The Bridge Editorial Staff
The editorial staff of The Bridge has made the unanimous and unusual decision to endorse a candidate for governor. On March 20, 2018 the choice for Lewis & Clark students is clear. Daniel Biss is the best choice for governor of Illinois.
So what were we looking for in a candidate? First, as students in Illinois, we are personally affected by Illinois’ tumultuous budget history. Our paper has previously covered the ways two years without a budget under Bruce Rauner affected college students, specifically by leaving MAP Grants without funding. We simply cannot afford to go through that again. And that’s just the beginning. Lewis & Clark will struggle even more to keep all of its valuable, economy-driving programs running without a portion of funding from the state.
Daniel Biss is a candidate with concrete plans to reform Illinois’ tax code to fix the budget. It will take a fight; his plan would introduce progressive tax rates on higher earners and start taxing financial transactions at the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. These moves won’t be popular with billionaire political donors, or billionaire candidates like Bruce Rauner, J.B. Pritzker, or Chris Kennedy. But they will make a difference in starting to bring in the money we desperately need as a state.
Biss has a plan to make higher education available for free to qualified students in Illinois. Similar plans in other states have increased both high school and college graduation rates. It’s time for Illinois to put our students first.
That was the idea behind the Student Loan Bill of Rights, which Biss sponsored. Despite Bruce Rauner’s attempt to veto, this legislation protects Illinois students from dishonest loan companies that were driving us into unnecessary debt. This history of standing up for students makes Biss the strongest candidate to support our interests as governor.
We are not only students, but members of a diverse campus community. Some of our friends and fellow classmates were brought to this country as children without documentation. These are the students who were protected by DACA. Unlike Bruce Rauner, who supported President Trump’s decision to end DACA, Biss responded with a strong statement of condemnation. “The case for DACA is morally clear. Tearing apart families is immoral. Hurting children for the actions of their parents is immoral,” the statement said in part. As a legislator, Biss sponsored the TRUST Act, which protects immigrants in Illinois from being detained solely because of their immigration status. His record proves that he will stand by our undocumented classmates.
And finally, as Illinoisans, we are tired of our state’s reputation for corruption and graft. We needed to pick someone who isn’t part of the political “machine.” J.B. Pritzker, Biss’ Democratic opponent, is sadly example #1 of an establishment candidate. As the heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, he hasn’t even bothered with traditional political fundraising. Instead, he has dumped $63.2 million and counting into his own campaign. That’s not just an Illinois record for total campaign spending, but a national one. And as a former major source of funds for Speaker Mike Madigan and former governor Rod Blagojevich, he has the ear of plenty of powerful people who owe him a favor. So why even bother with getting grassroots support when you’ve got all that?
Daniel Biss, however, is not here to please the “machine.” In fact, Biss promises six key reforms, known as Rewriting the Rules, that would make it harder for politicians to hang onto power, and easier for voters to choose candidates who actually represent them. And as a middle-class former teacher, he has raised funds for his campaign entirely through grassroots donations. That makes him, almost by default, the people’s candidate. And for all the reasons above, the people have chosen well.
Please keep our endorsement in mind when you head to the polls this March 20. Vote for the candidate who will stand by our interests as students and working people. Vote for the candidate who will protect the immigrants who have earned a place in our classrooms and community. Vote for the candidate who will take steps against the corruption in Springfield.
The Bridge Editorial Staff
Helen Jarden, Editor-in-Chief
Stephanie Larson, Editorial Writer