Illinois gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker visited a spirited crowd in Morris Saturday afternoon for a quick rally at the Grundy County Democratic Headquarters. He was introduced by chairman of the Grundy County Democratic Committee Dick Joyce and State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields.
Pritzker came out strong in his opening statement about the upcoming November gubernatorial election, where he will be on the ballot with incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“I’m J.B. Pritzker, and I’m going to beat Bruce Rauner,” he said to loud applause, “and I’m going to put Springfield back on your side.”
Joyce said he was happy the candidate came to the county, especially so close to the election.
“We’ve had a dysfunctional state government for some time here,” Joyce said, “and I think certainly he’s big on education, economic development and infrastructure, especially roads.”
Precinct Chairperson for Erienna 2, Marcia Wolter, also attended the event.
“He has a good vision for our state,” Wolter said, “and will work better with the legislators. He doesn’t have a personal agenda that will slow up our process downstate.”
Pritzker arrived right on time at 2 p.m. and spent about 20 minutes outlining his plan for the state and why he believes keeping Rauner in office for another term is a bad idea.
Illinois’ credit rating, he said, is the lowest in the United States thanks to the current governor. Going 736 days without a budget during Rauner’s term cost Illinois a billion dollars in late fees alone, he said.
“Bruce Rauner is an utter and complete failure,” he said, “and he’s got to go.”
Pritzker said his plans for the state, should he be elected governor, are to raise living standards by creating jobs and raising wages; establish universal health care, which he called “a right and a privilege”; make college more affordable; help those who have college debt through refinancing options; keep state workers’ pensions safe; and offer more vocational training in high schools.
“We also need to fight for people’s individual rights,” he said.
Women’s rights and immigrants’ rights are among them, he said. Pritzker discussed how his family arrived in this country as refugees.
“I think all of us should carry the responsibility to stand up for our immigrant families who come to this country,” he said. “We should be a state that’s a welcoming state because that’s who we are.”
Pritzker left after the short rally, on his way to another event, and did not take questions.
Dee Delloro, of Morris, attended the event and said she’s a Pritzker supporter. She said, in particular, she likes that he supports women’s rights and the middle class. She’s never missed a vote, she said, and plans on voting for Pritzker in November.
Alfie and Karen Rodriguez, of Morris, said they were glad Pritzker came to Morris and that they came to see him.
“In the past, so many times, Grundy County’s been passed over by politicians that are running for office," Alfie said. "He took the time and brought some people who got us together, and I thought it was really a wonderful thing, not just for Democrats, but for Grundy County, itself.”
Alfie said he didn’t learn anything new that he didn’t know before about Pritzker’s goals, but he said that by seeing him in person, he got good insight on the kind of compassionate man he is.
Karen said she was particularly impressed with Pritzker’s views on women’s issues.
“I thought he was great,” Karen said. “I’m for anybody besides Rauner.”