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Editorials

Our view: Governor endorsement (Democrat): Pritzker

J.B. Pritzker meets with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Friday at the newspaper's office in Crystal Lake.
J.B. Pritzker meets with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board on Friday at the newspaper's office in Crystal Lake.

J.B. Pritzker has provided leadership and a vision on projects that have been success stories for Illinois.

He has led the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which he supported financially and led as chairman of the board, has advanced the cause of fighting bigotry and keeping alive the memories of people who lost their lives to an infamous genocide.

His work with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative has provided millions to help disadvantaged children across the country with support and access to early childhood learning programs.

Pritzker’s leading role in the establishment of the 1871 business incubator in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart has created thousands of jobs and helped to boost Chicago’s “Silicon Prairie” economy. It’s among the best incubators in the world.

These are the kind of results we would like to see spread to the state at large. Pritzker worked toward these ends and helped to get results, and so we endorse his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Pritzker and the other two leading candidates for the nomination have similar agendas.

Pritzker, Christopher Kennedy and Daniel Biss all favor a graduated income tax, like the federal model, where higher earners pay a higher tax rate. In fact, all of them seem to pin a lot of hope on such a change, which would require amending the state Constitution.

They all support marijuana legalization, and all three back gun-control measures, including mandatory licensing of gun dealers.

If elected, the candidates all have said that they will work with whichever legislative leaders are in power in the state House of Representatives and Senate – most likely two Chicago Democrats, including Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman. The days of being the only state in the country where there’s no guarantee of a budget passing from year to year will be over, they said.

Pritzker is not without flaws. He’s apologized for the way he referred to Secretary of State Jesse White as the “least offensive” African-American politician who could be appointed to the U.S. Senate while talking to Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008. He’s used questionable tactics to save hundreds of thousands in property tax on homes he owns in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Of the candidates, however, it’s Pritzker who controls the resources needed to be independent. Already, Pritzker has contributed $63 million to his campaign fund. He won’t be reliant on Madigan and the state party for financial support.

We have lukewarm interest in some aspects of the Democratic agenda in Illinois, and are skeptical that a graduated tax and other taxes upon the wealthy will lead to reduced property taxes for Illinois families.

However, Pritzker showed some familiarity with local landmarks and issues, and has a reputation for not practicing vindictive politics. We need more success stories born of a collaborative approach to leadership.

Pritzker has delivered these results. Among the Democrats for the job, he’s the best option.

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