Crusader staff report
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay “JB” Pritzker took his campaign into the Black community Tuesday, August 8, launching more attacks on incumbent Bruce Rauner while affirming his commitment to secure healthcare and education for minorities in underserved neighborhoods.
At a fundraiser at the JLM Center on Chicago’s West Side, Pritzker stepped up his criticism of the governor and President Donald Trump amid a jubilant group of Black leaders.
It was a speech aimed at addressing serious issues affecting the Black community and injecting fresh momentum into Pritzker’s campaign for Chicago’s Black vote.
In the last months the future of Obamacare, affirmative action college admissions and Chicago Public Schools have all come under attack. At the center of the storm are Trump and Rauner, two polarizing political figures whose views and policies have sown discord among local and national Black leaders. At Tuesday’s fundraiser, Pritzker reminded Chicago’s prominent Black leaders of his message to bring hope to people of color, whom he believes are hurting under Trump and Rauner’s administrations.
“With Donald Trump in the White House and Bruce Rauner in Springfield and both of them trying to take away your healthcare and your kid’s education, isn’t it about time to bring a little economic justice to the community?,” Pritzker asked. “But it isn’t going to happen if we just talk about it. We have to go out and fight for it. So what I want to know is, are you ready to fight?”
Rauner has come under fire after vetoing an education funding bill several weeks ago that would have provided $300 million in relief to CPS. The district on Monday laid off nearly 1,000 employees, including 356 teachers. Rauner believes that other school districts downstate have suffered over years as lawmakers favored Chicago. Pritzker on Tuesday said Rauner is so committed to attacking Chicago that he’s willing to put the education of Chicago’s students at risk.
“Let’s fight to give every child in Illinois the best education we can. Bruce Rauner is attacking schoolchildren in Chicago with his reckless veto of Senate Bill 1,” Pritzker said. “I want to invest in every child in this state. Let’s bring back vocational training to our high schools and apprenticeships for our young adults.”
Pritzker urged the crowd to help fight for an Illinois economy that lifts up all communities. He also spoke of a plan to bring a progressive income tax to Illinois for affluent residents who Pritzker believes should contribute more to the state’s education fund. Pritzker also said he wants to lower the taxes of the middle class and struggling families seeking to move upwards economically.
Pritzker said as governor, criminal justice reform will be a top priority.
“Mass incarceration and mandatory minimum [sentences] have devastated so many communities,” he said. “We need to eliminate them and pursue restorative justice for non-violent offenders. Instead of funding mass incarceration, let’s fund re-entry job programs and diversion programs, including summer jobs and year-round jobs to encourage our youth.”
Pritzker noted that Blacks in Illinois have the highest unemployment rate in the country. He said Rauner’s policies have failed Blacks. Pritzker said by nourishing small businesses and expanding access to capital, small businesses could create more jobs and become the backbone of the state’s economy.
“I’m going to restore these centers to their prime,” he said. “I want to help small businesses thrive and I want to do it in the neighborhoods where they are needed most.”
Pritzker, also criticized President Trump for his attempt to repeal Obamacare.
“We need to protect healthcare and protect President Obama’s legacy. That’s why I’ve proposed my plan -IllinoisCares- a public option health insurance program. Every Illinoisian will be able to purchase low-cost health insurance.”