Pritzker, Pelosi put emphasis on values

U.S. House speaker commits to working ‘for the people’ at annual Dems’ rally

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. J.B. Pritzker speak at a news conference following their speeches to the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. J.B. Pritzker speak at a news conference following their speeches to the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association. (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

By Ted Cox

SPRINGFELD — Both Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi placed a heavy emphasis on Democratic values representing the overall sentiment of the American people at the annual Democratic rally ahead of Governor’s Day at the State Fair Wednesday in Springfield.

Pelosi, Pritzker, and other top state Democrats spoke at the annual brunch meeting of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association.

Pelosi said she’d been credited with unifying Democrats in Congress, but that in reality “our values unify us.” She described the central theme of Democratic initiatives as being “for the people,” a phrase that resonates with President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Pritzker too emphasized Democratic values as the people’s values, saying that, with the ambitious agenda passed by the General Assembly this year, “We built a wall around our country’s most sacred and important values, and we told America that we will keep those values safe until sanity is restored to the White House.”

The governor cited the $15 minimum wage, a balanced state budget, the $45 billion capital bill, the Reproductive Health Act, an “equity-centric” legal-cannabis law, and next year’s referendum on a graduated state income tax as initiatives that represent the will of the majority of the people.

Pelosi added that the U.S. House had passed similar measures on the minimum wage and gun control, and that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was standing in the way of their passage, even though a majority of the public supports them.

She issued a warning to McConnell with a direct quote from Lincoln, saying, “In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed.”

“Persistent, bold experimentation,” she said, “is the vitality of the Democratic Party.”


“Persistent, bold experimentation … is the vitality of the Democratic Party.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (One Illinois/Ted Cox)

Pritzker chided Republicans for staging what he called a “whisper campaign” against Democrats and their political ideals, saying they use “code words” and “dog whistles” to put forth racism and the politics of privilege.

“The days of trying to shame Democrats for fighting for social economic justice for working families, well those days are over,” Pritzker said. “Illinois showed the entire nation what happens when Democrats get to work.”

Both attacked President Trump, and they were joined by others in a series of speeches to the thousands of Democrats gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

“No one is above the law,” Pelosi said, but otherwise she made no reference to possible impeachment in the U.S. House, and no other speaker mentioned it either. But Trump nonetheless caught plenty of flak.

“The president continues to undermine our Constitution,” Pelosi said. Citing his position on climate change and the environment, she said, “He has no respect for God’s creation, the land of America,” nor for “a nation of immigrants, which he disrespects as well.

“In order for us to do the best for our country, we must win the election” next year, Pelosi said, calling it “a big vote to change who is in the White House.” She added that she came to Springfield to “catch the spark of Illinois, catch the spark of the heartland of America,” and that victory in next year’s presidential election “will spring from” that.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth once again called Trump “Cadet Bone Spurs,” making reference to how he avoided military service during the Vietnam War through a doctor’s excuse.

U.S. Sen Dick Durbin lauded Pelosi for confronting Trump and said, “Why does Nancy scare the president so much? He knows she is strong where he is weak.”

“Right now, there is a battle being waged for the soul of our nation,” Pritzker said. Retooling his campaign slogan from last year, he roused the crowd by saying, “Are you ready to fight not just for Illinois, but for America?”

Kristina Zahorik, McHenry County chair and president of the statewide association, said, “We took out one bad leader,” meaning former Gov. Bruce Rauner, “and we are ready to take on another.”