Democratic candidate for governor in Jacksonville July 23

By Gary Scott on July 22, 2017 at 2:46pm

Jacksonville area voters will get the chance to meet one of the eight Democratic candidates for Illinois governor this weekend.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar is on a bus tour of more than 100 counties in Illinois leading up to the 2018 primary election. Pawar explains why he feels it’s important to visit these counties.

“I don’t believe it makes sense to write people off based on who they voted for in the last election. The standard Democratic playbook is to go where you think the votes are and don’t talk to everyone. I don’t think that makes sense. I think that’s how we get to where we are today — we’re divided as a nation, divided as a state, and we’re divided by wealthy people who tell us the best way to help working people is to hurt them. So, we’re going on a tour to bring the state together, it’s called the One Illinois Tour.”

The 37-year old Pawar tells us why he believes he’s a good candidate.

“I believe I’m the best candidate in the race because I’m talking about race and class in a real way. Everywhere I go I hear the same thing. People feel like the insiders and the very wealthy keep getting ahead and everyone (else) keeps getting left behind. Everyone wants a solid public school. Everyone wants access to solid healthcare. Everyone wants a solid job and a shot at the middle class. This is the same issue no matter where you go, whether it’s a white community, a brown community, a black community, or a diverse community. The issue is the same everywhere.”

The wheels on Pawar’s tour bus started rolling Friday with an event in Chicago. From there, the tour includes visits to Rockford, Danville, Harvard, Springfield, and eventually Jacksonville.

Pawar thinks tourism should be a driving force for the Illinois economy.

“Central and southern Illinois, western Illinois, I believe are poised for growth around tourism. When you go to every other state in the Union, the biggest driver of a state’s GDP is tourism. We’ve got great state parks, we’ve got incredible river towns, and we haven’t done anything about tourism. Why not invest in our tourist infrastructure, invest in our small towns’ downtown (areas)? We’ve got wineries in western Illinois, southern Illinois, central Illinois. Tie all of this together so we’re not sending our weekenders Door County (Wisconsin) or Michiana.”

Incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner appears to be the GOP front-runner in 2018. However, according to, there may be an effort underway by a handful of Republicans to recruit local Senator Sam McCann to run against Rauner in the 2018 GOP primary. The March 20 primary election will decide who’s on the ballot for each party in the November 2018 election.

Pawar is scheduled to be at the Community Park Center at 1309 South Main Street on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.