Statement: Wheeler Reacts to President Obama’s Address to The General Assembly

“Though I’m a conservative Republican who typically disagrees with the President on policy, he delivered a great speech this afternoon. I will credit him for recognizing that his Presidency has not stewarded in the age of political compromise and civility he had hoped to create when he entered office. I would go so far as to guess that this speech, along with his State of the Union address, is meant to kick-off a ‘House Divided Tour’ to heal the ever worsening wounds of polarization.

That being said, I’m hopeful that both sides of the aisle in Springfield can realize that we do have the common ground the President referred to throughout his speech. This is the same common ground that Governor Rauner spoke of in his State of the State address. The President reiterated what the Governor and others have said before, without compromise we cannot govern. This was the principle that our founding fathers laid out for our nation so that one party or set of views wouldn't be able to dictate to or control all others.

I’m glad that the President cheered independent redistricting and campaign finance reform as necessary to move our democracy forward and combat the growing polarization. I agree, and I also agree in the value of increasing voter turnout. With today’s technology, there is no reason we can’t improve turnout while also putting in place common sense measures to prevent voter fraud. You can’t have increased turnout without ensuring frauds are prevented from damaging other citizens’ rights.

I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle with take his words to heart and help us all stand up for reform that will create a more fair and just political system. This will allow us to pass a balanced budget with reforms and common sense solutions so that Illinois can once again be a state we are all proud to call home.”