CHICAGO-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher in response to Tuesday’s general election results:
“Yesterday we saw an unprecedented tidal wave of cash from Bruce Rauner and a few of his billionaire friends rejected by millions of Illinois voters who value fairness and fair play, who believe that the budget should NOT be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable and those least able to pay, and who reject an agenda that caters only to a handful of millionaires and billionaires.
“Illinois held the line against national trends and we are proud to have been part of a movement that proves that organized people can beat organized money.
“In this vein, voters in Illinois sent back to Springfield a General Assembly overwhelmingly opposed to the Rauner agenda, which includes unconscionable cuts to home healthcare for seniors and people with disabilities, and cuts to child care, which helps working families.
“Republican legislative candidates were forced to run directly AWAY from the Rauner agenda. Challengers were outspent by substantial margins and, even facing those odds and while Rauner picked up a few seats, a champion like Katie Stuart was able to prevail against an entrenched incumbent.
“And in the one place where the Rauner agenda WAS on the ballot statewide, Susana Mendoza was able to defeat his self-proclaimed “wing man,” who was directly associated with the signature feature of this governor’s administration, his failure to properly
prioritize and fund social services for children, seniors and people with disabilities.
“It’s time for Gov. Rauner to heed the voices of his citizens, to release his budget hostages and to immediately get to the work of passing a fully funded budget that honors our commitments and values — and requires sacrifices from ALL Illinoisans, not just the poorest and most vulnerable.
“And it’s up to the next General Assembly to stand up for the people across Illinois who cried out Tuesday through the voice of their ballot that they want no part of Rauner’s divisive ‘Turnaround Agenda’ and who instead want an economy and a state government that works for everyone.
“Our members worked hard up and down the ticket with our allies to stand up to Rauner’s toxic blizzard of money. We expect this same coalition to grow in strength and to continue to oppose any effort to dismantle the social safety net or attack the rights of workers in Illinois.”