Pelosi Wants ‘Spark’ Of Illinois Democrats

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headlined a Democratic brunch Wednesday in Springfield.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headlined a Democratic brunch Wednesday in Springfield.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rallied with Illinois Democrats Wednesday in Springfield.

She was the keynote speaker at one of the party’s biggest annual meetings — the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch.

Democrats spent the morning in a packed hotel ballroom celebrating their state legislative accomplishments. Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed them off, including raising the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, and passing a big infrastructure plan.

Pelosi said she came to “catch the spark” of Illinois.

“As you can see from what the governor presented ... a mainstream agenda can be a progressive agenda,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi acknowledges she’s a lightning rod for Republican criticism, but says the fact that Democrats were nevertheless able to retake the U.S. House last year shows that tactic doesn’t work.

“Republicans had 137,000 ads ... ads, not dollars ... describing me as a San Francisco liberal, which I proudly am,” Pelosi told reporters in a brief news conference after the meeting. “It didn’t work.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed his party's legislative accomplishments Wednesday in Springfield.

Photo Credit: Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Meanwhile, Pritzker seemed to suggest Democrats have grown more confident in pursuing their agenda.

“The days of trying to shame Democrats for fighting for social and economic justice for working families? Well those days are over,” Pritzker said.

Republicans get their turn at the Illinois State Fair on Thursday. Their featured speaker will be U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio