Stratton takes back-stage in Pritzker administration
Juliana Stratton, who was elected as the lieutenant Governor running mate to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, has not been given the role she was promised. Instead, high profile issues are being handed out to Pritzker’s male cronies including former Comptroller Dan Hynes
By Ray Hanania
After J.B. Pritzker was elected, one of his first acts was to name three powerful men to serve as Deputy Governors who would advocate for specific issues he defined as important.
Pritzker named Dan Hynes, Christian Mitchell and Jesse Ruiz in December 2018to the powerful Deputy Governor post after he defeated the bumbling former Governor, Bruce Rauner.
A few weeks later, in what looked like an after-thought, Pritzker added a fourth Deputy Governor, a woman, Sol Flores.
It all seemed so strange. Why would Pritzker name ANY Deputy Governors after he promised during his election that his running mate, Juliana Stratton, an African American woman, would play a “significant role” in championing his issues? Stratton is Pritzker’s Lieutenant Governor, and unlike Hynes, Mitchell, Ruiz or Flores, she was actually empowered to office elected by the voters.
Pritzker called Stratton’s selection in August 2017 “one of the most important decisions of our campaign.” In truth, Pritzker was under pressure because he knew he was on wire-taps in the FBI investigation of former Governor Rod Blagojevich saying bad things about several African American politicians and leaders back in November 2008.
Stratton said Pritzker was giving “a strong voice” to women and African Americans. In reality, it helped offset the harsh criticism when the wire tap conversations had become public record.
I don’t really think Pritzker was planning to give Stratton any real power, at least not the power he has given Hynes, a former three-term Illinois Comptroller who lost a bid for governor to the mediocre Pat Quinn in 2010.
When Hynes appeared at the Chicago City Club recently, he announced a lot of major changes that included selling the Illinois Tollway Authority to the highest bidder. Immediately after, Pritzker fired the Tollway’s newly appointed Executive Director, Liz Gorman, by press release and without even calling her.
It was very disrespectful to Gorman, a woman who has played a strong role fighting for taxpayer interests. It was viciously personal, too.
No one thought to look into why Hynes was trashing the Tollway, although it was obvious to anyone who lives in the often marginalized Southwest Suburbs of Chicagoland. Hynes had run finances for his cousin, Pat Maher, who ran unsuccessfully in a bruising election in November 2010 against Liz Gorman when she was on the Cook County Board. Gorman won and the defeat undermined Maher’s political future. That was too personal for Hynes.
Immediately after Gorman took the Tollway post in February 2018, Hynes’ allies began hammering her, spinning biased, one-sided attacks in The Arlington Heights Daily Herald. In a dozen articles mostly before Gorman took office, The Herald accused the Tollway of awarding insider contracts, before Gorman was appointed to the post, something every state agency has done for years without a peep from the newspaper.
In tossing Gorman, Hynes used Pritzker and his powerful job as Deputy Governor to get his revenge. Pritzker has other more important problems that Hynes should be thinking about. Pritzker is overwhelmed in a tax hike debate after Pritzker promised he would champion the interests of Illinois taxpayers. Now, Pritzker wants to replace the constitutional Flat Income Tax with a Graduated Income Tax.
What does that do? Under the Flat Tax, politicians would be forced to percentage increase the income tax on everyone at the same time, including the poor or those in the middle class who are struggling at the bottom of the income range. But in a Graduated Tax, you can target increase, raising taxes on the Middle Class without worrying about “do-gooders” screaming about the burden being placed on the poor.
That’s a political prize every Machine politician seeks. Whose idea was it? Dan Hynes proposed the same idea back when he ran and lost against Quinn.
That’s the difference between Hynes and Pritzker, and Gorman. Gorman fought and blocked the Cook County Sales Tax hike when she was at the County Board. She is a strong voice against tax increases, unlike Pritzker and Hynes, apparently.
It would be great to know what Lt. Governor Stratton thinks about all this, I mean considering she’s “a strong voice” in Pritzker’s administration.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. He writes a syndicated column published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group, the South Suburban News, and here at SuburbanChicagoland.com. Hanania’s personal website is www.Hanania.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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