Illinoisans for Growth and Opportunity (IllinoisGO) has ended operations at both its C4 educational arm and independent expenditure committee.
Our purpose was to raise public awareness of and engagement in critical public policy debates. We were driven by a fundamental belief, grounded in progressive principles, that if government is to be an agent for change and equal opportunity, it must operate efficiently in order to maintain public trust and confidence. In Illinois, that trust and confidence has been deeply damaged. The IE intended to protect incumbent Democrats, in the primary and in the general elections, who take tough votes to help restore this trust. We are ending operations, as this did not occur.
While IllinoisGO helped raise awareness among voters of the urgent crisis gripping state and local governments and school districts, in the end, voter awareness and frustration was not enough to prompt state leaders to action. Unfortunately, winning political battles was prioritized over forging a compromise to address Illinois’ budget shortfall, structural deficit, antiquated tax system, insufficient infrastructure and education funding or job-creating initiatives.
Illinois’ current financial crisis was avoidable. It has disproportionately hurt lower income workers, families and our youth. We do not believe it is enough for Democrats to simply stand against Republican policies without also pursuing a proactive, comprehensive set of our own policies to create jobs, economic growth and opportunity. Illinois Democrats have enjoyed electoral success, but in order to remain favored over the long-term, our party has to articulate that vision – and then actually deliver on the policy. Winning elections becomes meaningless without delivering real progress for the people of this state.
As we saw in 2014, voters reject politicians who don’t deliver. We need leadership that produces policy solutions to secure not only Democrats’ political future, but the future of Illinois.