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Dem Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum

Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Five of the Democratic candidates for governor spoke at a forum on criminal and economic justice Saturday in Peoria. From left: Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy.

Five of the six Democrats running for governor were in Peoria over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. They were making largely similar cases to voters at a forum on criminal and economic justice.

The five candidates seem to agree on a lot of big picture policy ideas, so Democratic voters will have to decide on other points.

J.B. Pritzker described his plan to legalize marijuana while state Sen. Daniel Biss said Illinois needs to dramatically change criminal sentencing.

Chris Kennedy, meanwhile, talked about the connection between poverty and lack of educational opportunity: “The poor are poor in Illinois largely because they’re undereducated.”

Bob Daiber and Tio Hardiman said their policies are informed by their backgrounds — Daiber as a former high school vocational teacher, Hardiman as former head of CeaseFire, a group that worked the streets to interrupt cycles of violent retribution.

Democrats have a little more than two months to make up their minds. The primary election is set for March 20.

In Their Own Words

The forum was organized by Democratic state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, and was held in the studios of PBS station WTVP in Peoria. Below, you can hear what the candidates had to say in their own words. The audio is presented in the order in which they spoke, with light annotation in the form of this reporter's tweets from the forum.

State Sen. Daniel Biss

Chris Kennedy

J.B. Pritzker

Bob Daiber, the regional superintendent of schools for Madison County

Tio Hardiman

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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