Governor J.B. Pritzker officially took office Monday promising a bright future for Illinois.
His vision focuses on an investment in infrastructure and the economy.
Pritzker and his Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton are also pushing for cooperation across party lines.
The mood at the Governor’s inaugural gala was one of celebration and energy – two themes also present in his inaugural speech, preaching a future and vision he has for Illinois.
Minutes after he took the oath of office, Pritzker’s speech served as a rallying cry and what seemed to be a jab at outgoing former-governor Bruce Rauner.
“That starts with leadership that abandons single-minded, arrogant notions. No. Everything is not broken,” said Pritzker.
His speech turned quickly from the past to the present and what he sees as the path to Illinois’ future.
“Our obligations as a state outweigh our resources. Our fiscal situation is challenging. But, be clear about this: I won’t balance the budget on the backs of the starving, the sick and the suffering.”
The Democrat touted a devotion to reinvesting in Illinois’ failing infrastructure, which he said could be used to make the state a booming national economy.
“As we enter Illinois’ third century, we must bring a Renaissance to downstate Illinois, which has been deprived of some basic resources.”
Announcements of statewide high-speed internet, joining the U.S. Climate Alliance and a focus on vocational and community colleges earned huge cheers from the crowd.
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton mirrored his need to build a united state.
“Community building is done when we refuse to let our narrow self-interest be the sole guiding force,” said Stratton.
And as he stepped away, Pritzker tried to share his vision for a brighter Prairie State.
“Together, let’s go into this new century with enough faith to help each other out of our troubles, with enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference in this world, and with enough kindness to find the courage to change,” Pritzker said.
The day ended with live music, endless food and drink, and a room full of people ready to party.
Guests took to the dance floor to celebrate in what is normally a fair exposition space now filled with sparkling chandeliers. The excitement was evident on the faces of all the attendees after a day full of speeches promising a bright future for Illinois
While a time full of music and cheer, many of the local leaders from central Illinois said there is much to be done.
Peoria City Councilman Sid Ruckeriegel said, “We’ve got several initiatives – we got the pension reform, we got a capital bill that we would like to see come through that would affect our area as well. And so I think that today is the beginning of the next couple of years and we’ve all got to be able to work for the better of Illinois.”
“Given the sort of fractured relationship between the Governor and the General Assembly the last four years I’m here to support a positive step forward for everyone because the community I represent wants Springfield to work and that’s what I’m here to cheer on,” said Peoria County Chairman Andrew Rand.
Both gentlemen said they are hopeful that Illinois can work together to create bi-partisan agreements to better the state.
Bi-partisan or not, the Pritzker administration is in position to get a lot done with a Democratic House, Senate and Super-majority.