J.B. Pritzker T'87

Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd governor of the state of Illinois on January 14, 2019 and won election with the largest margin of victory over a sitting governor in more than a century.

After taking the oath of office, Governor Pritzker immediately began working with Democrats and Republicans to accomplish one of the most ambitious and consequential legislative agendas in state history. During his first session, the governor passed a balanced budget with a bipartisan majority, making historic investments in education and human services, while restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. The governor also won bipartisan passage for legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis and for Rebuild Illinois, the largest investment in state history to upgrade roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and universities in every corner of the state.

The governor took bold action, putting state government back on the side of working families by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making college more affordable for nearly 10,000 additional students, and advancing equal pay for women.

A national leader in early childhood education for over 20 years and having organized President Obama’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, Governor Pritzker this year made childcare and preschool more affordable in Illinois for tens of thousands more families. He also partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Share our Strength to fight child poverty by expanding school breakfast programs in low income school districts across our state.

Before becoming governor, Pritzker founded 1871, the non-profit small business incubator in Chicago that has helped entrepreneurs create more than 11,000 jobs and more than 1,000 new companies. Since the creation of 1871, Chicago has been named one of the top ten technology startup hubs in the world, and 1871 was named the best incubator in the world. As governor, he has expanded support for new business incubators and cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of small businesses while incentivizing job creation and innovation. He also extended research and development tax credits to help manufacturing workers and businesses thrive, and he worked with the business community to create apprenticeship tax credits to promote job training.

The descendant of refugees, Governor Pritzker believes our state and our nation should welcome and protect its immigrant families and that we must fight against the wave of intolerance that has risen in recent years. Before becoming governor, he led the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, a nationally recognized institution where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, police officers and others learn to fight bigotry and hatred. As governor, he has built the most diverse cabinet and governor’s office in Illinois history.

Governor Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker have been married for more than a quarter century, and they are the proud parents of two children.

Governor Pritzker was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2017 and serves on the Resources Committee.

October 2019