Illinois reacts to Joe Biden-Kamala Harris White House win
Former President Barack Obama: “And once every vote is counted, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.”
While the presidential vote in heavily Democratic Illinois was never in doubt, the national race was a cliff-hanger, and on Saturday, Democrats across the state welcomed Joe Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump, according to vote projections from news organizations.
Below, statements from Illinois political figures and groups. This is a developing story, please check back for updates:
Former President Barack Obama:
“In this election, under circumstances never experienced, Americans turned out in numbers never seen. And once every vote is counted, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.
“We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has – a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril.
“I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote. So I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support. The election results at every level show that the country remains deeply and bitterly divided. It will be up to not just Joe and Kamala, but each of us, to do our part – to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward, all of us remembering that we are one nation, under God.
“Finally, I want to thank everyone who worked, organized, and volunteered for the Biden campaign, every American who got involved in their own way, and everybody who voted for the first time. Your efforts made a difference. Enjoy this moment. Then stay engaged. I know it can be exhausting. But for this democracy to endure, it requires our active citizenship and sustained focus on the issues – not just in an election season, but all the days in between. Our democracy needs all of us more than ever. And Michelle and I look forward to supporting our next President and First Lady however we can.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweets:
“Chicago is excited to work together in tackling the many challenges we face in rebuilding our communities, recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, addressing climate change, and becoming stronger and more resilient than we have ever been. Let’s get to work!
“Heartfelt congratulations to President-Elect @JoeBiden Vice President-Elect @KamalaHarris and their entire team for a passionate, hard-fought and historic campaign drawn from our highest values as a nation.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweet:
“America elected a President and Vice President who will lead with compassion, restore dignity to the office, and give us hope for a brighter future. Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on this historic victory! We’re all excited for the better days ahead.”
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton:
“Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who, as a child of immigrants, made “her-story” as the first woman, first Black person and first South Asian person to be elected as Vice President.
“At the end of the day, this is about who we are as a nation, and who we want to be. It is time to come together and heal while putting forth policies that fight systemic racism and uplift justice, equity and opportunity for all.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.:
“President-elect Joe Biden is a public servant in the best sense of the term. He has taken the strength and wisdom he learned from his family, and his own experiences with loss and hardship, and he has used those lessons to give millions of Americans reasons to hope and ways to heal. And by his side is an outstanding Vice President-elect in my colleague, Kamala Harris. Her historic election shows girls, women, and people of color across this country that your future is limitless. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to tackle this coronavirus pandemic head-on, get our economy back on track, and move our country forward.
“The last four years did not break America, but revealed what was already broken. Now we must come together to heal some of the terrible wounds of our past, and together, create a better, more just, more prosperous America – not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.:
“This election was a testament to the strength and integrity of our nation’s democratic process, and now is the moment for true leaders in the Republican Party to condemn any and all efforts to undermine confidence in the legitimacy of these results. More than 140 million people—including servicemembers stationed overseas whose votes are still being counted in many states—made their voices heard during this historic election.
“Donald Trump’s meritless, contradictory statements and legal filings will not succeed and they will not change the facts: when all the ballots are counted, Joe Biden will have won more votes than any Presidential candidate in history, he won by a historic margin and he won states long believed to be Republican strongholds that Donald Trump would easily win.
“The American people have spoken and, on January 20th, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. With new leadership in the White House, we will roll up our sleeves not just for the people dancing in the streets today, but for all Americans—including our friends and neighbors who believed Donald Trump would make their lives better. Now is the time to bring our nation together, reach out to those we’ve disagreed with and work together to solve our nation’s problems, get us out of this pandemic and rebuild an economy that works for everyone. Let’s get to work.”
Democratic Party of Illinois Chair Mike Madigan, the Illinois House Speaker:
“Many Illinoisans and Americans have been clear-eyed about dumping Donald Trump since he was elected in 2016. Trump never intended to be a president for all Americans or help anyone but himself. We’ve all suffered the consequences, especially the millions of Americans who have felt the brunt of the pandemic through tragedy and financial uncertainty. We’re ready for this nightmare to be over, and we’ve made our voices heard in record numbers. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will bring us back from the disastrous chapter we’ve all endured.”
Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.:
“This year Americans showed up, voted in record numbers and as a result Joe Biden will be sworn in as our next President and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as our next Vice President on January 20, 2021. The incoming Biden administration will reverse the course of the last four years that left us leaderless during a devastating pandemic, undermined confidence in our institutions, saw our standing in the world decline and left us dangerously divided as a nation. A message was sent, change, as well as a return to human decency and basic norms, is needed.
“....For the first time, our nation will have a real MVP, Madame Vice President. Kamala Harris broke the glass ceiling for all women across the country. Black women have long been called the “backbone of the Democratic Party,” so for millions of women, like Kamala and me, her victory is especially poignant. A child of South Asian and Jamaican immigrants, and who attended an HBCU, is now headed to the White House. Kamala’s story is a perfect example of the American Dream. She will make history as the first woman, the first African American, the first South Asian-American Vice President. She is not the only history-maker in her family, Doug Emhoff will be our nation’s first Second Gentleman, and the first Jewish spouse of either a US President of Vice President....”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx:
“Today, democracy and the protection of our institutions prevails. I am energized by the results of the Presidential election and looking forward to this new chapter for our nation. I know we truly have two leaders who can heal this deeply divided country and protect the livelihoods of every community. Amid a devastating global pandemic and civil rights movement, we have two leaders who will prioritize the safety of our citizens, pursue justice, and follow science. I have a special appreciation and admiration for the new Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a prosecutor and unapologetic women of color who paved the way for so many other women to be progressive leaders and reformers.”
Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill.:
“In a year with record turnout, I’m proud we took the time to ensure a thorough process, and saw democracy prevail. Millions of Americans across the country stood up against Donald Trump and elected decency back to the White House. I look forward to working with President-elect Biden to advance policies that will combat climate change, protect people with pre-existing conditions, control the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide an overall better future for all Americans.”
Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.:
“After four long years of divisive and dishonest leadership, the American people have rendered ultimate judgment with their legally cast votes.
“I congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic victory and I look forward to working with them on the challenges our country faces. We need to bridge the divisions of the past four years and return to leadership that seeks to unite the American people.
“This isn’t a political victory, it’s a victory for American democracy and the rule of law.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.;
“With more than 75 million votes overall and a substantial margin in the electoral college, the American people have elected Joe Biden as our next president with a clear mandate to heal our country’s wounds while defeating the coronavirus and reviving our economy. The son of Scranton never forgot the commitment to make a difference that led him into public service, and he never will.
“The election of Kamala Harris as Vice President is a transformative, meaningful moment for our country. Exactly 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, we have elected America’s first female Vice President. In a year of racial strife, we have elected America’s first Black Vice President. The daughter of immigrants, Kamala Devi Harris also makes history as our first South Asian Vice President. As an Indian-American, I’m very grateful that my children will see Kamala Harris, along with Joe Biden, as a role model when she enters office. I know she’ll work to further the progress the United States has made in representation and equality, and countless people will be inspired by her example.”
Rep.-elect Marie Newman, D-Ill.:
“Today is a monumental, historic day. A huge congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and to everyone across the country who worked towards this victory. This is a win for every single American. In Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we have an administration that will bring us together and help our country heal.
“Under a Joe Biden Presidency, we will fight to address the greatest challenges of our time with clarity and compassion. Joe Biden has a clear mandate to address the COVID-19 pandemic and build back our economy with a stimulus package centered around working people. Together we will take decisive action to address climate change, protect and expand access to affordable health care, and rebuild our economy by investing in transportation and infrastructure innovation.
“Today is the dawn of a new era in this country. One where equity and justice are front-and-center. I look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and my colleagues in Congress to clean up the mess that Donald Trump created.”
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill.:
“President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s decisive victory in both the electoral college and the popular vote represents a powerful mandate for unity and honesty in American politics. Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans with the highest turnout in history, voted for positive change and empathy over the politics of hate and division.
“Vice President Biden and Senator Harris won with an enthusiastic, diverse coalition of voters in which Latinos, especially young Latinos, played a critical role in key races including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Virginia, and Nebraska’s 2nd District.
“African American voters, especially Black women, helped deliver this victory. Communities of color continue to be the backbone of the Democratic party and have once again delivered key wins in decisive states across the nation. They continue to deliver and deserve acknowledgement for their role in protecting our democracy.
“President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are prepared to lead our country and address the dual crises of the Coronavirus pandemic and economic recession. I look forward to working with a Biden-Harris Administration and a united Progressive movement to tackle the challenges facing working families and advance policies to expand healthcare, provide economic opportunity, and address global climate change.
“With the support of over 74 million Americans, we close a painful chapter in American history, and welcome the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden.”
Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter:
“Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris! We still have much more work to do, but this is truly an exciting moment and should be celebrated by all. We want to thank not only the hard working people who campaigned for the Biden/Harris ticket, but also all those who made a plan and voted during this pandemic.
“While Donald Trump continues to sow confusion and rage in his defeat, we must protect the vote and prevent Donald Trump from any further assault on democracy in the final days of his presidency. Soon it will be time to rebuild institutions like the National Labor Relations Board and the United States Department of Labor, institutions originally created to protect working people. We are excited about the role labor unions played in helping to protect and defend democracy, and we stand ready to get to work putting the White House back on the side of working people.”
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago:
“As we now have the results of the election, it is good to remember that our strength in America lies in our unity. We commend all who had the courage to compete in the electoral process and participate in our democracy. We pray that the Lord will enlighten and sustain those elected in their service to all the people of our country. Let us also ask God to free our hearts of regrets and resentments, of pride and contemptuousness. Particularly in this time of pandemic, we must set aside whatever partisan concerns have divided us and turn our energy and passion to serving the common good. As Pope Francis has said, “God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us.’”
Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action:
“Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic victory. Illinois voters’ voices were heard loud and clear, and together, we elected a new president who is fully committed to protecting access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. We are grateful to see these leaders elected to the two highest offices in this country.”
Nicole Cantello, President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, which represents some 1000 Environmental Protection Agency employees across the Midwest:
“Defending democracy is not in EPA’s mission statement, but it is essential to protecting our health, jobs, and the environment. EPA workers of Local 704 were out in force in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin to defend our right to vote over the last several months. After four years of brutal attacks on the EPA and our workforce from the toxic Trump administration, we stand ready to work with the Biden administration to tackle the toughest issue facing the Midwest: climate change, and to defend the Great Lakes from dangerous pollution. The Trump years have shown just how resilient and dedicated EPA workers are. We are prepared for a new day, where we have a partner in the White House to protect human health and the environment from industrial polluters.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair
“Today we know definitively that our nation will turn the page on four years of divisiveness, intolerance, and relentless attacks on the health care of everyday Americans. I am proud to say that a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will be ready to do that work alongside the President our nation just elected, Joe Biden.
“We are excited about this new chapter in our history and we know that President Biden will bring integrity, decency, and respect back to the White House.”
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery:
“Today is a victory for all Americans who rejected hatred and stood on the side of democracy and equity by ousting Trump and his dangerous agenda that has threatened our nation. Americans stepped up during a pandemic and participated in democracy by breaking voting records. We celebrate a new beginning for our country where facts, decency, and civility will be the standard once again.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will set our country on a new course by tackling the pandemic utilizing medical experts and science. Their leadership will help mend the divisions among Americans of different races and backgrounds. And they will protect our future by rebuilding an economy that works for all of us, addressing the ongoing climate crisis, standing up for workers, and firmly defending the rights of women.”