Jeanne Ives: I have record of standing up to the system

This is one of a seies of essays produced in response to an invitation from the Daily Herald on the topic, "Why I Should Be Illinois' Next Governor." The two Republicans and seven Democrats who have announced bids to seek the state's top job all were invited to describe themselves and their core positions. Publication of the op-eds began with submission by incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner and will continue daily on the Opinion page. Democrat Tio Hardiman declined.

Illinoisans deserve an option. The state's economy is languishing. Our municipalities and schools are burdened with massive debts. Over the past three years, it has gotten quantifiably worse.

The clich├ęd diagnosis is that Illinois is broken, just ask Bret Baier, Fox News Channel's chief political anchor. But Illinois isn't broken. It's working exactly as intended by those who have spent decades amassing power through their access to public systems. Illinois politicians strategically raise, allocate, and spend billions every year on well-orchestrated, self-interested dealings. Public corruption is an everyday event.

Each election cycle, your mailbox is filled with glossy campaign mailers saying your legislators voted to freeze property taxes. Meanwhile, your property taxes are skyrocketing, and half of the line-items on your property tax bill go to pay someone else's pension.

You see, Illinois politicians serve a constituency. It's just not you. They serve the entrenched interests who fund their campaigns.

Gov. Bruce Rauner promised that he would veto a bill that forced taxpayers to fund abortion. He lied right to our face. He signed the bill into law, creating a new entitlement that further strains our collapsing Medicaid system. We are 48th in the nation in serving those with developmental disabilities. Instead of reforming our Medicaid system, Gov. Rauner expanded it - hurting those who need help the most.

It was a betrayal on multiple levels.

Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker, one of the wealthiest people in America, received the kind of property tax break that is reserved for the politically connected: a quarter of a million dollars off the tab on his smaller mansion, an extremely valuable home on one of Chicago's most exclusive streets. Now, he wants you to believe that he is a man of the people?

People around the state know these guys are lying to them.

They have their records. I have mine. I have been willing to stand alone, against lobbyists and members of my own party if legislation on the table hurt families or businesses. I am not popular in the Statehouse, but I have protected the people who elected me.

I understand Illinois' largest problems. Politicians racked up $250 billion in debt and $16 billion in unpaid bills by being irresponsible with other people's money.

In all of the political wheeling and dealing, the families of Illinois have been forgotten, merely left to pick up the tab. Already on the hook for the highest property taxes in the nation, many face unemployment as businesses bleed into more friendly states. Others are trying to keep their heads above water, having seen needed social services reduced or eliminated over the past three years. So, as pundits and pols rant and rave, too many families quietly pack up and leave. Even those who are doing well look at state politics and wonder why they would entrust their family's future to these "leaders."

Here's what Illinois families should know: While the concentrated power in Springfield seems daunting, they have the collective numbers, resources and values to bring an end to Illinois' rigged political culture.

Is time for a leader who will put families - from all walks of life - first.

I am a West Point graduate with a degree in Economics, a former Army Officer, a mother of five and a State Representative who has been standing up for taxpayers in Springfield for 5 long years.

As a farmer and educator, my lieutenant governor pick, Rich Morthland, represents a part of Illinois that has been forgotten by the Chicago politicians who have been running the state for decades.

I am running for governor because I believe all families deserve leaders who will to fight for them to own a home in a safe community, to have access to quality schools, to be able to count on basic human services when they are in need, and to have the opportunity to build their lives and pursue happiness in Illinois.

Republican Jeanne Ives, of Wheaton, is Illinois state representative for the 42nd District.

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