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July 15, 2017

Land of Lincoln a State in Crisis


July 15, 2017 

Land of Lincoln a State in Crisis: Rainbow PUSH Coalition Hosts Democratic Gubernatorial Forum


CHICAGO – Six of the eight Democratic candidates vying to replace Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018 met at Rainbow PUSH headquarters Fridaynight to convince voters they would do a better job of running the struggling state of Illinois.


“We’re living in trying times,” the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. said, opening the forum on the third day of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund’s 46th Annual International Convention. “Illinois has the highest rate of black unemployment in the nation.”


The six candidates agreed on key issues including a progressive income tax, campaign finance reform, increasing the minimum wage, the need for a more equitable state funding of education, opposition to public school vouchers and cracking down on gun violence and trafficking. The only disagreement was who would work harder to implement reforms or fight ineffective and unfair policies.


Moderator Brandis Friedman of WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” pointed out that the governor’s race is expected to be the most expensive in the country’s history with a price tag reaching $300 million.


“This race isn’t about money, it’s about values,” said candidate J.B. Pritzker, who emphasized his support of early childhood education and his financial support of programs to assist the wrongly convicted.


Chris Kennedy, former head of the Merchandise Mart, said he supports campaign finance reform as a way of leveling the political playing field. “It should be the quality of your ideas, not the size of your pocketbook” that matters,” he said.


The forum included many attacks on Gov. Bruce Rauner and his inability to pass the budget for the first two years of his administration.


“Bruce Rauner is a nightmare and Donald Trump is a tragedy,” said State Sen. Daniel Biss, a math teacher by profession. “Our state is screwed up and it will probably will be worse before one of us becomes governor in 2019.”


Bob Daiber of Madison County distinguished himself from the other candidates as “the only person south of I-80 running.” A public educator for more than 38 years, Daiber said he comes from a diverse community and understands issues such as poverty, which disproportionately affects the African American community.


“I don’t give up on people; I don’t give up on the state of Illinois,” Daiber said.


Chicago alderman, Ameya Pawar, the son of immigrants from India, said he is best suited to address the needs of the state’s diverse population. “Dad grew up in India with no running water and rations,” Pawar said. He cautioned the audience not to be divided by race or economics. “This is a game by design forced to keep us at the bottom fighting for scraps.”


Tio Hardiman, the former executive director of Ceasefire Violence Interrupters, who also ran for governor in 2014, reminded the audience that he is the only African American running. “I’m the only candidate that stood up against police brutality and excessive force,” he said.


While Hardiman said he is the best candidate for the office, he also said that “Anybody but Rauner” is one of the mantras of his campaign.


Democrats State Rep. Scott Drury and businessman Alex Paterakis are also running but were unable to attend the forum.


















Media Contact: Don Terry

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