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Monday, February 6, 2023

The Local Pulse – Election post-mortem

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The election is over, and the votes have been counted. We can once again go to the mailbox without fear of being swallowed by mountains of campaign mailers. Turnout was good, but not great, and those who exercised their right to vote chose the representation they wanted.

At the state level, the majority of voters chose single party control.

Yes, I remember the Rauner years when gridlock gripped the Capitol. That was a terrible time. But split party control doesn’t have to mean gridlock. Between reasonable leaders, it offers opportunities for healthy debate and consensus-building.

Honestly, is anyone opposed to a healthy exchange of ideas?

But for now, Democrats will maintain their veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, and the Governor’s office will remain in the hands of JB Pritzker. All statewide officeholders will be Democrats. This is great for those represented by a Democratic State Representative and Senator. But for the millions of Illinoisans who are represented by Republican legislators, it’s likely that most bills brought forward on their behalf by their elected representatives will be blocked and denied hearings and votes.

When one political party holds complete control, an important layer of checks and balances is missing from policy discussions and state operations.

I am a firm believer that government works best when bills are thoroughly vetted and those with opposing viewpoints can present their arguments through thoughtful debate. The same can be said when a bill that has passed the House and Senate moves to the Executive branch for final consideration and a signature or veto. But Illinoisans will be denied this important step, which can often prevent bad bills from becoming law, or at least force amendments to legislation that remove unintended consequences or problems that lead to multiple clean-up trailer bills (The SAFE-T Act is a prime example).

Single party rule also amplifies some voices while diminishing others. Union supporters will undoubtedly have a louder voice in the kind of legislation that is brought forward. But the business community — our job creators and drivers of the state economy — will have few opportunities to seek legislative changes that will help grow the economy and create more jobs. That’s really too bad because a weak business climate shifts the tax burden to Illinois taxpayers. I pay enough taxes. Don’t you?

The armchair quarterbacking and post-election analysis will eventually die down, and we will see how a continuation of single party control affects policymaking in this state. I fear hyper-partisanship will continue, and in my opinion that is in no one’s best interest.

Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli is a lifelong Naperville Resident and former Representative in the Illinois House of Representatives and Naperville City Councilman.

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