Final forum more of the same for Pritzker and Bailey, although Bailey renames Chicago “Pritzkerville”

Bailey and Pritzker

State Sen. Darren Bailey and Gov. JB Pritzker

The candidates for governor met on the same stage for the last time in the general election cycle Tuesday, and it was mainly a recitation of the points the candidates made in the two previous forums.

Both candidates were asked for further specifics on topics which CNI Bureau Chief Jerry Nowicki noted needed clarity after the previous debate.

On SAFE-T Act changes, Gov. JB Pritzker said the law needs clarity on what happens to people held in lieu of cash bail when the law takes effect Jan. 1.

But he didn’t go into specifics beyond that. After the debate, however, the governor said he wanted to “make sure there’s no such thing as a non-detainable offense” created under the law.

When the Republican candidate, state Sen. Darren Bailey, was asked how he’d eliminate $10-$15 billion of waste from the state budget, he wouldn’t name any proposed cuts. He once again said he would fire all state agency directors and his new hires would “ferret out” the waste and fraud. But he once again declined to name any specific cuts.

Bailey was also non-specific on abortion policies, saying he would not be able to get anything done on the topic if he wanted to. And he said he would improve the Department of Children and Family Services by firing the director and hiring a new one, although he didn’t state a specific plan for the agency. Pritzker said he doesn’t plan to fire the director because it wouldn’t solve any problems at the agency.

Pritzker, meanwhile, repeated several times that Bailey “has no plan” for how he would improve state government, and he restated his budget accomplishments for his first term, which include increased funding for State Police and human services in most budget years. And regarding infrastructure, Pritzker pointed out Bailey voted against a measure to fund roads and bridges.

“All those roads that are getting built, Darren Bailey wouldn’t have built them,” Pritzker said.

Bailey also declined to answer questions about the private fundamentalist Christian school in downstate Louisville he and his wife founded in 2016. Pritzker has alleged in advertising that the school, Full Armor Christian Academy, has taught text published by Bob Jones University Press, an organization known for portraying slavery in forgiving terms in versions of its texts.

“That school is not political to me, and I’m not bringing it into this campaign,” he said. “And I don’t know where that’s at if it was ever in that curriculum, but it is JB Pritzker who’s bringing CRT issues and cultural issues into our schools.”

CRT, short for critical race theory, references an educational framework aimed at analyzing the role race plays in the legal system and American history, but it is not required in Illinois law or statewide curriculum.

Bailey did, however, throw out a new term for the city of Chicago when asked about his previous references to the city being a hellhole: Pritzkerville. And he said it’s a nightmare.

“Governor Pritzker’s extreme policies are destroying the city,” Bailey said, later adding he hasn’t met with Chicago city leaders although he said he has made himself available.

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