State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13) issued the following statement after hearing Governor Bruce Rauner’s update on the state of Illinois Jan. 27:It was good to hear the governor say that “we must cast partisanship and ideology aside.” I’m happy those words came from his lips, and I’m hoping someday they’ll make it to his ears, because during his first year in office, he’s allowed his ideology to hijack the budget and do costly, long-term damage to state services for those in greatest need.
His refusal to compromise also has kept us from achieving many of the worthy goals he mentioned today, including full and fair funding for education. Meanwhile, he’s gone on the warpath against Illinois’ public institutions of higher learning, a system our employers depend on for a skilled workforce, our young adults rely on to secure decent jobs and our communities count on for continued economic growth. In particular, the governor’s attack on Chicago State University is founded on a twisting of statistics, comparing this unique institution, which serves as a safety net for students whose backgrounds and biographies are nontraditional, to those with very different profiles.
I appreciate and applaud the governor’s recognition of the work of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform and its chairman, Rodger Heaton. This group’s recommendations should be given serious consideration during this legislative session. But as I sat in meetings with other members of the Commission, one clear truth emerged: success requires investment. Without a serious, deliberate investment of resources into community-based programs that deter youth from criminal involvement and prevent recidivism among ex-offenders, our best efforts will fall far short of the goal.
In the past year, the governor’s ideological intransigence has hijacked the kind of purposeful, sustained, data-driven investment Illinois needs – in education, criminal justice reform, economic development and social services. Now, after more than half a year without a budget, his actions matter far more than his words.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13)