Op-ed: Reimagine Illinois

I’d like to ask you to reimagine our state as a place where corrupt officials don’t make the rules, and responsible fiscal leadership is the norm. A state where we are growing jobs and opportunities while also providing for public safety. This isn’t a pipe dream. This is possible, and the House Republican Caucus has a plan to make it happen – Reimagine Illinois. 

The first pillar of our Reimagine Illinois plan focuses on ending Illinois’ culture of corruption. By exposing and eliminating conflicts of interest, banning members of the General Assembly from lobbying, re-balancing our power structure, and empowering citizens to be active participants in their state government, we can move toward an honest and ethical state government that serves the people of Illinois, not the people in power. 

If we want to charter a better path for our state going forward, the next thing we have to do is ensure responsible fiscal leadership. Instead of passing unbalanced budgets that rely on gimmicks and accounting tricks – as has been done for decades – we must require all budgets to balance. We have to adopt a more transparent budgeting processes that ensures all appropriations bills are thoroughly vetted by legislators and allows time for public comment. As our pension crisis continues to grow – crowding out essential services and putting state finances in jeopardy – we must reform this system.

Creating a strong future for Illinois will require growing jobs and opportunities. Our state is rich with a talented workforce – we must capitalize on that. We need to care for Illinois families, ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare and forward-thinking education for our state’s children. By establishing an apprenticeship education program to ensure our workforce has the skills needed in an ever-changing economy, we can strengthen the foundation of our economy. Finally, we have to eliminate the overregulation and governmental mandates that inhibit job creators. 

Ensuring public safety for Illinois families must also be a priority. We need to reform the process to make sure our public safety officials are adequately prepared for their difficult and incredibly important careers, support law enforcement, and study some of the recent changes in public safety law. 

This may seem ambitious, but these are attainable goals if we work together, in a bipartisan way, to reimagine an Illinois that our children and grandchildren will want to live in, we can transform Illinois.

Learn more at https://reimagineillinois.com

This op-ed by State Representative Seth Lewis originally ran in the Bartlett Examiner