Child care providers, parents, academics, legislators, business group representatives, small business owners, moms.
In the auditorium of a state building Tuesday, about three dozen Illinoisans testified against the rules changes by Bruce Rauner that are destroying the Child Care Assistance Program.
It was the first in a series of hearings that continue Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago.
Several of the citizens who testified were accompanied by their kids-or the kids they care for-including Peoria Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, whose 15-month-old daughter Jianna accompanied her onstage.
“There is a solution,” Gordon-Booth said, referencing her co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 570, which would reverse the Rauner rules changes that are excluding more than 90 percent of previously eligible applicants.
That was good news for Galesburg parent Chante Morrison, denied care under the Rauner rules: “There needs to be action taken and it needs to happen immediately.”
Morrison, a mother of two, testified that without the child care, she lost her job at a big box store because the $10 per hour she made was, by Rauner’s judgment, too much to qualify.
Tiki Tunstall, a provider from Belleville, testified that the changes are denying opportunities to parents who want to better themselves.
And Adriene Jones, a provider from Springfield, wondered why Rauner could find money for a big corporation like ConAgra, whose subsidy could top $1 million, while leaving poor and working families in the lurch: “I think Governor Rauner owes it to them…to treat them with the same care, respect and dignity that he gives to fellow millionaires.”
Gordon-Booth sounded a hopeful note as she ended the hearing, saying that on October 20th, when the House of Representatives is back in session, there may be the 71 votes required to overturn the Rauner rules.
“We need a solution…Now.”