Pritzker’s first order of business – balancing the Illinois budget

CHICAGO – Illinois Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker and his running mate, Lt. Governor-elect Juliana Stratton, were greeted with chants and hugs at a Chicago L station Wednesday morning, hours after the Democratic Party tandem was elected.

Pritzker beat an incumbent Republican governor by nearly 15 points: 640,000 votes.

Pritzker took questions from reporters and voters alike, saying he will actually live in Springfield and commute to spend time with his wife and children in Chicago.

It’s the first elected office for the billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune. He laid out an ambitious early agenda.

Pritzker said his first order of business would be balancing the budget and resetting its priorities to raise the standard of living, making health care and college education affordable for all, and breaking the cycle of crime and prison with economic opportunity and jobs.

Most of all, he’d be changing the political “tone” in Springfield, he said.

“I think good ideas can come from anywhere,” Pritzker said, adding it was imperative for Republicans and Democrats to come together and end partisan hostility. He pledged to work toward that end.

“We’ve got to talk and listen to one another,” he said.

The governor-elect also announced his transition team. Stratton will serve as the chair. Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar is among the co-chairs. Their task is to make sure the billionaire turned governor is ready to roll by his inauguration on January 14.