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State

Pelosi kicks off Governor’s Day at state fair

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answers reporters' questions after keynoting the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answers reporters' questions after keynoting the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch Wednesday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Illinois Democrats on Wednesday to work to defeat Republican President Donald Trump and regain control of the Senate in 2020.

The California Democrat gave the keynote speech at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association brunch, the annual kickoff to Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. She applauded liberal victories in the first half-year of Gov. JB Pritzker’s tenure and blamed the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate for stymieing the Democrats’ agenda on Capitol Hill.

In front of about 2,200 Democrats at a Springfield hotel, Pelosi ticked off legislation including expanded health care, lowered prescription drug costs and investing in an environmentally sound infrastructure program that the House has approved this year, but which likely won’t get a Senate hearing due to the opposition of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican whom she referred to by his detractors’ label.

“ ‘Moscow Mitch’ said that he is the Grim Reaper. He’s going to bury all this legislation,” Pelosi said. “Well, we have news for him. All this legislation is alive and well in the general public.”

She also quoted Springfield’s favorite son, President Abraham Lincoln, in saying, “Public sentiment is everything. With it, you can accomplish almost anything; without it, practically nothing.”

The 79-year-old Pelosi is the nation’s first woman House speaker. She held the gavel from 2007 to 2011 and regained it in January. Some Democrats were hesitant to re-elect Pelosi as speaker this year, but those gathered Wednesday said she has proved a worthy match to Trump.

Referring to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier the president wants to complete, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat said, “Donald Trump wanted a wall, and now he has one.”

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Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor .

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