Senate Black Caucus to Rauner: We need true leadership (VIDEO)

sos black caucus

Following the governor’s annual State of the State address, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus assembled for a press conference to discuss the reality of life for many individuals within the black community.

During today’s address, the governor deliberately omitted speaking on many of the struggles that face black and brown Illinoisans today. The caucus says opportunities for advancement are scarce and youth and senior services are being decimated.

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, delivered a clear message: “The governor did not acknowledge the billions of dollars we’re in debt due to his lack of governing. Today he said he would deliver a balanced budget but did not acknowledge all the cuts he would have to make in order to have a balanced budget unless there is additional revenue created.”  

Despite the governor’s inaction, the caucus has continued to focus on social justice, equitable access to education and social service funding for our most vulnerable populations.

“We have seen unemployment numbers increase over the years, but Governor Rauner has not made the necessary changes to improve the lives of all people,” said Senator Mattie Hunter. “We are going to have to fix this problem ourselves because this governor has failed to lead.”

The caucus will continue to put pressure on the governor to fulfill his duties of passing a budget, but not at the expense of health care, economic development and job opportunities.  

“We have had hospitals turn patients away because they do not have enough resources to aid the most vulnerable,” Said Senator Emil Jones III (D- Chicago). "It’s simple—access to quality health care is non-negotiable. We are demanding the governor to be fair and compassionate during budget talks.”

Along with disappointment, some members expressed the need for true leadership rather than the continued gubernatorial inaction.  

“It’s easy for the governor to give an empty speech about working together in a bipartisan fashion, but he has shown time and time again that he is unwilling to reach across the aisle,” said Senator Kwame Raoul. “His words ring hollow because he has acted more like a politician than a governor for the last three years, and only now has he decided to act like a bipartisan executive.”

The Senate Black Caucus remains dedicated to driving bipartisan cooperation as Illinois looks to move forward in the future.