Since my undergraduate days at DePaul University in the late 90’s I told anyone who would listen I would be the first black governor of Illinois. And now that Bill Daley is out of the way, I can make my historic run to Springfield.
First off this is my home state and (despite all of its flaws), I do love this state and what it has to offer and I want to keep it that way, I’ve been to or through most of the 102 counties of our beautiful state.
I’m aware of the wide varieties of this state (my father has lived in southern Illinois for 15 years), and I respect that, and will do my best to make sure no one or place is forgotten.
Yes unlike the last Chicagoan who was governor, I will live in Springfield and will not commute by plane, train or the taxpayer dime. In fact I plan to use my personal 2011 Chevrolet Malibu with 67,000 miles on it whenever possible.
I also will take a reduced salary to help the state out financially, the current governor earns $179,000, the average governor earns $131, 000, I will take a salary of $100,000.
I was born and raised majority democratic south side of Chicago (and witnessed “The Machine”, first hand), and now reside in the largely republican southwest suburbs (and spent a lot of time with my dad downstate), so I’m aware of how both political parties operate in this state. I also know though Chicago may be the economic engine for the state, it’s not the capital, and there will be balance in this state, geographically and in every other means as well.
With that said I know most of the state is rural and some parts even dislike Chicago (gasp!), but I will reach out to make sure other important parts of the state get their due and everything they need to succeed.
But of course I will work with Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel (as long as he doesn’t come bearing dead fish) and every other municipal official in this state to do what is best for our residents, whether in Chicago, Decatur or Cairo.
I would get rid of any people of power in Springfield (non elected), who were appointed by or declare allegiance to any former governor who was in jail, is currently in jail or might be in jail in the future.
There will be no pay to play, there’s a new sheriff in town, I plan to be the Joe Clark of Illinois politics (see the movie “Lean on Me”), so yes I will be the HNIC.
Now to keep it real, I can’t cut taxes, this state is broke, and so we need to get money in this state and I know we can’t cut our way out of this. We need to add funding, business, investments and the jobs will come with it. That means reaching out to new business (just not casinos), but green companies, planting the seeds for many new businesses as well. But in places where there is fat, excess and people not pulling their weight, change is coming.
Speaking of fat, that the third airport planned for Peotone is dead as well as the Illiana expressway, I will work with people in southern Will County to build more beneficial businesses and push for their original business which is agriculture. No one grows, refines and produces corn and beans like Illinois and I will make sure our harvests are known and that we haven’t forgotten our roots and hardworking farmers.
As for the constitution, I will do what I can to make changes, we will have to make some pension adjustments (as well as the laws that govern them), benefit changes and ask our retirees to help us out. But they will not be alone we all have to pitch in to save our state (yes fellow politicians this means you too), so some taxes will rise, some business expenses will too but our government will be transparent at every level, including my office.
Yes we will work with the oil companies and have responsible drilling for oil but will not allow "fracking" and put our drinking water and delicate ecosystems at risk. I will personally work with environmentalists, land owners; utilities and “Big Oil”, to use our natural resource of oil to benefit us all but not make short term gains for now and have our children and their children to suffer later.
Speaking of responsibility we have great natural resources in this state (I have personally fished in many bodies of water within our borders), and I will do everything to promote conservation and keep our great state clean and the outdoors friendly and accessible to all.
As for our state’s businesses’ I will see to it that we are “open for business” for our existing business partners and will make no bones about going to other states to recruit businesses just like other states came trying to take our businesses away. The days of our state being a business and job harvest for other states is over, we will keep our businesses at home and treat them like blue chip recruits but be responsbile and do our due diligence so that money is well spent. Not to mention our in-state businesses will be held accountable.
As a young man I went to the same church as former State Senate president Emil Jones and he said when it comes to politics “Its about the deal”. And we will make deals, good responsible deals for everyone in Illinois, not just for the 1%, or those politically connected.
Education will be key in this state, that 10+ year backlog of funding for renovating and building new schools will soon be rectified with more funding (from the lottery as it was originally intended), and the Capital Development Board (CDB), will soon be more efficient for planning and building our state’s infrastructure will more employees and a better way of maintaining and building our state.
And yes civil engineering will also be brought to the forefront to fix our deficiencies on our roads & bridges (and not just the same piece of Interstate 57 outside of Champaign being done repeatedly), so our state is safe for travel and interstate commerce.
Not only will our state be “open for business”, but also open for diversity, we will allow for all marriages, not just civil unions.
Lastly we will have a safe state, with additional police on the streets and willing to help those communities that need and extra hand with preserving the law.
And this is just the start of us not just being the Land of Lincoln but a state Lincoln and all of us can be proud of.
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