Democratic leaders talk reproductive rights, Donald Trump indictment at Illinois State Fair

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Democratic leaders talk abortion, Trump indictment at State Fair
JB Pritzker, Chris Welch, Dick Durbin and other Democratic Party leaders talked about abortion laws and Donald Trump at the Illinois State Fair.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois Democrats from around the state rallied at the State Fair in Springfield on Wednesday with an eye on 2024.

And, they were focusing on some of the issues expected to be key in the next election cycle, like abortion and Donald Trump.

In many ways, this State Fair gathering was a bit different than in years past. With no election this year, the program was shorter. But, the issues still resonated with Democrats in the very blue state. Leaders are working to keep voters motivated.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch and other Democratic Party leaders looked to fire up the faithful who gathered at the fair in a year when there is no election excitement to capitalize on.

"This is an exciting time to be an Illinois Democrat!" Welch said.

Gov. JB Pritzker said the battle over abortion is motivating, and will continue to motivate Democrats from now until the election in 2024.

"So, these are things that are going to be on the ballot. People understand that when they vote in November, they're voting for or against women's rights. They're voting for or against reproductive rights," Pritzker said.

Earlier, more than 1,300 Democrats from all 102 Illinois counties gathered for the annual pre-fair brunch. Nevada U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was the keynote speaker, challenging the crowd to keep pushing for workers' rights and women's reproductive rights.

"If we can make that happen, we can keep Joe Biden in the White House for another term. We will control Congress and keep this country on the right track," Masto said.

But, the most recent indictment against Trump is also a key issue for Democrats, especially as he maintains a sizeable lead in the polls over his Republican rivals.

"The charges against Donald Trump are the most serious charges ever made against a public official in America," said Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

Pritzker, looking ahead, said Chicago was chosen to host next year's Democratic National Convention because Illinois is a bright light of freedom in the center of the country.

Pritzker was asked if he would be ready to step in for President Joe Biden if, for some reason, Biden could not run.

"I'm for Joe Biden. I'm fighting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They're going to win in November of 2024," Pritzker said.

On Thursday, the Republicans, with new leadership in the House and Senate, will host their day at the fair. But, as the super-minority party, the challenge is to motivate members to get wins where they can, and speak to voters about issues like crime and the economy.