Pritzker’s Promise to Curb Violence Just Political Rhetoric

Pritzker’s Promise to Curb Violence Just Political Rhetoric

In an effort to appear to take action, Pritzker announced an executive order that is nothing more than an attempt to garner positive headlines.

November 4, 2021

Illinois has been experiencing historic levels of violent crimes for months all while Governor Pritzker remained silent. FBI crime rates have painted a grim picture of Illinois, the state has been outpacing the rest of the country for murders and violent crimes and in Chicago, downtown shootings are up 220%. In an effort to appear to take action, Governor Pritzker announced an executive order that is nothing more than an attempt to garner positive headlines on an issue he has long refused to address.

From the Patch:

Just in time for a new batch of re-election campaign commercials, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order Monday declaring gun violence to be a public health crisis.

Almost everybody in Chicago said, “Duh.”

…Pritzker promised $250 million in funding for violence prevention over three years. He called it “an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction.” The political peanut gallery cheered.

If only he wasn’t overselling what is actually happening — which is that only $50 million is guaranteed, an amount already earmarked by state lawmakers who were pushed by activists to pass the “Reimagine Public Safety Act.”

And the only way to get the last of that “pledged” cash is if Pritzker remains in office and former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Democratic supermajority in the General Assembly remains intact to approve $100 million in funding for the next two years.

Even folks who advocated for an executive order to fight violence as if it’s a pandemic say that the governor’s announcement Monday has the potential to be another empty campaign-season promise aimed at winning Black votes.

Pastor Anthony Williams is one of them. He launched a grassroots campaign for violence to be declared a public health crisis after his son, Nehemiah Williams, was shot dead in 2018.

When I talked to Williams on Monday, he said Pritzker’s executive order reminds him of political sleight of hand ripped from former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s playbook.

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