SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Illinois Republicans are preparing for life under complete Democratic leadership in Springfield.
After Jan. 14, the Illinois GOP will be shut out of every statewide office, as J.B. Pritzker is inaugurated as governor. In the Illinois House, Democrats will regain a supermajority, holding 74 seats to the Republican’s 44. In the Senate, Democrats will have a 40-19 advantage.
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, says, unfortunately, it’s a position he’s more than familiar with.
“We’re in the same position we were under Gov. [Pat] Quinn,” Syverson said. “We had Democrats controlling a supermajority [in both chambers], so it’s no different than what we had then.”
In fact, Democrats continued to hold a supermajority in both chambers through the first two years of the Rauner administration. Republicans picked up four House seats in the 2016 election, paring back the Democrats’ advantage.
“We don’t have that one distinct [Republican] leader right now,” Syverson said. “There’s not any one particular voice, but there’s still a strong foundation and … we have some rebuilding we need to do.”
Syverson joined the Illinois Senate in 1993 and currently serves as Deputy Republican Leader in the chamber. He knows it will be an uphill climb to regain the party’s footing in Springfield.
“People like to vote for those who promise them things,” Syverson said. “When you have one party talking about responsible spending and living within your means, that’s just not as sexy as ‘we want to give you more things and make them pay for it.’ The problem is ‘them’ are the same people who are thinking they are going to be benefiting.”
Syverson says fellow Republicans need to understand that Illinois is a Democratic state. He argues that to win, the party will need not only Democrats but independents to side with them in arguments.
“We didn’t lose everything overnight and we’re not going to get it back overnight,” Syverson said. “We need to work together and be united. In those areas in which we disagree, we need to look at what binds us together. That’s what we need to be focusing on going forward.”