This is where the 13th and 19th Amendments to the U. S. Constitution were first ratified, ending slavery and guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.
We contend every day with an economy that gives little and takes too much...that allows passion and work ethic to be overwhelmed by student loans, unexpected health emergencies and the rising cost of living.
We want strong families, but we have yet to embrace more robust policies supporting paid parental leave and affordable child care that will sustain them.
We watch 100-year storms that now come every year-and yet we don't allow the science of climate change to guide our decision making.
We fail to hold accountable leaders who sacrifice truth for personal gain-who substitute pageantry for patriotism.
We are a nation founded on fearless ideas-and yet we move away from those drawn to that vision.
We want better roads, better schools, better wages-but we vilify anyone who dares suggest a workable path to those things.
We allow our schools, our movie theaters, our hospitals, our neighborhoods to become battlefields-legally accessible by the weapons of war.
Our abdication of responsibility must end.
At 200 years old, Illinois is still a young promise. Our time here has been but a blink. In 2019, we must begin a new century with new maturity...and enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference.
That starts with leadership that abandons single minded, arrogant notions.
So today, with all the challenges Illinois faces, Democrats and Republicans will work together, and we must begin with our most basic responsibilities. We will propose, debate and pass a balanced budget this year.
Balancing the budget means lowering the cost of government while delivering the high quality services Illinoisans deserve.
But be clear about this: I won't balance the budget on the backs of the starving, the sick, and the suffering. I won't hollow out functions of government to achieve an ideological agenda-I won't make government the enemy and government employees the scapegoats. Responsible fiscal management is a marriage of numbers-and values.
The current tax system is simply unsustainable. Others have lied to you about that fact. I won't. The future of Illinois depends on the passage of a fair income tax, which will bring us into the 21st Century like most of our midwestern neighbors, and like the vast majority of the United States.
I'm not naive about what it will take to do this. All who enter a discussion about our state's budget and a fair tax system in good faith will be welcomed to the table. But if you lead with partisanship and scare tactics you will be met with considerable political will.”
Governor Pritzker also wants to update and repair the state's infrastructure: railways, roads, and bridges that are on the verge of collapse.
Governor Pritzker also recognized downstate Illinois 'which has been deprived of some basic resources for education and business building that are taken for granted elsewhere in our state.
“Working men and women deserve to have a governor and a Department of Labor that will enforce laws protecting workers' wages and workers' rights. And they deserve a $15 minimum wage. It's good for the working families of Illinois and good for our economy.
We will approach education with a holistic mindset – recognizing that students do best in community schools where teachers are paid well and where kids start learning at the earliest ages. And our economy grows when vocational training, community colleges and universities are strong.
Our entrepreneurs continue to be tireless dreamers, whether it's Jamie Gladfelter creating a software development incubator in Galesburg, Jeremie Draper shaping glass in Peoria or Leif Anderson still using his grandfather's original recipes to make and sell candy in Richmond.
That's the Illinois I see...one of possibility and promise.
A willingness to be kind is a virtue often overlooked in life...a commitment to be kind in politics can change the world. Over a century ago, public policy grounded by kindness offered a penniless immigrant to Illinois a bed to sleep in, a public school education and the opportunity to succeed. 130 years later, his great-grandson just took the oath of office to be Governor of this great state.
So thank you Illinois, for your faith in me. I promise to live up to it every day. Together let's go into this new century with enough faith to help each other out of your troubles, with enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference in the world, and with enough kindness to find the courage to change.
Thank you. God bless the state of Illinois. And God bless the United States of America.”
Governor JB Pritzker's whole inauguration speech can be found at www2.illinois.gov/sites/gov/Pages/default.aspx.