Legislators like me who represent Stateline districts know a little something about what it is like to imagine a better state. Many of the most flawed policies of the State of Illinois stop at our state borders.
This provides legislators who represent Stateline districts a unique vantage point to observe the classic “grass is greener on the other side” axiom. There is no doubt, Illinois has profound challenges to deal with and reforms are needed across a swath of government programs and services.
Despite legislating from the minority in Illinois House, I am proud of the caucus platform we have rolled out and named Reimagine Illinois. The policy platform begins with a challenge. The platform asks struggling Illinois taxpayers to imagine an Illinois where corruption isn’t making headlines and lawmakers are held accountable, to imagine an Illinois with an honest and transparent State government, to imagine an Illinois where leaders take their fiscal responsibility seriously watching every penny instead of raising taxes and debt year-after-year, to imagine an Illinois where every community has good paying jobs, access to healthcare and educational opportunities that work for all students, and to imagine an Illinois where all neighborhoods are free of senseless violence and our streets are safe places for our kids to grow up.
After the November election, our leadership tasked members to collaborate and develop a path towards a better Illinois. A productive Illinois. Illinoisans made a strong statement in November that they want real change, and the minority party listened to the voices of working families across Illinois in developing this policy platform.
Reimagine Illinois consists of four components, each of which includes a list of introduced bills to reflect those initiatives: ending the culture of corruption, responsible fiscal leadership, growing jobs and opportunities for our families, and ensuring public safety.
Despite the reality that legislating from the minority is difficult in the best of times, let alone the times we live in today, I am proud to be a part of the solution to the biggest problems facing Illinois. It is easy to cater to special interest in Springfield; it is far more difficult to fight for something, let alone a long-term vision that corrects the missteps in building long-term prosperity for our states’ residents. Things have gotten off on the wrong track in Illinois. If we want to succeed in changing that, we must lead with strong ideas and work to build consensus around those ideas.
To know where we are going, we have to look ahead to where we want to go from where we’ve been. Reimagine Illinois builds that vision for Illinois under shared principles that are equally as persuasive to Carroll County taxpayers as Cook County taxpayers. For far too long, Republicans have permitted Democrats to create the narrative that the party is simply the “party of no”. Certainly, we have all heard that criticism. Reimagine Illinois turns our rhetoric for reform into action with over 80-plus meaningful reform bills proposed this Session. These are bills proposed and not opposed.
The Reimagine Illinois proposals are realistic and common-sense policies that reimagine Illinois as a destination to live, work, play. I call on my colleagues across the aisle and the state to sincerely consider the platform we are proposing as a path forward to restore the trust of Illinois taxpayers and provide for the kind of future opportunities that can position Illinois for stability and growth.
Reimagine Illinois reforms are needed, like a spring storm, to recharge our roots and make the grass greener here to keep more residents, taxpayers, children, and grandchildren in this state we love. Those interested in learning more about the platform, the legislation included and ways to get involved, can visit the website reimagineillinois.com.