Gov. Pritzker nearing reelection decision as session winds down

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — With session winding down, Governor Pritzker said he is nearing a decision about a reelection bid.

Democrats rammed through state redistricting maps that the governor says he’s still reviewing. The Democratic-controlled legislature used the once-a-decade redistricting process to draw state legislative and Supreme Court maps that favor their party.

As a candidate, Governor Pritzker supported an independent commission to draw new boundaries and he vowed to veto a partisan map.

“I favored a constitutional amendment for Illinois to have an independent commission that will draw maps, I do think that’s the better way to do this,” said Gov. Pritzker. “The legislature didn’t do that. That’s not something the governor can do.”

The governor says rather than complain about Democrats’ maps, Republicans should have come up with their own. When asked if there’s still a chance he could veto them, Pritzker replied, “of course.”

Pritzker said he’s hopeful that lawmakers will reconvene over the next week or two to vote on clean-energy legislation.

In the waning hours of session, Pritzker’s office had reportedly reached an agreement with Exelon to stave off possible nuclear power plant closures. But the deal fell apart when Senate President Don Harmon raised concerns about provisions to phase out coal-powered energy plants by 2035.

“This is a bill about fighting climate change, Illinois should be a leader in that,” Gov. Pritzker said. “This bill if we get it right will make us a leader.”

Mayor Lightfoot is furious that the Senate passed legislation, against her wishes, creating an elected Chicago Public School Board by 2027. The governor, who backs an elected board, is not ready to commit to signing the Senate plan.

“I don’t know that that’s the compromise of the whole legislature, that’s why I’m waiting for the House to act,” he said.

Lawmakers sent Pritzker a $42 billion budget that invests in infrastructure and other programs. But critics say it raises taxes on corporations while doing little to proactively support businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic.

“The Republicans are constantly lying about what this budget is,” said Pritzker. “We’re paying our debts in the state, we’re paying our bills. We also repaid the borrowing we got from the federal government. We put together one of the biggest small business grant programs in the entire country and thousands of thousands of businesses across the state of Illinois got grants.”

The governor says he’s nearing a decision about running for reelection, but he needs to talk it over with his family first. There are already three announced Republican candidates.

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