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Does Darren Bailey want to help Chicago? His previous contempt says otherwise.

Chicago Tribune

Friday, August 5, 2022  |  Letter to Editor  |  Robert Lincoln Harris Jr., Chicag

Darren Bailey’s suggestions for how to “fix” Chicago leave me to wonder if he has spent even 24 hours in this city. But I’ll leave that in favor of an issue that many Chicagoans may know nothing about. Specifically, his support for H.R. 101 leads to the conclusion that he is unfit to lead the sixth most populous state in this country.

In early 2019, Bailey acted as a chief co-sponsor of a bill that urged Congress to eject Chicago from the rest of Illinois and make the city the 51st state. Never mind that the Admissions Clause of the Constitution expressly states, “No new state shall be formed ... within the jurisdiction of any other state.”

What Bailey and his co-sponsors, all Republicans, wanted to do was rip the economic engine out of the state.

H.R. 101 went nowhere in the Illinois House and died when the session ended in early 2021. But who’s to say that the motivations behind the bill aren’t still alive and well in the minds of Bailey and others? Wouldn’t Bailey as governor have the type of influence and power to accomplish what Bailey as state senator could not? These are fair questions to ask the man who is seeking to lead our state.

Before the Bailey plan to fix Illinois by cleaning up Chicago is seriously considered, I humbly suggest that Bailey the candidate must address his demonstrated contempt for the city that I and millions of others call home.

Bailey called Chicago a “great” city in his op-ed (“Chicago’s struggles are many, but we can restore its greatness,” Aug. 1), which it most certainly is, but that statement stands in stark contrast to his legislative attempt to have Chicago evicted from Illinois like a tenant who refuses to pay rent.

In his inaugural address in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln told the Southern states, “Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them.”

As surely as Lincoln’s words applied on the eve of the Civil War, they apply in equal measure to Chicago and the rest of Illinois today. And unless Bailey can say as much, he has no business putting himself forward as the leader of this state.

— Robert Lincoln Harris Jr., Chicago