Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives wants to unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner in the upcoming March 20 primary.
Ives said Thursday on Morning Shift that the state of Illinois is “a disaster, a fiscal basket case, a place where folks are fleeing the state because they feel the system is working against them at every turn.”
“It’s been decades of bad decisions,” Ives said. “We’re not going to get out of this in one year or two years, but I want to put Illinois on a path so that in four years, that by year 10, we have a sustainable budget and we can actually attract businesses again.”
Ives discussed her “revolution” plan for Illinois and took questions from WBEZ listeners, which ranged from her past comments on gay marriage to the best way to power the state.
On gay marriage comments
State Rep. Jeanne Ives: Listen, here’s the deal. I did not say the parents’ relationship was disorder. I didn’t say that. I said that a child has a natural right to know both mother and father. And from that perspective, that child’s relationship to know both mother and father is a problem. All my comments were not related to individuals who are homosexual. Not at all. It had to do with the relationship that a child has a natural right to, which is to know both mother and father. That is natural law.
So after that, the federal government’s weighed in with the Obergefell decision has made it a federal law. Just like I think we should follow federal law when it comes to “sanctuary” state status; I will also follow federal law in this area. I have no zero, zero desire to legislate or to dictate anybody’s consensual, sexual relationships.
On Illinois being a ‘sanctuary’ state
Ives: I believe we should follow federal law. This is the federal jurisdiction to determine immigration status, and we have enough problems at the state level to start to interfere with what the federal government determines. I would push to comply with federal law, and I don’t think the city of Chicago should be a sanctuary city inside of it.
On nuclear and solar power
Ives: I am a pro-nuclear power, but I voted against that Exelon bailout job bill — $2.2 billion was their net income prior to passing that bill, and what we handed them was a $2.35 billion subsidy. Now, all these Democrats want to scream about tax breaks for big corporations and then they vote for this type of garbage when we are a net producer of excess energy. We subsidize energy for other people, so the only thing you did with that bill was subsidize energy in other states to other consumers who aren’t going to pay this rate increase.
I think there’s niche reasons to do solar, but not on the broad scales of taxpayer subsidies. My husband actually builds wind power, but he builds it in places that make sense. Solar in the state of Illinois makes no sense. It’s like trying to grow a pineapple here. I want to promote clean coal.
And gas is kicking butt in the state of Illinois. Let’s do gas — it’s very achievable. I’m OK with fracking. There’s so much misunderstanding when it comes to energy.
On seeking marijuana revenue like Colorado
Ives: Colorado is also flushed with problems: Homelessness is up, teen drug use is up over 40 percent*, they have medical emergencies at the hospital related to marijuana. That rate has skyrocketed as well. We’re not going to balance our budget on the backs of increasing homelessness and teen drug use. It’s just the wrong prescription for the state of Illinois.
The one thing I agree with Bruce Rauner on: We should be the economic engine of the U.S. We don’t need to do dramatic things like this. We need to arrest our business climate. If we change our policies, we can change the direction of the state.
“A new federal survey says teen marijuana use in Colorado has fallen since the state legalized marijuana.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire segment.
Editor’s note: Chicago Public Media receives philanthropic support from The Pritzker Foundation. J.B. Pritzker, who is campaigning for governor in the Democratic Primary, is not involved with the foundation and does not contribute to it.