Legislators representing Northwest Illinois had strong words for first-term Democrat Governor JB Pritzker’s handling of the COVID pandemic in Illinois on Wednesday, with Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) going so far as to say, “while Governor Pritzker has certainly made sure to hit the cable news circuit about all he’s done, he needs to get Illinois going again…safely.”
“It is wrong for the Governor to run the state by himself through Executive Orders. We, the people’s elected representatives, should be participating in the decision-making process about how to protect the health of Stateline area families while taking responsible action to start safely relaxing some of the restrictions… NOW,” said Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford). “We live in a democracy, after all, not a monarchy.”
Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) agreed with his colleagues’ sentiments, saying, “Governor Pritzker commuted the sentences of known murderers and released hundreds more prisoners into unknowing communities during this crisis. Further, he failed to protect the safety and welfare of correctional officers under his charge. Despicable!” described Cabello, referencing recent news reports that correctional employees sent to assist with the outbreak at other hotspots in the State were not quarantined nor tested as promised to them by the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Recent actions of great concern taken by Governor Pritzker include failing to address an immense backlog of over 650,000 unemployment applications and adjudications (some unemployed since mid-March in Illinois will not see benefits until May 11, or after), commutation and release of hundreds of prisoners from correctional centers in our State (some of which were convicted of violent crimes and murders), and confusing and often contradictory advice given to businesses by DCEO about whether they are essential.
Further, guidance has been given by Governor Pritzker’s state agencies to halt routine medical procedures including routine oral health care and some mammograms and screening colonoscopies, which concerns medical advocates about lowered diagnosis and delayed treatment rates moving forward. Hospitals have become a strong backbone of many local economies in Illinois, yet they have collectively cancelled procedures that families need to stay healthy, all while most have adequate capacity to treat COVID cases which may arise in their regions.
“Today, we demand the Governor regionally re-open the State of Illinois. Families are hurting from this economic shutdown. Very few businesses have any ability to weather more than 30 days of shutdown. As members of a co-equal branch of State Government, we cannot run Illinois with no checks and balances. The legislature needs to be involved in decisions to safely open regionally. There are real, serious consequences to continued shutdown that must be discussed before decisions are made,” chided Rep. Chesney.