President Obama to address Illinois General Assembly to ‘Build Better Politics’

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By CBS Chicago

Marking the anniversary of his first White House run, President Obama will return to his home state next month to deliver a speech to the Illinois state legislature, the White House announced on Friday.

On Feb. 10, nine years after he announced his candidacy for President, Obama will return to Springfield.

“Now, in the final year of his second term, the President looks forward to addressing the Illinois General Assembly about what we can do, together, to build a better politics–one that reflects our better selves,” said Kaelan Richards, regional communications director for the White House.

Obama began his political career there as state senator in 1997.

In 2007, he chose the steps of the Old State Capitol, to announce his presidential candidacy.

Obama campaigned on a pledge to change the tone in Washington. He recently said he regretted that the situation hadn’t improved, but has worsened.

Illinois has been locked in a bitter partisan battle. The state has been without a budget for 2016 as part of an ongoing political tug of war between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic legislature, controlled by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Rauner has been pushing is state “turnaround agenda” including worker’s compensation reform, term limits, reforms to the legal systems, property taxes, and the budget.

“I look forward to welcoming President Obama to the State Capitol and hearing him speak about finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats,” Gov. Rauner said in a statement. Despite our political differences, the President and I share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a belief in the benefits of term limits and redistricting reform for restoring good government, and a strong desire to see more economic opportunity for all Illinoisans.

“I know we can achieve great things for Illinois by having mutual respect for one another and focusing on bipartisan compromise to achieve what’s best for the long-term future of our great state.”

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s office said that Cullerton wrote Obama suggesting now would be a good time.

“President Obama’s State of the Union address struck a chord with its call for a more civil politics and working to find areas of agreement,” Cullerton said in a statement. “Clearly, that’s what we need here.”

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