(Editor's note: State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), seeking the Republican nomination for governor in the March 20 primary, spoke at a City Club of Chicago luncheon on Monday. In her speech, she drew contrast to sitting Gov. Bruce Rauner, whom she claims has betrayed voters by adopting a progressive social agenda. She also discussed her provocative ad, "Thank you, Bruce Rauner." Her campaign issued a statement summarizing her remarks, addressing how public policy had shaped her life experiences and explaining her vision).
To the Editor:
After graduation while Paul and I were stationed in West Germany, the Wall separating West and East Germany came down. It was a historic moment I will never forget. And, Ronald Reagan proved again – as our best leaders have before - that building coalitions and strong leadership delivers results.
According to Gallup, Illinois is number one in the country in the percentage of its residents who believe they live in the worst state, number one in the nation in the percentage of people who want to leave—50 percent of Illinois residents say they want to leave—and we are number one in actual out-migration.
The reason is simple: our politics.
People are being driven out of a state they don’t otherwise want to leave because our politics makes it unaffordable and undesirable to remain.
It’s so bad even the politicians are leaving. We’ve had some 30 retirements from the General Assembly this year. They’ve given up.
But I haven’t.
Democrat legislators in the House are not zombies under the mind control of Mike Madigan.
Many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are fully aware of the severity of the problems Illinois faces and want a governor they can work with to make Illinois a vibrant, fiscally stable state that fulfills its services responsibilities to Illinois families.
If the Republican Party is being honest with itself, which it certainly has not been under Bruce Rauner, we have not done a very good job of making the arguments for our policy solutions and building the coalitions of support.
On property taxes, the first thing we should do is move the Illinois GOP headquarters from downtown Chicago to the heart of south suburban Cook County, a region decimated by confiscatory property taxes—and completely controlled by Democrats—to relentlessly make our case on property taxes and the range of other economic opportunity issues. We need to be on site where the problem is at its worst.
Nothing is more important than constant, relentless engagement with families who have played by the rules in this state only to see their homes being taken and their jobs disappearing.
The people know things are bad. They aren’t buying the politicians’ “don’t believe your lying eyes” routing.
They are adults. They deserve to be leveled with and brought along every step of the way so they understand why a particular policy course is being chartered, where it leads, and how we’re going to get there.
Please if you do not have an inquisitive mind or the courage to speak up – do not run for public office.
So what the commercial that is generating the expected hysteria from the expected quarters attempted to do, admittedly provocatively, was to properly and truthfully characterize the extreme issue positions Rauner took and their implications.
The commercial does not attack people, it tackles issues by truthfully illustrating the constituencies Rauner has chosen to serve to the exclusion of others.
As Christians, we believe every person is made in God’s image and deserving of dignity. I respect people who are different than me. I respect people who have different views than me.
In fact, it seems that the converse is not true among many with whom I disagree. They shouldn’t be silenced but neither should I. And I won’t be.
I wish the Sir Galahad theory of politics--I shall win because I'm more pure-of-heart--was true. The occupants of the halls of power would be a lot different. This race would be over.
Unfortunately, it isn't.
The truth is uncomfortable for some and ignored by others. Certainly, it has been a stranger to Bruce Rauner during his time as Governor.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives
Republican for Illinois Governor