Positively Naperville: Working Together

Each month Rep. Grant Wehrli publishes a column in the Positively Naperville newspaper. Below is the column that was published in early January:

On January 14, J.B. Pritzker will become Illinois’ 43rd Governor. His swearing-in puts the final ingredient in place for Democrat super-majorities in the House and Senate, and Democrat control over which bills are signed into law. Republicans will certainly engage in some spirited policy discussions in Springfield during the next General Assembly. But rather than focusing on the issues that divide us, I’ll be looking for opportunities for bipartisanship— and there will be plenty— with this new administration.

On the campaign trail, J.B. Pritzker spoke about some policy issues where Republicans will certainly offer resistance. But he also spoke about the importance of supporting small businesses and job creation, the need to end the gerrymandering of legislative districts, and instituting term limits for legislative leaders. This is shared ground. It offers new opportunities to move our state forward in meaningful ways.

Governor-elect Pritzker told the Chicago Tribune, “The best new revenue comes from expanding the economy by growing new and existing Illinois businesses and by attracting businesses from outside Illinois.” I couldn’t agree more and I look forward to working on a pro-business policy agenda that prioritizes job creation. The current high cost of doing business in Illinois is a deterrent for entrepreneurs and others who wish to bring jobs to this state. Improving the business climate is a great step toward improving the economy and increasing state revenue in ways that don’t include new taxes.

Our incoming Governor also said he supports policies that will end the political gerrymandering of legislative maps. For far too long, politicians have drawn legislative maps that include or exclude certain blocs of voters. The current method protects the majority party incumbents. By taking the map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians, we can ensure fairer elections and restore some integrity to our democratic process.

Lastly, the people of Illinois are clamoring for term limits, and I am pleased to know that our incoming Governor said he would sign legislation that puts term limits in place for legislative leaders. In Illinois, we currently have the longest-serving Speaker of the House in U.S. history. This must change. Term limits for legislative leaders would allow for a healthy turnover of leadership and ideas.

There are those who will want to focus on the negative in this next General Assembly. I believe a much more productive course of action will be to find our common ground and use it as the starting point of respectful and productive policy debates that ultimately put Illinois back onto the path of prosperity.