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Pritzker starts talking like the state’s chief marketing officer

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019

* Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker addressed hundreds of attendees at the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards Dinner [yesterday] evening, promoting the state’s strengths and celebrating our booming travel and tourism industry.

The following is an excerpt of the governor’s remarks:

It’s so wonderful to join you all here to celebrate Illinois.

After all, we attracted 114 million visitors in 2017 for a reason.

Illinois is home to some of the greatest cities in the world. Chicago truly has it all, from an abundance of arts and culture to Millennium Park to Wrigley Field to a shopping and dining scene like no other.

Illinois is home to small towns, rich in history and filled with charm. From Galena to Alton and Ottawa to Peoria, our magnificent rivers connect scenic regional communities.

And we’re home to natural wonders like the Shawnee National Forest and Starved Rock State Park, where families can make the outdoors their playground with hiking and biking, sledding and skiing, hunting and fishing.

Most importantly, we’re home to the greatest people in the world.

Entrepreneurs building shops and restaurants and hotels in every corner of our state.

Chefs and wait staff, hotel managers and clerks, designers and shopkeepers, welcoming people from across the world to our state and showing them everything that is good about Illinois.

We’re powered by some of the most decent, hard working, dedicated and kind people in the world.

I’ve often told people that in the summer you’ll often see a family from out of town walking together on Michigan Avenue looking at a map maybe a little confused. And every time, you’ll see one of our great Chicagoans ask “can I help you find something?” And inevitably a smile and a wave and “thanks” and “have a good time” are exchanged. That’s Illinois in a nutshell.

Our people are our strength. It’s all of you in this room and working families statewide who help make Illinois a great place to live and a great place to visit.

It’s no wonder Illinois is one of the top tourist destinations in the country!

And let’s not understate how much that helps our bottom line.

In 2017, the tourism industry generated $40 billion in economic activity.

That amounted to $3 billion in revenue for state and local governments.

And that saved the average Illinois household more than $1,300 in taxes.

Those tourism dollars supported over 337,000 jobs, providing wages and a decent living to so many working families.

The fact is, Illinois is the fifth largest economy in the United States and our travel and tourism plays a huge role in making that possible.

I want you to know I don’t take that for granted, and I’m going to stand with you to make your footprint in our state even larger.

As I said in my inaugural address, I am going to be our state’s best Chief Marketing Officer.

When people from other states and other countries are deciding where to visit, I will tell them about our natural beauty, our terrific historic sites, our awesome restaurants, and our amazing people.

When entrepreneurs are deciding where to build and grow their business, I’m going to tell them why Illinois is second to none in its supply of talented workers that come from our great higher education institutions.

And when families are deciding where to move and raise their children, I will make it clear that we are the most livable and affordable big state in the U.S.

And I’ll follow your lead too. You all know what it takes to promote our state’s potential.

With the help of everybody in this room, we’re going to attract even more people to visit. We’re going to promote all our state has to offer. We’re going to welcome even more people from all over the world. And together we’re going to build a better future for everyone that calls Illinois home. Thank you for all that you do!


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Stark - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Nice to have a Gov. that doesn’t continually bash his home state and then turn around and complain about a lack of investment.

  2. - Gallactic Cupcake - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    A welcome change after 4 years of the Captain claiming the ship was going down.

  3. - The Real Captain - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    A nice change from former Governor IL Stinks leave while you can. This is actually part of the job right? Promote the state, show pride in what we can do? It isn’t all writing checks and kissing babies.

  4. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Atta Boy.

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Exactly what we need. The thing I hated most about Bruce Rauner’s tenure was that he had to bad mouth the state in a dumb attempt to advance his horrible political agenda. Making that worse was that he really seemed to enjoy talking down the state.

    Thanks JB. More of this please.

  6. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    Thank god we got out of that death spiral I heard about all the time.

    I didn’t see it in the post, but I thought JB closed with “And tourists love to stay at Hyatt’s when they’re visiting.”

  7. - Flynn's Mom - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    Thank you Governor Pritzker. Italy you can have Rauner.

  8. - Responsa - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Happy to see an emphasis on tourism. Illinois, especially the Chicago region is a treasure of natural beauty combined with manmade beauty and intellectual stimulation. Tourists need to feel safe and appreciated and they will come and tell their friends.

  9. - Chris Widger - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    I strongly disagree with about 60% of his statements, but I don’t think they’re problematic or should be retracted.

  10. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    What a contrast to Bruce Downer and the professional criers who push the Illinois exodus narrative to attack political opponents but who’ve lived here for many years, paid low state income taxes for decades and made good or great money.

    Illinois is probably a top state for corporate relocations. Chicago metro definitely is a top corporate relocation area. There’s a lot to tout, in this regard.

    I would like to see politicians tout Illinois as a state where workers’ rights are protected, as opposed to the race to the bottom right wing way, where states that lower wages and benefits are promoted. Be a pioneer in this.

  11. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Did he welcome the moving companies, too?

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    All things being equal, I would definitely live in Italy over Illinois.

  13. - Slow on the uptake - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    What I never could fathom was how Rauner did such a horrific job as governor but made millions in business. I’ve never really seen it before…oh wait, I guess there is an example on Pennsylvania Avenue!

  14. - come on, man - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    Cool. Now talk about the pension crisis…

    I’m as proud of an Illinoisan as anyone, but not everything here is sunshine and rainbows.

  15. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    “Cool. Now talk about the pension crisis…”

    There’s a Hinz article out today in which the Civic Committee wants to raise taxes to help pay down the pension debt. The Civic Committee cites anecdotal statements from businesses, that to invest in the state they want fiscal certainty—in other words, the state having reliable revenue to pay debts. I trust the Civic Committee much more than Rauner and his supposed companies that were waiting for RTWFL and other cuts, to invest in the state.

  16. - Sue - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Good for JB. He deserves to be complimented when he does something benefitting the State

  17. - regnaD kciN - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    “All things being equal, I would definitely live in Italy over Illinois.”

    I strongly urge you to follow your dream. I get a little tired of people saying they’d rather live somewhere else. Either chase that dream or try to improve where you are at.

  18. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    IF you have the means to live a comfortable life in Italy, you have the means to live one in Illinois.

    If you are complaining about taxes in IL being what ids keeping you down, Italy is going to destroy you.

  19. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    This is perfect and I even imagine that he wasn’t dressed up in some goofy costume when he spoke.

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:31 pm:

    We are, just haven’t figured it out yet. My wife could get a job there rather easily. My industry almoat doesn’t exist over there.

  21. - dbk - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    Spoken like a true Governor.

    Music to this native Illinoisan’s ears, balm for the soul.

    All ye naysayers: I was taught you didn’t air your dirty laundry in public. There’s no justification for downplaying the state - or highlighting its many problems, which we all know (and the Gov knows them too)- when you’re promoting it as a tourist venue.

  22. - A guy - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    He does make large footprints. Can’t argue with that.

  23. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    “What I never could fathom was how Rauner did such a horrific job as governor but made millions in business.”
    Most report GovJunk’s “talent” was to mumbo jumbo investors to get the $$$. He had little to do with actual business decisions. He did help a GA bank fail faster and there was the deaths at the FL nursing home that warmed him up for the Quincy vetersans home, but not much else

  24. - MG85 - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Blocking and tackling. JB can do just the basics for 4 years and he will be re-elected with ease.

    Because that’s how bad Rauner was; so bad that a Governor talking favorably about his state is newsworthy.

  25. - don the legend - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    It’s worth remembering that our previous disaster as governor ran campaign ads featuring other governors badmouthing our state. Think on that in light of this story.

  26. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 4:59 pm:

    The first thing Governor Pritzger needs to do is verify these misleading numbers.
    The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois are now using data from the Airline Passenger Information System, Department of Homeland Security.
    Conversely their traditional tourism source, the National Travel & Tourism Office of the U.S. Commerce Department shows
    a different reality.

  27. - Mama - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    Thank goodness we finally have a governor whom promotes IL instead of demolishing it.

    Governor JB Pritzker is right, IL has the friendliest people in the USA.

  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 5:42 pm:

    –I’m as proud of an Illinoisan as anyone, but not everything here is sunshine and rainbows.–

    Oh no, you’re kidding? Now I’m sad.

    Could you point out some of those sunshine and rainbows places with no problems?

  29. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 5:44 pm:

    JB. Taking a page out of Trumpian politics. MIGA.

  30. - 44th - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 5:58 pm:

    Like it, keep repeating it and make it so.

  31. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 6:02 pm:

    - “the Civic Committee wants to raise taxes to help pay down the pension debt.”

    The self-serving Civic Committee only wants to raise the taxes that don’t affect businesses. Over the last 20 years businesses in Illinois are now paying half the taxes of what they paid before.

  32. - Old and In The Way - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 6:15 pm:

    You have no clue how difficult it will be to start a business in Italy. Especially as a non-Italian. Language? Taxes? Labor laws? Business laws and restrictions? Yeah, you’ll do fine…….you better get going though before the Italian economy collapses. Have you seen their debt to GDP? Even the EU is freaking out. As for pension debt they make Illinois look good in comparison. Then there is health care…….Yeah you’ll do just fine. For about six months.

  33. - Bal - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 6:28 pm:

    been waiting four long years for a Governor to promote the state and not habitually bash it. thank you JB.

  34. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 6:45 pm:

    –I think we should eliminate business taxes altogether. Tax people.–

    “Think” might be too strong a verb for what you’re doing here (this isn’t a taxation thread).

    See if you can summon the brainpower to select name, then work your way up.

  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:03 pm:

    My response was to Chicago 20, who brought up business taxes.

  36. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:37 pm:

    …sunshine and rainbow places with no problems…. My man shed?

  37. - Hottot - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:46 pm:

    =I think we should eliminate business taxes altogether. Tax people=

    According to the Supreme Court, corporations ARE people.

  38. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 8:28 pm:

    Good to see the governor of the state doing his job. I do have a question: “Illinois is home to some of the greatest cities in the world.” This plural was intentional?

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