There is a lot of history that has happened in the 104th District, and this past Sunday I was honored to be one of the guest speakers at The First Presbyterian Church of Danville’s 190th Anniversary Celebration! The Church is a model of longevity and strength in the Danville Community, and the creation of the Church starts the story of Vermilion County itself. The Church has been around to witness some unbelievable history. When First Presbyterian was first formed, Danville had only been incorporated for two years, Andrew Jackson had recently been sworn in as the seventh President of the United States, and Abraham Lincoln was only 20 years old and still a year away from moving to Illinois. The long and rich history of the Church was something worth celebrating, and I was proud to be involved in something so special.
On Monday, I was excited to become Principal for the day at North Ridge Middle School in Danville. I spent the morning touring the facilities and discussing issues facing the school with North Ridge School’s real principal, Ms. Eliza Brooks. These visits are always very educational and helpful as I prepare for making decisions in Springfield.
One of the concerns that was expressed to me was the burden that some unfunded mandates place on school districts and teachers. Not all unfunded mandates are bad. Some involve protecting children’s health, safety, and well being. However, as the list of unfunded mandates seems to grow each year, teachers and school administrators will be forced to find time in an ever busier day to meet state guidelines. We must always be very cautious when considering whether to impose additional unfunded mandates on our schools.
These visits help me realize that we need to be extra careful when enacting changes in Springfield, and I will always be mindful of these conversations. I think building relationships with key professionals like Ms. Brooks will help me learn from and lean on for information when making decisions that will affect their ability to educate. I appreciate Ms. Brooks taking the time to visit with me and for all her valuable input!
On Tuesday in conjunction with the Illinois Manufacturers Association, we held my first Small Manufacturers Summit at Litania Sports Group in Champaign. The IMA did a great job of organizing a wonderful event to provide manufacturers in the 104th District with valuable information on their pooled health insurance program, the State ETIP grant for employee training, and other cost saving, and tax incentive programs offered by the State. It was a successful event and we had several employers from Danville and Rantoul make the trip to Champaign. Thank you to the IMA and Litania Sports for hosting. I hope to hold more events like this in the future.
On Thursday, we held my second Senior Safety Fair in Rantoul. I was happy to collaborate with the Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman to bring some vital information on public safety for senior citizens in Champaign County. I want to thank CRIS Healthy Aging for helping organize the event, the Community Resource Center of Northern Champaign County as the host, the various State agencies and local service providers that offered information on senior services, and Peace Meal for providing the lunches to the attendees!
The event was well attended, and we were able to disseminate a good deal of important information to the seniors. Sheriff Heuerman and his deputies gave an excellent presentation on public safety for seniors, particularly involving some prevalent fraud schemes that are occurring in our area. We hope to make next years Senior Fair even bigger and better.
Next week we are back in Springfield for veto session. Between events this week, I have been diligently preparing for what may come up for a vote on the floor as we go back in session. I’m ready to get back to work at the Capitol and to do my best representing all of you in the 104th. I am hoping for a good, productive session. One way or another, I want to stay in touch with all of you and I will do my best to provide updates on what is happening. Have a great week.