Illinois’ Democratic governor took a victory lap at the largest gathering of Illinois Democrats in the state, saying his progressive agenda could be a road map for the nation.

Wednesday was Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. At a hotel in Springfield, the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association rallied the party with a fundraiser and brunch. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the featured speaker at the event. Tickets ranged from $75 to $1,500 per person.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker addressed the crowd and talked about the large field of Democratic presidential candidates.

“We have a robust Democratic primary for president going on right now and I’m glad to see it because we are having a much-needed conversation about the future of the national Democratic party,” Pritzker said.

“But right now there is a battle being waged for the soul of our nation, and in the last eight months, Illinois has found its anthem,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker championed the legislative accomplishments he was able to secure with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. Those accomplishments included expanding abortion rights, raising the state's minimum wage, tax increases to fund a statewide infrastructure bill and recreational cannabis legalization, among other measures.

Pritzker struck a partisan tone Wednesday morning, where he went after Republicans, especially President Donald Trump.

“They put on a red hat and they want to say ‘let’s make America great again,’ ” Pritzker said. “It’s a president who thinks that we are so blind that we don’t see right through his racism and xenophobia.”

Pritzker heralded what he called the “blue tsunami” in the 2018 election. Other Democrats called for more wins in the rural parts of the state.

At the Illinois State Fair for Governor’s Day events, Pritzker talked about bipartisan legislation, including the $45 billion capital bill, which some Republicans voted for along with tax increases to pay for it.

Asked about the difference in tone from breakfast to lunch, the governor said it was just politics.

“I’m sure you’ll hear Republicans say things about Democrats that Democrats don’t like and vice versa,” Pritzker said. “But in the end, this is about what we can do to lift up working families across this state and working with Republicans and Democrats together is the best way to get that done for them.”

Pritzker said he invited Republican officials to the lunch. No Republicans attended.

Republicans have their rally Thursday.

Staff Writer

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.