by Tracey Mendrek, Executive Vice President
The State of Illinois must be pulled back from the abyss, on that we can all agree, but “We the People” are as much to blame as the politicians that we send to Springfield every year. According to Progress Illinois, “The governor’s race typically draws a voter participation rate of about 50 percent.” Does that suggest that 50 percent of the electorate don’t know there is a race, don’t care or don’t understand how these races affect their pocketbooks?
Some of Governor Rauner’s $20 million war chest appears to be headed toward educating the citizens of Illinois on his plans and policies. Whether you agree or disagree with Eric Zorn’s perspective on Rauner’s continuous political campaign in the Chicago Tribune there is merit to taking the fight to the people. After all, at least 50 percent of Illinoisans elected this governor and general assembly, and 100 percent of Illinoisans have the right to make their voices heard on issues that continue to push the state into financial ruin.
As communicators we often counsel our clients to pro-actively tell their story and capitalize in the court of public opinion. There is a lot of speculation over how the governor plans to spend this money. Will he mount an ad campaign to urge taxpayers to call their legislators? Will he urge citizens to swallow their spinach and accept new taxes or budget cuts? Will he use his fund to punish legislators who don’t support his legislative agenda or will he support lawmakers who take tough votes? There will continue to be blow back on his campaign-style approach to governing, but political affiliations aside, Illinois needs our collective attention because time is running out.