Legislator seeking Pritzker recall due to unemployment woes

Illinois News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois Republican state representative on Tuesday announced plans to seek the recall of Gov. J.B. Pritzker because of woes in the state’s unemployment office.

An influx of jobless claims prompted by the closing of nonessential businesses because of the spread of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Rep. Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee says the Democratic governor has had ample time to beef up the agency’s website.

Asserting “the incompetence cannot continue.” Skillicorn criticized Pritzker for a “glitch” that briefly made private information of some applicants public. He also criticized the governor for the long wait times and confusion surrounding IDES and unemployment qualifications.

Skillicorn insists he would rather Pritzker finish out his term than be booted from office.

“Frankly I just hope the governor fixes the unemployment system, so people can get their unemployment and we should move on from this,” the state representative said. “I mean, I would much prefer that.”

Skillicorn also denied the effort to recall Pritzker was a partisan one. He asserted he would get the necessary votes from the legislature to get the recall effort on the ballot. Skillicorn said Republican House members Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville, Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City and Darren Bailey of Xenia have agreed to sign the ballot petition.

The Illinois Constitution requires 20 members of the Illinois House and 10 state senators to sign an affidavit calling for the governor to be recalled. No more than half can come from one political party. In addition, Skillicorn must collect enough signatures to equal 15% of the votes cast in the last election. And he must collect them within 150 days of the affidavit being filed with the Illinois State Board of Election.

Pritzker on Tuesday blamed Skillicorn and fellow Republicans for a two-year state budget impasse under Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, saying it left the department without the necessary funding.

“Well, I’m glad to hear that the representative apparently has changed his mind and now believes that we ought to fund state government instead of hollow it out,” Pritzker said.

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(This story was originally published on June 17, 2020)

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