I apologize for the couple week’s absence on the Roundup! I was able to sneak off for a nice family vacation around the July 4th holiday, which was a wonderful time to relax and reset after my first session.
The Spring Session was extremely challenging, frustrating, and intense. The Governor was able to accomplish many of his massive agenda items this year. Although I worked hard to find several areas of agreement with him, I was frustrated by a great deal of the legislation that was passed. It was a challenging session to say the least and it left me a little deflated and very frustrated.
It is always my main priority to get out and talk to as many of you as possible during the entire year to make sure I have the best judgment on my decision-making and bill drafting. Since I have been home, my staff and I have been making the rounds across the 104th District. It has been great to see you and talk to all of you about the things that happened and listening to your valuable feedback. I love being back home in district and being around all of the wonderful people we have here, which gives me a great boost and sense of immense pride in having the honor to serve as your State Representative.
My intern, Reagan Gifford, has continued visiting assisted living facilities around the district and providing seniors with valuable information about the various state programs that are available to assist them. I am proud of the efforts she has made and the excellent outreach program she implemented for the seniors of the 104th District.
I used the week to meet with representative of several of the areas Police Departments and School Administrators to get their views on what we can be doing in Springfield to help them with their critical jobs in the community.
I loved touring two amazing factories, Watchfire Signs in Danville and Litania Sports in Champaign, this week! These two businesses have great stories and are extremely successful manufacturers, and they employ many area people with good, quality jobs. I was happy to help the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association present both business with checks for the ETIP grant. The ETIP program provides grant funding to businesses from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help with job training in skilled manufacturing. I was proud to support funding for quality job training programs this year, and I was honored to be able to present the checks to two well deserving businesses in the 104th District.
It was great to get back in the swing of things, getting out and seeing the people that make the district work. It was especially good to do that when you feel rejuvenated with a renewed sense of purpose.
While I was gone briefly, my family and I visited the Northeast and we saw some amazing sights. We visited the Saratoga National Battlefield in Saratoga, New York, where a ragtag American Army turned the tied of the American Revolution against the strongest army in the world at the time. We walked the Freedom Trail in Boston and saw first-hand where our nation’s struggle for freedom began. We, also, had the honor to visit the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and learn more about one of America’s most dynamic and inspirational Presidents.
Sometimes when you are standing up and fighting for what you believe in, it feels overwhelming, especially when you feel like you are on losing ground. It is easy to be worn down and to start questioning yourself. At times like that, it is important to remember the great sacrifices that others have made to build this great State and Country. Going and seeing places where those great sacrifices occurred and learning about the heroes that did great deeds helps to put everything into perspective. It fuels your energy when you hear stories about a young President who, in the face of great adversity from a hostile Soviet Union, challenged a Nation to walk on the moon and then made it happen. It made me realize that my sacrifice has been comparatively small, and it made me remember how lucky I am and how special it is to be your State Representative!
We can do great things when we put our minds to it. The challenges this State faces will be overcome if we keep up the fight together. Keeping up the fight is just what we will do. After all, Illinois is worth it!