Parker Parent Elected Governor of Illinois

J.B. Pritzker Wins Illinois Governor Race

On November 6, J.B. Pritzker, a Parker parent, was elected Governor of Illinois and will officially take office in January.

“It’s been so exciting to spend the last year and a half on the road, meeting people in every corner of the state and visiting dozens of countries,” Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker said by email. “While I’ve spent the campaign listening to voters from Chicago to Cairo and sharing my vision and plans for the state, when I become governor, it’s time to get to work to fix our state’s problems and move Illinois forward.”

“I am so proud of him,” sophomore Teddi Pritzker said of her father. “I think he deserves it more than anyone, and I think it’s really motivating for me being his daughter because I can see as evidence that hard work does pay off.”

According to Principal Dr. Dan Frank, Parker has had many parents who have been elected officials including alderman, state representatives, congressman, state senators, and governors, so it is not unusual for the school. Frank said, “We have many students who have parents that do many things in the public eye, and we just want to be sure that the students themselves can feel that this is their school, and that they can come to school like an other student.”

The Pritzker family has a longstanding history at Parker and has been a part of the school for many generations. According to Frank, Abram Pritzker was on Parker’s board more than half a century ago, when his three sons Jay, Robert, and Donald

Pritzker (J.B.’s father) attended Parker. The building that includes the Draft Gym, math classrooms, Harris Center, and Kolver Library is named “Jabodon Hall” after Jay, Robert, and Donald Pritzker for donations by the family. Robert Pritzker, graduate  of Parker ‘44 gifted the school a fund for visiting scientists to visit Parker annually, known as the “Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist.”

“Both my parents attended Parker and I’m now the parent of a Parker student,” Pritzker said. “The value of a Parker education is evident to me now just as it seemed evident when I would listen to my parents speak of it. My enjoyment as a Parker parent comes from watching my daughter become an even more authentic, effective, responsible, and empathic citizen.”

There is overlap between Pritzker’s campaign and Parker’s values.“The progressive philosophy of Francis W. Parker around authentic, effective, responsible and empathic citizenship are the values my parents instilled in me and in my brother and sister,” Pritzker said. “My campaign has been centered around lifting up working families and being a servant leader who can bring people together to solve the hard problems we face in Illinois. Fundamentally there is strong alignment between the values I’ve discussed as a candidate, those I’ve carried out through my life thus far, and those espoused by Francis W. Parker.

The decision for Pritzker to run for governor was also affected by a member of the Parker community. Lucy Moog, a Parker parent and the 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman has known Pritzker for more than 20 years, after she met him in Washington while working on Capitol Hill. According to Moog, she encouraged Pritzker to run after Hillary Clinton lost in the 2016 presidential election. “I was a very early supporter,” Moog said. “I helped him organize the lakefront community and the women’s community and did some outreach with other local elected officials.”

Moog is also in agreement with Pritzker’s policies. “I just think his priorities are exactly what the state needs,” Moog said. “I think J.B. is going to work with Republicans and certainly work with Democrats to help make the state a better place.”

Additionally, this election provided an opportunity for learning for both the Pritzker family and Parker.

“Sometimes I would come to campaign events with him just because it’s a really cool opportunity I have, and it’s a really interesting experience, and to see all the different parts of the state,” Teddi Pritzker said. “You see this whole campaigning and politics through a different lens by being a part of the family.”

It also provided an opportunity for the students.“I think that in a positive way it might show students what is a public figure, running for elected office — what does it take, how does one get involved in local politics or state politics, or national politics, what does it mean to run a campaign,” Frank said. “I think it overall, regardless of the political party that the person represents,  it gives the school the opportunity to have students learn about what it means to be an engaged citizen and leader.”

This victory also resulted in excitement and hope for his family and friends. 

“I’m most excited about watching my dad help the people who need it most, and it just makes me so proud of him, that he decided to run for all the right reasons,” Teddi Pritzker said. “He saw a problem that needed fixing.”

Moog said, “I think that he is a person who is going to work and fight to make change.”

When Pritzker takes office, he still hopes to have an effect on Parker’s community.

Pritzker said, “I hope the effect of my governorship on Parker will be to improve the standards of living and opportunity for people across the entire Parker community and create more and better educational and job prospects in Illinois for Parker graduates.”