This week lawmakers got their first glimpse of Chicago Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson’s political and economic agenda when he spoke to a joint session of the Senate and House. His 40-minute speech was full of new costly initiatives, but silent on how the incoming mayor of Illinois’ largest city would pay for it.
“This sounded more like a well-rehearsed campaign speech than a balanced approach of how he intends to address the significant problems that plague the City of Chicago,” said State Senator Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport). “His comment that no one has to lose at the expense of someone else winning is nonsense. His proposals have a steep price tag, and that money has to come from somewhere. He will either have to remove other services or raise taxes. His proposals aren’t free.”
Chesney went on to say, “Chicago is in crisis, and crime is out of control, yet the voters of Chicago just elected a Mayor who is even further to the left and lighter on crime than Lori Lightfoot. Brandon Johnson’s disdain for police and his desire to defund them is well documented. So hearing him stand before the General Assembly and praise police officers who put their lives on the line every day rang extremely hollow.”
Johnson’s invitation to speak before a joint session of the House and Senate was nearly unprecedented. The only other time that invitation was extended was when Barak Obama spoke to a joint session in 2016.
Chesney continued, “Since when do we invite elected-but-not-yet-seated public officials to address a joint session of the General Assembly? What we essentially saw on Wednesday was the Senate President and the Speaker of the House providing cover to distract from Johnson’s progressive ideology as outlined on the campaign trail.”
Regarding crime, Chesney pointed to the decades of Democratic control over public safety and criminal justice policies in the State of Illinois, and to the fact that despite millions being poured into community crime prevention programs, people are getting shot and killed daily in Chicago.
“Our Republican anti-crime agenda is not extreme; it is not controversial or radical,” said Chesney. “All we ask as Republicans is that people who do bad things get punished. All we’re asking for is that people be held accountable for the crimes they commit. But in response to the violence committed in the City by hundreds of teens last weekend, the Mayor-Elect admonished anyone who spoke a negative word against the teens that vandalized cars, set fire to cars, beat random motorists, and fired guns in a manner that sent three people to the hospital. That lack of accountability and desire to make excuses for peoples’ bad choices is exactly why crime is spiraling out of control in Chicago.”