Pritzker gets local Democratic endorsements

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker added some Rock Island County endorsements during a Quad City stop Thursday, February 22.

State Representative Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island) joined Rock Island County Board chairman Ken Maranda, Sheriff Gerry Bustos, and State's Attorney McGehee in endorsing the billionaire businessman who is trying to unseat Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.  (Sheriff Bustos' wife, US Representative Cheri Bustos, endorsed Pritzker in October)

But Pritzker must beat five other Democrats in the March 20 Illinois primary including Chris Kennedy and State Senator Daniel Biss.

Pritzker is businessman who says he's nothing like other billionaire businessmen-turned-politicians like Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner.

"I'm quite different from both of them, I'm really nothing like them."

What he says he is: a successful jobs-creator and champion of social justice.

But he's also been criticized for being too close to controversial House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"I disagree with the Speaker on a number of things..."

And then there's that taped phone conversation with disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich released by the Rauner campaign.

"While I made some mistakes on that call and I didn't push back on the Governor enough for about things that he said, my intentions were good but I was wrong on the call," said Pritzker.

Pritzker's latest Quad City visit was designed to show solidarity with leading area Democrats less than a month from the Illinois Primary.

But in our interview, he re-iterated the need to present a balanced budget, fund programs that create jobs, and change the Illinois tax system so state taxpayers pay more for education and local districts rely less on the property tax rolls.

"So if we can just even it out more and put more onto the state level and have a progressive tax rate at the state level, those who can most afford will be able to step up to the plate and cut the local tax level, we can lower local property taxes."

Pritzker also called for legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois saying it will bring in added tax revenues.   He also said he would review and commute the sentences of people in prison for marijuana crimes.