Chesney Guest Column: Republicans Take Up Reform Mantle with Reimagine Illinois Platform

After months of planning, I was pleased to join the Illinois House Republican caucus in announcing our comprehensive Reimagine Illinois public policy platform.

In the same way the Contract with America helped Congressional Republicans communicate a leading vision of conservative values in 1994, the Reimagine Illinois platform makes it clear the Illinois House Republicans will not simply be the party of “no”, but rather we are turning words into action with over 80 plus meaningful reform bills proposed this Session.

The Reimagine Illinois platform challenges beleaguered Illinois taxpayers to imagine an Illinois where corruption isn’t making headlines and lawmakers are held accountable, to imagine an Illinois with an honest and transparent State government, to imagine an Illinois where leaders take their fiscal responsibility seriously watching every penny instead of raising taxes and debt year-after-year, to imagine an Illinois where every community has good paying jobs, access to healthcare and educational opportunities that work for all students, and to imagine an Illinois where all neighborhoods are free of senseless violence and our streets are safe places for our kids to grow up.

After the November election, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin tasked members of our caucus to collaborate and develop a path towards a better Illinois. Illinoisans made a strong statement in November that they want real change, and the House Republicans listened to the voices of working families across Illinois in developing this policy platform.

Legislating from the minority is difficult in the best of times, let alone the times we experience today. I am proud to be part of a caucus which is working toward solutions to the problems facing Illinoisans and not simply catering to special interests. Things have definitely gotten off on the wrong track in Illinois. If we want to succeed in changing that, we must lead with strong ideas and work to build consensus around those ideas.

Reimagine Illinois consists of four components, each of which includes a list of introduced bills to reflect those initiatives: ending the culture of corruption, responsible fiscal leadership, growing jobs and opportunities for our families, and ensuring public safety. Those interested in learning more about the platform, the legislation included and ways to get involved, can visit the website

While I am a person who believes voting down bad ideas is as important for legislators as supporting good ideas, for too long progressives have been permitted to get away with the lie that Republicans are only opponents and not proponents. The legislation proposed in the Reimagine Illinois platform include a statement of values through legislation. We believe those values encompass the ideals of a broad swath of Illinois citizens.

These proposals are realistic and common-sense policies that reimagine Illinois as a destination to live, work, play. I call on my democrat counterparts to sincerely consider the platform we are proposing as a path forward toward restoring trust with taxpayers who are, frankly, sick and tired of being sick and tired in Illinois.