Pritzker, Durbin rally with Democrats at Illinois State University
NORMAL (WGEM) - With six days to go until the General Election, Gov. JB Pritzker and Sen. Darren Bailey are making their final rounds across the state. Pritzker held a ‘Get Out the Vote’ meet and greet event with students at Illinois State University Wednesday.
The governor said he loves to see young people civically engaged as he was a College Democrat many years ago. Pritzker noted that there may be future governors voting in Illinois today.
“It’s very important that we get young people voting, that we get them knocking on doors, that they’re out really talking about the issues,” Pritzker said. “Young people are carrying this country forward.”
The Chicago Democrat said Illinois lawmakers were able to pass the historic Climate and Equitable Jobs Act because young people were activists calling for action to address climate change. He also thanked young Illinoisans for pushing the state to raise the minimum wage.
Students meeting with Pritzker and other Democratic leaders said young people need to keep that momentum and vote.
“It matters in all stages of your life,” said Chloe Miller. “It’s gonna matter when you’re 50 [years old]. It’s gonna matter now. It matters right now, because you vote for things like infrastructure changes and you vote for things such as your county board.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said he is excited to see the political engagement on campus as we get closer to election day.
“In my memory, there were days where we’d never gather a rally like this before an election in McLean County,” Durbin said. “But things have changed, and they’ve changed for the better.”
Several students held signs and wore pins stating “Women For JB,” as many feel reproductive rights are on the ballot post-Roe. ISU Junior Kerem Tasdan said this is a show of force against negative momentum across the country, with states banning abortion and limiting access to health care for women.
“We as American citizens, as Illinois residents, are taking a stand along with JB leading the way to actually stand up for a woman’s right to choose and for health care in general,” Tasdan said.
The political science major said this election is one of the most important elections young people have seen in their lifetime. Tasdan stressed that it’s important for everyone to use their voices in shaping who represents their state and communities.
Tasdan and Miller are both interns with the ISU Center for Civic Engagement. Miller said she has encouraged students to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.
“They care about women’s issues. They care about student issues such as voting on campus,” Miller said. “They were the ones who campaigned for us to have two locations. I’m voting Democratic this year as well as all the other years, because they care about what I care about.”
Miller said she was glad to have Pritzker on campus to meet students and get them more active in state and local politics. Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) also spent time meeting with possible constituents as his redrawn district stretches to Illinois State. Koehler said that he is already traveling to Bloomington-Normal four to five times a week.
“If we get our people out to vote, we win. We’re not going back,” Koehler said. “I’ve been in the legislature now long enough that I’ve had four governors. This is the best one. We need to keep him.”
McClean County Board Member Sharon Chung is running for the 91st House District against Republican Normal Town Council Member Scott Preston. Pritzker said Chung would be the first Democrat to represent ISU in quite a long time. The governor said Chung is a mom, teacher, musician, and someone who cares deeply about advancing the state. Chung noted that she is grateful that Pritzker and other state leaders support reproductive health care.
“It’s huge. This is the reason that I got into political activism when I was really young,” Chung said. “It’s so great to feel that we have the support in Illinois where we’ve got a governor and got people all up and down the ticket that really do support a woman’s right to choose so we can protect that for me and my children and for generations to come.”
Pritzker said he is feeling great about his campaign as the final countdown is on. The Democrat will continue to travel across the state until Election Day. Bailey has also planned rallies in Effingham, Wheeling, Maryville, Bloomington, Rock Island, Roscoe, Chicago, and Merrionette Park.
The General Election is on Nov. 8.
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