Dear Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker,

You won a hard election, congratulations!

I want you to know that even though I voted for you, I did so with reservation. You are a businessman, just as our previous governor was. I have high expectations for you and I do expect you to be better than the last guy.

I was happy to see you put together a transition team quickly. I hope this means you are hitting the ground running. But there are a few things I want from you.

Do not, and I mean this, do not work your policy agenda through the budget. I understand that cuts need to be made and some taxes increased. But we also need to have good consistent budgets and consistent bureaucrats  for business people to work with. No one wants to work with a group in which no one knows what is happening.

That said, I know you have to make cuts. Please remember to not let down our neediest citizens. Those people who are medically fragile need to continue to have the care they need. Special need kids need therapies to get better, to learn how to make gains that will improve their standard of living, to be more than people ever expect.

I also know that you want to legalize pot. And there are many therapeutic reasons to do so. Pain relief would surpass that of opioides without the high rate of addiction. Unfortunately, pot is mixed with other drugs when sold on the street creating dangerous combinations. Do us all a favor when you legalize pot and make the same penalties for pot usage while in a motorized vehicle as we do for alcohol.

I know, crazy idea, right? But hear me out. We learned the hard way that taking liquor off the market made things bad. We learned that making liquor legal again caused a rise in drunk driving accidents and fatalities. Thanks to MADD, we learned how to legislate to decrease drunk driving fatalities by nearly 50%.

Do the same for pot. Tax the crap out of it like we do liquor and cigarettes. Allow medical marijuana facilities to operate so parents can get that oil that helps kids have fewer seizures, so people with chronic pain can have relief without opioides, so cancer patients can have an appetite during chemo.

I don’t doubt that there will be abuse. We have that now with alcohol. So emphasize treatment programs and support groups. Regulate those facilities for purity of product. Shut people down when they don’t live to code. Then use that tax money for crazy things like improving infrastructure, creating job training programs, and improving our schools beyond what money we get from the lottery.

I want you to succeed, to do great things for the state. I want our state to be a place people stay, despite the cold winters. But let me tell you this. If you play stupid games with policies, with budgets, with the betterment of the state, the citizens will hate you. Make sure you have this ‘being governor’ thing down or you will be kicked to the curb.

Just like the last rich ‘businessman’ guy.

Sincerely,

Karyn Bowman

Notes From Rumbly Cottage