Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes just sent out an e-mail announcing he will challenge Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for governor in the Democratic primary.
Across Illinois, I have met countless families and individuals who, quite understandably, continue to feel great anxiety about their own economic futures and the future of our state.
Many of these people are struggling to deal with new economic pressures caused by the recession. Some have lost jobs, some have lost homes, and most are having an increasingly difficult time paying the bills. On top of their personal financial challenges, they also know that the state's finances are in disarray and that services that are critical to many them will, or already have been, cut.
Few of them hold much hope that state government can still play a positive role in their lives, or in their children's futures. They question whether state government has the leadership it needs to put its own fiscal affairs in order and help restore economic growth and opportunity for our citizens.
It's not an overstatement to say that Illinois is facing its greatest crisis in generations. We need a governor who can provide strong and consistent leadership for smart budget policies that will put us on solid fiscal ground. And we need a leader who will offer a clear, consistent and compelling vision for our state's future. We just can't afford to have someone leading our state who changes positions daily, without offering a clear sense of where we are going.
I have made the decision to run for governor because I know that Illinois must do better.
In the coming weeks I will make a formal announcement and kick off my campaign with events around the state, but I wanted you to know of my decision now because there are things we must do immediately to get ready.
I enter this campaign with the full knowledge that the task ahead will not be easy. We face an opponent who enjoys all the advantages of his incumbency. But I seek this office out of a deep sense of duty to our state and because I believe we must change our present course. There is too much at stake not to take action.
Restoring fiscal responsibility to Illinois is the foundation to allowing our government to do what matters: protect our seniors and those most in need, help the middle class grow by creating jobs and opportunity, and nurturing an education system that can give all Illinois children a chance for a better future. That's what the election is all about.
I've made this decision to run for governor with the full support of my family. And we do not underestimate the commitment this will require of all of us. My wife, Christina, a practicing physician who specializes in women's healthcare issues, has a very busy career of her own. And of course we are both busy raising our three boys. But we've decided to take on this challenge together, and we know it's the right decision for our family and our state.
I've dedicated much of my life to public service and always tried to stand up for what's right. I led the fight for ethics reform against Rod Blagojevich even as others looked away. In 2005, I proposed a series of reforms to end pay-to-play politics in Illinois. I issued an Executive Order to bring my own office under these restraints immediately and was awarded the Paul Simon Public Service Award for my commitment to good government in 2007.
While Rod Blagojevich recklessly spent our public funds for his own benefit, I spearheaded efforts to enforce greater fiscal responsibility. My warnings about our state's escalating long-term debt prompted the General Assembly to tighten budgetary controls in 2004. Two years later, I warned that we would face a budgetary crisis within four years - a reality we are confronting today.
And while serving as Comptroller I've practiced what I've preached. As our state faced a fiscal crisis, I've been busy reducing waste in my office cutting the size of my staff by more than 25 percent since 2002. These cost cutting moves have helped keep the portion of the Comptroller's budget directly under my control to a level that is less than what we spent in 2001.
I believe that I can offer the leadership this state needs at this critical time in its history.
I need your help now in circulating petitions to get on the ballot in the primary next February. With your hard work, I know we can change the direction of our state.
Please click here to download a petition and instructions.
Your support has always meant a great deal to me. Now together we will face our greatest challenge: putting Illinois back on the right track.