WEB EXTRA: Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar complete interview on the issues in Illinois governor's race

Democrat launches early grass roots campaign for 2018 election

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - A Chicago alderman with eyes on the Illinois governor's mansion is trying to make his case early.

Democrat Ameya Pawar brought his campaign to Your Local Election Headquarters.

Pawar is the first to launch a bid to challenge incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner for the  2018 election.

The 36-year-old admits having only $50,000 in his campaign account at the moment. That's compared to the $50 million Governor Rauner will use from his own bank account.

Pawar argues Rauner can't buy the election while campaigning on failed policies.

"Fifty-million dollars when you have no record to run on and, in fact, a destructive record is nothing to be proud of," said Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar. "And, you know, I'm starting off with $50,000, but I'm going out and knocking on doors and going to meet people face to face and that's not something to be ashamed of."

Pawar says he believes in a graduated income tax rate for the wealthy to pay their fair share.

He's also campaigning on providing universal daycare, increasing funding to local schools and equitable funding that makes districts less reliant on property taxes.

The relative political unknown hopes an early start to his campaign will help lay the groundwork with voters.

Democrats are expected to have a large primary field that could include Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of the Quad Cities.

Pawar says it would be great for democracy if voters have choices from a solid political discussion on policies.

He points to his accomplishments during six years as an alderman where he worked on paid sick leave, increasing the minimum wage and passing an anti-wage theft ordinance.

"I also want to run on a vision," Pawar said. "And, what I'm trying to present to people is to say we need a new deal for Illinois. Enough of this shaking up Springfield and cutting benefits and wages, we need a deal, a new deal for all Illinoisans that helps them get a fair shake of the middle class and the American dream."

Pawar argues Governor Bruce Rauner's administration has been a failure. And, that you can't run a government like a business because it reports to taxpayers and not shareholders looking for a profit.

Watch the video above to learn more about Pawar's opinions in the complete, unedited interview.


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