Editorial: Need has never been greater for independence, inclusion in Illinois

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 11/8/2018 4:48 PM
  • J.B. Pritzker speaks to supporters Tuesday night at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Chicago after being elected Illinois governor.

    J.B. Pritzker speaks to supporters Tuesday night at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Chicago after being elected Illinois governor.

Even before Tuesday, the prospect of a Democratic victory for the governor's mansion and further Democratic advances in the General Assembly produced a certain degree of anxiety. What is the outlook for a state facing grave economic struggles and sharp political divisions when the same party controls all three branches of the Statehouse? How would one-party rule accommodate the distinct needs, interests and troubles of people with richly diverse experiences, geographic as well as cultural? Are there checks and balances to control a government whose every component -- chief executive, General Assembly, supreme court and five constitutional offices -- is led by someone from the same party?

These may be the apprehensions of Republicans facing just this reality today, but they are also questions that Democrats at all levels of government should be asking themselves. They lie at the heart of our hopes, our reflections, our advice as a new governor and a cadre of new suburban Democratic lawmakers prepare to take the reins of power in Springfield.

At the top of the list, we focus our attention on the governor elect. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, we ask you to demonstrate early that you will be a chief executive committed to a collaborative, comprehensive problem-solving approach to government that recognizes the struggles and constraints driving businesses and individuals burdened to the breaking point by taxes. We ask that you will not take your eye off the goal of developing a workable, comprehensive, long-term solution to the budgetary problems and deepening pension crisis crippling our state -- and that you will develop solutions whose demands are distributed fairly among all interests that will be affected.

We ask that you will not waver from your campaign promises to lead courageously and independently, to avoid cronyism in your appointments and actions, to promote fair election maps and, quoting your website, "to be a governor who works for all Illinoisans."

We have seen what can result when a person who is highly successful in business but lacking in political experience leads the government. Now, we ask that you, to whom that description also applies, learn from the past and set a tone for government that is respectful, accessible, transparent and constructive.

Of course, we ask no less than all this from suburban Democrats, those returning to Springfield and the many newcomers to state -- or in some cases any -- government experience. Our state is at a critical point in its history. We have only too much experience with actions that don't work to bring us together and improve our comfort and prosperity.

We are counting on all of you now to show the strength, determination and selflessness to find and implement actions that do.

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