December 8 – Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and Lt. Gov.-elect Juliana Stratton continued their three-day tour to thank voters and volunteers during the campaign Saturday with multiple downstate appearances.
After visiting Taylorville to survey the tornado damage that occurred over the past weekend, Pritzker and company made a stop in Decatur. The event was held at IBEW Local 146 headquarters at 3390 N. Woodford Street, and began shortly after 4 p.m.
“We Democrats, when we pull together, we win,” Pritzker said. “We ran together as a ticket. That hasn’t happened in a long time. I am just so proud and pleased.”
Upon arrival, Pritzker and Stratton were greeted to applause from the audience and made their way around the crowd for a meet-and-greet. After shaking everyone’s hands and posing for a few photographs, Pritzker and Stratton headed up to the front of the room for the start of the introduction speeches.
Macon County Democratic Chair Jim Underwood, State Rep. Sue Scherer and State Sen. Andy Manar introduced the incoming executive leaders of Illinois.
“And finally, (we) have ourselves a good, wonderful, outstanding democratic governor,” Scherer said.
Manar added that during his first conversation with Pritzker, he knew “that he was: A) going to win, and B) going to be a good governor for not just part of Illinois, but for all of Illinois.”
Before bringing up Pritzker and Stratton to speak, Manar thanked them for their investment and fulfillment of promises they made during the campaign.
“Thank you for investing in this county and the 48th senate district and 96th house seat,” he said. “Your campaign did exactly what you promised. You fulfilled the promise you made early on. That does not go unnoticed by either of us or anybody in this room.”
Stratton started off by thanking organized labor and the audience for supporting the campaign.
“We just want to thank all of you for organized labor who have stood with us,” Stratton said. “We will stand with you when we get into office.”
Stratton recalled the question that Pritzker ended every speech with, during the campaign: “Are you ready for the fight?”
“I can tell you, you all have proven just like democrats all over this state that you were indeed ready for this fight,” Stratton said. “Now here we are, get ready to work.”
Stratton touched on some of the key points promoted during the campaign: affordable health care and veteran health care and treatment. She ended her portion of the speech by thanking all who voted for Pritzker.
“The only way this state can move forward is if all of us can be lifted up and every community could be lifted up,” she said. “I just wanted to say thank you; it was an incredible history-making effort. I couldn’t be prouder knowing that I get to be the partner of one of the greatest governors this state has ever had.”
Pritzker continued speaking about the history-making performance Stratton had previously mentioned.
“First of all, our margin of victory over the incumbent governor is the largest victory of any incumbent governor in the history of Illinois, he said.
Included among the audience were Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and Sheriff Tony Brown, who Pritzker made a quick shout out to. He spoke about how Macon County achieved things thought to be impossible.
“How about Landslide Chubby,” Pritzker remarked in light of Brown’s contested narrow victory. “Let’s keep him in place shall we?”
Pritzker also mentioned that he was eager to work with Moore Wolfe, who said that they would definitely get together.
Pritzker mentioned several counties that had not been won by democrats in a long time, including DuPage (1932), Champaign (’36) and Kane (’12), as well as Knox, Fulton, Jackson and Peoria. In total, Pritzker carried 16 counties, the most by a Democrat in a long time.
Some of the other key points from his campaign Pritzker touched on included fair wages, vocational training, labor unions, and the Equal Rights Amendment Act.
Pritzker ended his speech and the appearance by thanking everyone again and saying that big things happen when Democrats work together.
(Report by Dominique Smith; Photos by Meghan Whitlock)