The silence on significant issues from the men running for governor this election cycle has been deafening. We need answers, guys. Residents have questions, too.
GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, dubbed “the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country” by Politico, and Democrat J.B. Pritzker, portrayed as in lockstep with House Speaker Michael Madigan, of Chicago, have increased election appearances after a tepid summer. Political ads have been popping up, but we’re still far from them facing each other in a debate.
We’ve been critical of these candidates for lackluster campaigning at a time when our state has so many roadblocks. We’re practically begging for some excitement in this race.
But we’re not holding our breath.
An NBC News/Marist poll last week put undecided voters at 13 percent, a pretty low figure given that we’re at the end of August. Pritzker scored 46 percent, Rauner 30 percent, Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson 6 percent and Conservative Party candidate state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, 4 percent.
What does it all mean? It could suggest voters just don’t care about these mega-rich candidates, who don’t need to fundraise, or that Rauner is in trouble. Those third-party candidates could peel off more right-leaning candidates.
Not helping is that neither Pritzker or Rauner has an easily understandable plan for meat and potato issues like infrastructure. We continue to believe fixing an issue like potholes on state roads would be a wise campaign tactic.
The problem is funding, and there is no solution. We haven’t had a comprehensive capital bill since 2009’s $31 billion “Illinois Jobs Now!” plan, which always struck us as sounding like a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game.
Pritzker has pointed to user taxes, such as fees on purchases online, sports betting and legalized pot. There’s no way that’s going to be enough.
We certainly don’t have a clear sense yet about tangible ways to fix issues like pensions and workers compensation.
Rauner has made strides in this area, as well as cutting regulatory burdens and exploring the incredibly dense layers of taxing bodies in our state.
Will the upcoming debates help us understand these two? We hope so. But we also need the help from readers like you.
What do you want to see in the next leader of our state? What are the priorities?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our pitch to you: Share your thoughts on this opinion page. Hearing from you, and starting a dialogue, is a role we’re eager to play.