By Justin A. Smock
On Tuesday, the general midterm election will be in full swing. Illinoisans will be faced with the challenge of electing a new governor. Sitting Governor, Bruce Rauner, arguably has been given a run for his money. On this midterm ballot, Illinois Democrats have produced a candidate that shows passion and commitment to the state in ways of financial and educational withstanding.
Born to a Jewish family in California, JB Pritzker is an active entrepreneur and philanthropist. Pritzker acquired his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Duke University and soon after studied law at Northwestern University School of Law. Staying in Illinois, Pritzker became an attorney and member of the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations. JB now resides in Chicago with his wife and 2 children.
While serving as chairman for the council of innovation and technology, Pritzker founded 1871. This non-profit digital startup incubator supports entrepreneurs and small business in Illinois and brought over 7,000 jobs to the state within in the first 2 years of operation.
Pritzker’s campaign is one that promotes societal reform. By supporting Women’s, LGBTQ+, and Immigrant rights, JB hopes to see Illinois become a state that is a front runner for civil rights, rather than trailing behind. Devoting time in education such as promoting more funding for institutions, restoring vocational training programs and investing into early childhood development, JB hopes to create unlimited opportunities for citizens of Illinois. In a campaign video titled “A Real Fight Ahead,” JB mentioned his inspiration for supporting such a movement. “I became a Democrat because of my mother,” JB said. “She was an advocate for societal change that was ahead of her time. My mother instinctively knew that it’s okay to be the lone voice for change.” Even when the odds are stacked against him, JB refuses to give up the fight.
An entrepreneur himself, Pritzker wants to create a stable infulstruction for our state that would promote the growth of small businesses and, ultimately, the economy of Illinois. One facet of accomplishing this goal is to safely legalize recreational use of Marijuana. JB believes that by promoting the legalization of Marijuana Illinois would benefit largely by the increase of revenue from such taxations. Meanwhile, there would be a decrease in the issue of mass incarceration due to marijuana related accusations.
Working to raise wages, Pritzker takes pride in supporting the Labor movement of Illinois. By supporting this movement JB promotes an increase of minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 an hour, as well as advocating for Illinois’ Equal Pay Act. This act would continue to implement equal pay for women, require that women be made aware if their salary is less than a male counterpart and insight penalties on businesses that continue to widen the wage gap on bias of sex or gender.
Healthcare is another “big ticket” issue in JB’s campaign. Protecting healthcare state wide is one way Pritzker feels would bring long lasting positive effects to Illinois. Due to a lack of affordable healthcare in Illinois’, many citizens have received inadequate medical attention, if any at all. In his campaign video “Time for a Change” Pritzker stated, “I believe wholeheartedly that we need universal healthcare… Quality affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” JB promotes legislation that would encompass expanded fair and affordable healthcare coverage for all residence, as well as, preservation of full medicaid funding.
While this is not every issue being tackled by the candidate, it is undoubtable Pritzker’s vision for Illinois is nothing short of entrepreneurial and philanthropic. As Governor, JB promises to rejuvenate the financial atmosphere of Illinois in ways that include, but are not limited to: reevaluating funding for education, investing in economic development, and protecting statewide healthcare. By raising revenue, investing into educational development, and preserving full medicaid funding, Pritzker feels that he will be able to maximize opportunities for Illinoisans. Bringing social change to the political arena is never an easy task, but JB feels it is imperative in order to get Illinois moving back in the right direction.