J. B. Pritzker
|43rd Governor of Illinois|
|Assumed office |
January 14, 2019
|Preceded by||Bruce Rauner|
Jay Robert Pritzker
January 19, 1965
Mary Muenster ( m. 1993)
Duke University (
Northwestern University ( JD)
|Net worth||US$3.5 billion (Jan. 2018) |
Jay Robert Pritzker (born January 19, 1965) is an American businessman, philanthropist and politician serving as the 43rd Governor of Illinois since 2019. He is a private business owner based in Chicago and a managing partner and co-founder of the Pritzker Group and a member of the Pritzker family who own the Hyatt hotel chain; he has an estimated personal net worth of $3.5 billion. 
Pritzker was the Democratic nominee for governor of Illinois in the 2018 gubernatorial election.  He defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner in the general election on November 6, 2018.  As governor, he holds more private wealth than any other governor in U.S. history and is the second-wealthiest U.S. politician to have ever held office, after Michael Bloomberg.
- 1 Early life, family, and education
- 2 Business career
- 3 Political career
- 4 Governor of Illinois
- 5 Political positions
- 6 Philanthropy
- 7 Personal life
- 8 References
- 9 External links
J.B. Pritzker was born in California,  to a Jewish family prominent in business and philanthropy during the late 20th century. The Pritzkers are consistently named near the top of the Forbes "America's Richest Families" list since its 1982 inception.  One of three children of Sue (née Sandel) and Donald Pritzker,   elder siblings are Penny Pritzker, 38th United States Secretary of Commerce, and Anthony Pritzker.  Pritzker is named after both of his father's brothers, Jay and Bob. 
He attended Massachusetts boarding school Milton Academy and then graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Pritzker went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He is an attorney and a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.
Pritzker served as chairman of ChicagoNEXT,  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's council on innovation and technology, and he founded 1871,  (named for the year of the Great Chicago Fire), Chicago's digital startup center. He played an important role in the creation of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. He also co-founded Chicago Ventures and funded the startup of Techstars Chicago and Built in Chicago. 
Together with his brother Tony, Pritzker co-founded Pritzker Group Private Capital, which owns and operates middle-market companies. The group includes a growing family of companies including pallet rental leader PECO Pallet and medical device maker Clinical Innovations. In 2008, Pritzker received the Entrepreneurial Champion Award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce for his efforts to promote economic development and job creation.  
In the 2008 presidential election, Pritzker served as national co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign. He was a delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He supported President Barack Obama in the 2008 general election and helped bring the Clinton and Obama campaigns in Illinois together. 
Pritzker founded Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century,  a national organization dedicated to attracting voters under the age of 40 to the Democratic Party. He also served on the Washington, D.C., legislative staffs of U.S. Senator Terry Sanford (D-NC), U.S. Senator Alan J. Dixon (D-IL), and U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), for whom he handled multiple domestic and international issues.
In 1998, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois's 9th congressional district, spending a half million dollars from his personal fortune on television ads in the Chicago market.  Pritzker finished last among three candidates in the Democratic primary, receiving 20.48% of the vote, to then State Representative Jan Schakowsky's 45.14% and State Senator Howard W. Carroll's 34.40%. 
In May 2017, the Chicago Tribune  published an 11-minute FBI wiretap of J.B. Pritzker and then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 discussing campaign contributions and options for Pritzker to be appointed to statewide office.  At the time, Pritzker was described as a "businessman with political ambitions". On the tapes, Blagojevich asked Pritzker if he would like to be appointed state treasurer, to which Pritzker responded, "Yeah, that's the one I would want." The tapes have raised questions of "pay to play politics", with both Republicans and Democrats, including incumbent GOP Governor Bruce Rauner and Pritzker's Democratic primary opponents, taking issue with Pritzker's conduct.  Pritzker has responded to the allegations by stating: "I've not been accused of any wrongdoing. I have not done anything wrong."  No allegations of wrongdoing were ever made by law enforcement against Pritzker, and Pritzker has said: "over decades of my life, I have been doing public service, and the opportunity to continue to do public service as treasurer of the state was something that had been brought up, and so there was a conversation about that." 
On April 6, 2017, Pritzker announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Illinois. His campaign received the endorsements of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, former Illinois Congressman Glenn Poshard, more than a dozen members of the Illinois General Assembly, twenty-one local labor unions, and the Illinois AFL-CIO. 
On August 10, 2017, Pritzker announced that his running mate would be State Representative Juliana Stratton.  By December 2017, Pritzker had spent US$42 million of his own wealth on his campaign, without significant fundraising from any other source.  On March 20, 2018, he won the Democratic gubernatorial primary. In the November general election, Pritzker defeated incumbent Republican governor Bruce Rauner. Pritzker received 54% of the vote, while Rauner received 39%.  By the time of his election, Pritzker had spent US$171.5 million of his own wealth on his campaign, primarily on digital outreach, television advertising, and staff. 
Pritzker was inaugurated as the 43rd Governor on January 14, 2019.
Pritzker supports Syrian refugees and has criticized the Trump administration and Rauner for "turning a blind eye on them".  He also supports enhancing funding for immigrant and refugee services, increasing health care options for undocumented adults, improving the U-Visa certification process for victims of violent crimes, and providing access to financial aid for undocumented students such as DACA recipients.  Pritzker has said he would sign the "Illinois Trust Act", a pro-immigration bill. 
On January 24, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed an executive order expanding access to welcome centers in Illinois for immigrants and refugees.  Welcome centers help guide immigrants on a path to citizenship and refugees with access to health care, education, jobs, and legal services.
Pritzker has been a long time advocate of LGBT rights and has actively participated in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade.   As part of his 2018 gubernatorial race, Pritzker has stated that his administration will address anti-LGBT hate crimes, expand LGBT access to healthcare, and oppose anti-LGBT legislation. 
On January 22, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed an executive order giving state employees and women covered under Illinois state health insurance expanded reproductive coverage which also includes abortions.  The move was praised by Planned Parenthood officials who also attended the signing event.
Pritzker is a supporter of net neutrality and has stated on his gubernatorial campaign website: "As governor, I will ensure that all internet traffic is treated equally so that everyone can continue to use the internet to grow their businesses, further their education, and enjoy the freedom of expression." 
As president of the Pritzker Family Foundation, he funds research and programs focused on children in poverty. Under the leadership of Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, he supported the creation of the Pritzker Consortium on Early Childhood Development at the University of Chicago.   Along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Irving Harris Foundation, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Pritzker Family Foundation is a founding supporter of the First Five Years Fund, an organization focusing nationwide attention and resources on comprehensive, quality early care and learning programs for children from birth to age five.  In 2013, Pritzker teamed with Goldman Sachs to fund the first ever social impact bond for early childhood education. 
As chairman of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which opened in 2009, Pritzker successfully led the capital campaign and planning to build an international institution in the Midwest dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides.  Pritzker is the principal funder of Cambodia Tribunal Monitor, the most significant online source for news and commentaries regarding the international criminal tribunal created to bring to justice the perpetrators of Pol Pot era acts of genocide. He served as chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and was succeeded by former White House counsel and Federal Judge Abner J. Mikva.  In 2013, Pritzker received the Survivors' Legacy Award for his leadership in the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. 
In 2007, Pritzker and his wife donated $5 million to the University of South Dakota to build the Theodore R. and Karen K. Muenster University Center in honor of his wife's parents.  In 2011, Milton Academy dedicated the Pritzker Science Center for which Pritzker provided the lead gift. Pritzker is a trustee and serves on the investment committee of Northwestern University and is a member of the Board of Governors of Northwestern University School of Law. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Commercial Club of Chicago.
On October 22, 2015, Northwestern University School of Law announced that J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M. K. Pritzker, had made a $100 million gift to the law school in honor of Pritzker's great-grandfather, Nicholas J. Pritzker. The 156-year-old school became named the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. 
The Better Government Association, an Illinois watchdog, has criticized Pritzker's charitable giving practices, saying he funneled the funds offshore tax havens. "The result is that Pritzker's philanthropy, and any accolades that go with it, have been bankrolled with what is essentially found money. He did little to earn the proceeds and paid no taxes on the bulk of it before giving it away," the BGA article states. 
In 1993, he married Mary Kathryn "M. K." Muenster of South Dakota, whom he had met in Washington, D.C., when she worked as an aide to U.S. Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota.  She is one of three children of Theodore and Karen Muenster. Her father unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990.  They live in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago with their two children.  
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Pritzker had purposefully directed a mansion that he'd purchased next door to his multimillion-dollar home to become uninhabitable by removing the toilets from the residence. He then appealed his original property tax assessment,  claiming that the newly-built residential property was thus "uninhabitable"; the Cook County assessor reduced the home's value from $6.25 million to about $1.1 million, which granted Pritzker an 83% property tax reduction, equal to about $230,000 per annum. 
- "The World's Billionaires - Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker". Forbes. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- Pearson, Rick (April 6, 2017). "J.B. Pritzker joins Illinois governor race, facing big Democratic field to take on Rauner". Chicago Tribune.
- "Democrat Pritzker wins Illinois governor race". FOX2Now. November 6, 2018.
- Meyer, Theodoric (October 5, 2018).
"The Worst Job in American Politics".
Politico. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
Jay Robert "J.B." Pritzker was born far from in Illinois, in California
- "Pritzker family". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- Chicago Tribune: "Mishap kills Sue Pritzker, widow of Hyatt Hotel founder, at age 49" May 8, 1982
- Rivera Brooks, Nancy (November 24, 1987). "Rooms With a View : Chance Encounter Led to Creation of Rapidly Expanding Hyatt Hotels Chain". Los Angeles Times.
- Castle, George (June 28, 2017). "The Pritzker family is one of the most prominent in Chicago's Jewish community. An exclusive interview with J.B. Pritzker, who wants to be the next governor of Illinois". Chicago Jewish News. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
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- "2014 big ideas: J.B. Pritzker, co-founder, Pritzker Group". Blue Sky Innovation.
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- "Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce BOARD MEETING MINUTES" (PDF). October 25, 2007. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
- Morain, Dan (August 25, 2008). "J.B. Pritzker and Penny Pritzker end their Clinton-Obama rift". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Ifill, Gwen (October 14, 1991). "Seeking Electoral Edge, Parties Court the Young". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Spencer, LeAnn; Gregory, Ted (February 26, 1998). "Pritzker Pumps $500,000 Into Tv Ads". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
- " Official Final Results", Cook County Clerk. p. 2. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- Lightly, Todd; Coen, Jeff; Heizmann, David (May 31, 2017). "J.B. Pritzker sought political office from Blagojevich, 2008 FBI wiretaps show". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
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- Pearson, Rick; Geiger, Kim (January 19, 2018). "Pritzker bears brunt of attacks at Democratic governor forum over property tax breaks, Blagojevich wiretaps". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Brown, Mark (May 31, 2017). "Blago wiretaps show Pritzker looking for political appointment". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
- Pearson, Rick; Garcia, Monique (June 6, 2017). "Illinois labor group endorses Pritzker, cementing Democratic front-runner status". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Pearson, Rick (August 10, 2017). "Pritzker announces state Rep. Stratton as running mate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- McDermott, Kevin (January 11, 2018). "'Moneyball' : The 2018 Illinois Governor's Race". NPR Illinois. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
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- "The Best Campaign Money Can Buy". Politico Magazine. November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- "J.B. Prtizker on Immigration". On the Issues. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Lord, Steve. "Gov. Pritzker comes to Aurora to sign order supporting immigrant rights". Aurora Beacon-News. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- Lewis, Sean (June 4, 2018). "Politicians show support for LGBTQ community as Pride Month kicks off". WGN-TV. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- Pearson, Rick (July 31, 2017). "Pritzker says he'll lead Illinois as resistance state to Trump". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "JB's Commitment to LGBTQ Rights". JB Pritzker for Governor. January 23, 2018. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- Henderson, Catherine (April 22, 2018). "J.B. Pritzker highlights push for legalization of marijuana on 4/20". The Daily Northwestern.
- Brown, Mark (January 22, 2018). "Pritzker betting the pot on legalizing marijuana in governor's race". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Janssen, Kim (January 16, 2018). "Top 3 Illinois Dem gubernatorial candidates agree: We all smoked pot back in the day". Chicago Tribune.
- "JB's Commitment to Women's Rights - JB Pritzker for Governor". JB Pritzker for Governor. March 16, 2018.
- Hinz, Greg (January 25, 2018). "Abortion-rights groups split on guv race—but why?". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Pathieu, Diane (22 January 2019). "Pritzker signs executive order on women's reproductive rights". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- "JB's Priorities for Protecting Net Neutrality". JB Pritzker for Governor. April 30, 2018.
- Briscoe, Tony. "Gov. J.B. Pritzker commits Illinois to climate change fight as study shows extreme weather convincing more people". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- "Pritzker". JB Pritzker Biographical Website. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Ochs, Alyssa. "Pritzker Early Education Foundation Cradles the Birth-to-Five Demographic". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- "Philanthropic Partners". The First Five Years Fund - Official website. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Alden, William (June 12, 2013). "Goldman Sachs to Finance Early Education Program Philanthropic Partners". New York Times DealBook. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Jane Charney, Jane (April 21, 2009). "New Illinois Holocaust museum emphasizes lessons for future". JTA - Jewish & Israel News. Archived from the original on May 6, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "Gov. Blagojevich appoints Judge Abner Mikva Chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission: Former judge to replace outgoing J.B. Pritzker". Illinois Government News Network. July 26, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- Shia Kapos (March 7, 2013). "Brodsky, Rice, Pritzker feted by Holocaust museum". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- "J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation Provides Generous Gift to The U for Construction of Muenster University Center". University of South Dakota. October 12, 2007. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014.
- Anyaso, Hilary Hurd (October 22, 2015). "Pritzker Family Makes Unprecedented Gift to Northwestern Law". Northwestern Newscenter. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- "500 Guests Helped Erikson Institute Celebrate 40th Anniversary at Prism Ball - Erikson Institute". Erikson Institute. May 22, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Neubauer, Chuck; Bergo, Sandy (February 7, 2018). "Pritzker's Storied Charity Costs Him Little But Taxpayers A Lot". Better Government Association. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
- Kogan, Rick (May 24, 1998). "The Long Run – After His First Date With Politics, J.b. Pritzker Is Ready To Make A Commitment". Chicago Tribune. p. 3.
- Lias, David (May 16, 2009). "New USD Student Center Officially Dedicated". Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan.
- Ahern, Mary Ann (March 1, 2018). "How Many Homes Do the Candidates for Illinois Governor Own?". NBC Chicago. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- Novak, Tim (June 26, 2018). "For J.B. Pritzker, mansion's disrepair has saved $230K in taxes". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "GOP rips Pritzker for getting $230K property tax reduction". WQAD 8. May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
|Party political offices|
Governor of Illinois
Governor of Illinois