OCT. 22, 2009 – In an all-day, nine-city tour that stretched from Chicago to Herrin, Governor Pat Quinn today kicked off his campaign by introducing the five priorities of Jobs and Growth for Illinois, his plan to create new jobs and expand the state economy.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Quinn said during his announcement speech. “Too many families are still sitting around the kitchen table, trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Through Jobs and Growth for Illinois, we will create jobs today and set the stage for longterm, sustainable growth over the years to come.”
Governor Quinn announced Jobs and Growth for Illinois during a barnstorming tour of the state, making stops in Chicago, Springfield, Cahokia, Herrin, West Frankfort, Mt. Vernon, Salem, Mattoon, and Tuscola. “Today, I am bringing my candidacy to the people of Illinois,” Quinn said. “As Governor, I have traveled to every corner of the Land of Lincoln, and I will keep on criss-crossing Illinois as I work to bring jobs, growth and economic recovery to every community in our state.”
Jobs and Growth for Illinois focuses on five key points:
1) Rebuilding the state’s foundations by investing in public works and 21st-century communications systems.
Through Illinois Jobs Now!, the state of Illinois’ $31 billion jobs/construction plan, Governor Quinn already has begun re-investing in Illinois’ roads, bridges, transportation systems, water projects, schools, community colleges, and public buildings, and many other important projects.
The State of Illinois also has partnered with President Barack Obama through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will invest more than $8.3 billion in stimulus funds in Illinois through the end of FY 2010. Illinois is a national leader in putting stimulus dollars to work; so far, the state has received and disbursed nearly $4.3 billion in federal stimulus funds.
Governor Quinn stressed that his commitment to upgrading the state’s infrastructure includes expanding and improving broadband internet services statewide, especially in rural and impoverished communities. “ It is unacceptable that, in the 21st century, lower-income people living in Champaign – where much of the Internet was invented – are still unable to access high-speed Internet today,” Quinn said.
2) Investing in clean energy to create jobs today and sustainable energy resources for our future.
Jobs and Growth for Illinois will include a substantial investment in sustainable energy projects, which preserve the environment and reduce energy costs for consumers and business while creating new jobs for Illinois workers.
The plan focuses on a major expansion of wind energy, which provides new investment in rural communities and creates new manufacturing jobs. For example, Winergy Drive Systems Corp. and Siemens Drive Technologies just opened a second plant in Elgin to manufacture components for wind turbine gear drives.
3) Protecting and increasing the state’s investment in our human capital through education.
Jobs and Growth for Illinois’ focus on education will address the current and future need for a well-educated, well-trained workforce that will enable Illinois to compete and thrive. The recent MAP crisis brought attention to the need to strengthen Illinois colleges and universities – especially community colleges, which provide technical training for young people and adult workers and make them competitive in the new economy. Through Jobs and Growth for Illinois, Governor Quinn will expand Illinois’ commitment to enable our qualified students to attend college regardless of their financial circumstances.
Governor Quinn’s plan also seeks an absolute state commitment to early childhood education. “We need to invest in the minds of our young people at every stage of life, from early childhood education through college,” Quinn said. “Investing in the mind of a child pays dividends for decades to come. With a well-educated, well-prepared workforce, Illinois can compete and win in the global economy.”
4) Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation through strategic use of state investment to provide start-up capital.
At a time when many banks have substantially reduced or even halted lending to small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups, Jobs and Growth for Illinois will use the state’s assets to help provide access to the capital that new businesses need.
As State Treasurer, Quinn created innovative new financial programs linking the state’s deposits to investments in underserved communities – driving investment without risking taxpayer dollars. “As Governor, I will continue to find new ways to partner with private business to increase opportunity for everyone in Illinois,” he said.
5) Expanding the state economy by bringing Illinois to the world.
Since 2002, exports have represented the greatest growth segment in the Illinois economy. Additional investments in the expansion of Illinois’ overseas markets for agricultural products, manufactured goods and services will help to create jobs, grow the economy, and generate new revenues to fund vital state programs.
Jobs and Growth for Illinois also stresses the value of investment in tourism, which generated more than 300,000 jobs in Illinois last year. “I want everyone in the world to know that Illinois is a great place to visit, to invest, and to live,” Quinn said.
In introducing the five principles of Jobs and Growth for Illinois, Quinn said his plan has one clear and simple goal: To make sure that there is a job for every person in Illinois who is willing and able to work.
“There is no government program that is as good as a job,” Quinn said. “If we work together to create jobs and rebuild our economy, we can increase revenues and meet the state’s responsibilities to the people who depend on us.”
Quinn added: “I was brought up to believe you don’t stop working until the job is done. Our job is to work together to make Illinois healthy and strong once more. With your help and support, I know we can get our economy back on track and build a brighter future for Illinois.”