* From Peter Hancock’s interview with the governor…
Capitol News Illinois: What do you think you learned about state government in your first year? Is there anything you know now that you didn’t know coming into the job?
Pritzker: Certainly from outside of government, I had seen that government had been hollowed out and that there were agencies that just weren’t fulfilling their functions properly. But it isn’t until you get inside of the agencies that you see just how bad it really is, that they hadn’t been fulfilling their mission – in part because of morale, in part because of a failure to fill positions that are authorized to be filled, and in part because there’s a failure of mission and direction. When I came into office, it was frankly worse than I thought. And so I have worked very hard over the course of my first year to change that and to set us in the right direction.
And we have made real progress. I’ll give you one example, if I may. We walked into office and found that there was a backlog of people who had applied for Medicaid, many of whom are eligible for Medicaid, and those who have applied for what’s called redetermination. Year-in year-out, Medicaid recipients have to reapply. That backlog had grown to 140,000 people. That’s basically because under my predecessor, they had stopped processing those applications. And so when we walked into office (seeing a) 140,000 backlog, we had to work very hard to address that. We basically cut that in half in just a year, which is a very hard thing to do, because we were already understaffed.
Today is the one-year anniversary of Pritzker’s inauguration. His campaign committee, Think Big Illinois, has compiled a list of accomplishments. Click here for that.
* The Question: On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best score, how would you rate Gov. Pritzker’s first year in office? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…