My Vision for Illinois

I care deeply about our state, which more than a century ago became a place of refuge for my immigrant family. I’ve fought to defend against the impact of Bruce Rauner’s right wing agenda and the pain it’s caused working families.

That’s why I’m in this race.

Bruce Rauner has refused to do his job, failed to introduce a balanced budget, and dragged our state down a path of financial ruin. Instead of focusing on his constitutionally mandated duty, he puts politics ahead of governing.

Restore Fiscal Sanity and Balance the Budget

Bruce Rauner’s fiscal mismanagement and failure to introduce a balanced budget have devastated communities, and stalled job and wage growth across the state. The state’s Office of Management and Budget estimates a $7.2 billion deficit for fiscal year 2018. For two years, Bruce Rauner has held Illinois families hostage to his personal agenda.

It’s time for Illinois to modernize our tax code – and to do that, we must fairly raise revenue. Right now, Illinois has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. Low, middle, and working-class families pay more of their income in taxes than millionaires and billionaires and that’s unacceptable. A progressive tax system built around our modern economy will give us the tools we need to provide our children a top-notch education and expand job training programs across the state.

Set Children Up For Success From Cradle To Career

Education is key to the future of our state, our people and our economic growth. Illinois has some of the best academic institutions in the nation, from early childhood to K-12 to college and graduate programs, but many are left behind. Unfortunately, Bruce Rauner’s failure to propose a balanced budget and continued lack of investment in education has driven our schools into financial crisis.

Early Childhood Education: All of Illinois’ youngest children should get quality pre-school and childcare. For decades, I have been a fierce advocate for early childhood education. The human brain develops more between the ages of zero and five than at any other time in a child’s life. Investment in early childhood education has proven long-term impact on the educational and economic outcomes of individuals throughout their lives.

K-12 Education Across Illinois: Every child in Illinois deserves a quality K-12 education, no matter where they grow up.  According to the Illinois Constitution, the state has the primary responsibility for financing our system of public education.  Unfortunately, Illinois ranks nearly last in the nation in the percent of state funding for education and we are last among all 50 states in funding for low-income students.  We must work to achieve a system that both adequately funds and equitably serves every child in Illinois.

Higher Education: Illinois should have world-class institutions of higher learning that attract students from across the country and provide Illinoisans the education and training they need to succeed in 21st-century jobs. But without sustained, long-term investment, students of all ages will miss out on the opportunities higher education can provide. When we invest in higher education, we attract jobs and businesses that rely on a highly-educated workforce and drive economic prosperity across our state.

Workforce Training: Restoring vocational training for high school students and designing regional workforce development programs that are aligned with the needs of the local labor market and responsive to the unique characteristics of the communities they serve will help Illinoisans gain the technical training and accreditation they need to transition into new and emerging jobs. By fostering greater coordination between industry partners and local community colleges on curriculum design, portability of accreditation, and the sharing of labor market data, Illinois can create world-class vocational training and workforce development programs across the state.

Restore and Rebuild Illinois’ Social Services

Social services across Illinois have been devastated by cuts made under Bruce Rauner’s administration and by his failure to introduce a balanced budget. As governor, I will not only focus on restoring funding for these critical services so that families have the tools they need to succeed, but will also undo the damage done by Bruce Rauner’s failures.

Rebuilding Illinois’ social services will assure that everyone has access to the resources and services they need to reach their full potential. Maximizing the opportunities for all Illinoisans will make our communities more vibrant and prosperous.

Invest in Community and Economic Development

One of my most important goals as the next governor of Illinois is to create jobs and economic prosperity for communities across our state. We must prepare our workforce for the demands of a 21st century economy and expand access to capital and training for small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state.

As our state’s economy grows, we must make sure all areas of the state share in its prosperity.  With a renewed focus on hard-hit communities in central and southern Illinois and underserved communities throughout Chicago, we can begin to reverse the job losses of the last two decades. By leveraging Illinois’ strong agricultural base and energy generation sector, we can attract new industries and businesses to communities that need it most. Finally, our state must restore its vital partnership with working families and labor unions, and uphold the principle that every worker deserves a living wage.

Protect Health Care

Donald Trump’s assault on preexisting conditions through the Affordable Healthcare Act jeopardizes health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans across the state and could cost Illinois nearly $40 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next ten years.

Those who lose coverage might delay or forgo medical treatment completely, only to appear in hospital emergency rooms at a cost far greater to their health and for the state’s taxpayers. The Republicans’ elimination of Medicaid funding will force some hospitals to close and others to cut services and lay-off healthcare professionals. This is not only morally unconscionable, it is fiscally irresponsible. I will fight to preserve full Medicaid funding and work with health experts and leaders across the state to expand health coverage for all Illinoisans.