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Progressive Caucus foundation
February 2019, a group of House Democrats formed an official Illinois Progressive Caucus they say will champion a liberal agenda “to provide a better direction” for Illinois.
Among their legislative priorities are increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, legalizing recreational marijuana, and campaign finance reform. The minimum wage increase has been approved by the Senate and House and awaits Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature.
The Progressive Caucus’s 16 members, most of whom are from Chicago and the suburbs, also plan to consider other initiatives, such as a progressive income tax and expansion of Medicare.
“We are a group of legislators who believe in a progressive vision for our state, one where our government guarantees stability and decency for all Illinoisans,” said Rep. Carol Ammons, caucus co-chair from Urbana.
That evolved into the caucus’s Statement of Principles, based on an idea “there is an unjust concentration of power at the very top” of government, said co-chair Will Guzzardi, a representative from Chicago.
Chicago Rep. Theresa Mah outlined the group’s ideas, which have not yet been submitted as legislative proposals this session. A candidate could choose to forego accepting large donations, in favor of small-donor ones that are matched “several times over” by a public fund through state government.
Other members of the group include Reps. Celina Villanueva, Delia Ramirez, Sara Feigenholtz, Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Greg Harris, Rob Martwick, Joyce Mason, Aaron Ortiz, Lamont Robinson, Anne Stava-Murray and Maurice West.