Positions on Pritzker
December 12, 2018
Two students of different political beliefs shared their thoughts on Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s policies on four key issues. Answers were edited for clarity and length.
Ben Meyer, sophomore, identifies as politically conservative
LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA: I’m pro-legalization as are many contemporary conservatives because they tend to lean more towards personal liberties, and libertarianism is sort of woven into the contemporary conservative movement. I think that if one wants to smoke marijuana recreationally, I think there’s overwhelming research that would suggest that isn’t extremely detrimental to their health. I think we should have the right to. I think it’s also a government overstep if the government tries to tell the public so we don’t have the right to smoke a substance that really isn’t all too detrimental to their health.
HIGHER EDUCATION: It all sort of seems kind of vague and unsustainable. I don’t know what his exact policy is. He keeps referencing making education more affordable while maintaining excellence. I don’t think that’s sustainable. There is a way to make education more affordable, but you have to compromise the fact that it won’t be known excellence as he says it will. It won’t be the most prestigious education … You can’t have the facilities, brilliant teachers, all of the whole nine yards, while still having very affordable education. Those are mutually exclusive.
HEALTH CARE: In general I’m just I’m skeptical of any sort of universal health care. Historically over the past few years most attempts to carry out similar plans haven’t been all too successful. Our state is already in debt. Universal health care is very costly. He references the workmen quite a bit. The working man doesn’t benefit when you take money out of their pocket for, you know, the systems that just aren’t effective or for infrastructure that doesn’t work.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: I think he has his good intent. I think it’s very problematic that our in general our justice system puts a stronger emphasis on detaining and keeping detained certain individuals rather than rehabilitating them. But the way he suggests doing so I believe is another example of when government tries to do too much. He has suggested implementing various governmental agencies that specialize in reforming the justice system, which I feel can be done substantially more efficiently without wasting the taxpayer’s money. It’s a promise that’s appealing to certain voters but when you actually get into it it just doesn’t seem effective.
Grace Watson, senior, identifies as politically liberal
LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA: I absolutely support the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois, as the illegality of it thus far has fed into the huge mass incarceration problem for Illinois and the U.S. as a whole. Besides just legalizing marijuana, I hope that Pritzker will take measures to decriminalize it, ensuring that any future crimes committed surrounding marijuana offenses are given shorter sentences. I also hope that Pritzker tries to hit the root of the marijuana/ mass incarceration problem by investing resources in communities affected by initiatives such as the war on drugs.
HIGHER EDUCATION: As a senior applying to college, the thought of higher education and affording it are on the minds of my family and many of my peers’ families. Pritzker has talked a lot about working to keep students in state for their higher education, and while I understand his reasoning behind this, I want him to first focus on ensuring that Illinois families are not crippled with higher education debt, by focusing on providing more financial aid as well as the issue of the rising cost of higher education.
HEALTH CARE: Pritzker said that much of his plans surrounding health care is to make health care more affordable for the poor. While I absolutely back this idea, I hope that Pritzker also focuses on the plans provided services that have been historically overlooked, particularly mental health treatments.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The plethora of problems surrounding the criminal justice system in Illinois are serious ones that won’t just go away overnight. I sincerely hope that Pritzker stands by his word to reform the criminal justice system in Illinois, hopefully by working to combat issues like gun violence and mass incarceration of black and brown people, two serious issues affecting Chicago particularly. Hopefully Pritzker will work at the root of the problems, such as looking at reforms within the police academy, community-based help, and changing the algorithms behind setting bail.