We were back home from a fairly anticlimactic Veto Session this week, and I got the sense that things were stalled in Springfield due to the Federal Investigation news with everyone waiting to see which shoe will drop next. Cleaning up Springfield seems to take a lot longer than we would all like, but at least things are starting to happen. I was disappointed in the General Assembly’s efforts at reform in which the most substantial thing coming out of Veto was the forming of a “Task Force” to study the problem. The Veto Session was a great opportunity to show voters, who at the moment lack trust in the Legislature that we were serious about cleaning up the loose laws in place.
We had some simple, common senses approaches that could have been addressed such as banning members of the General Assembly from serving as lobbyists while they are legislators, increasing the information that should be disclosed on our economic interest statements, and few other noncontroversial bills tie together some loose ends in law that almost everyone agrees should be done. Instead, we punted and will wait for the Task Force report which will conveniently come out after the March primary. It is hard to convince the public that we are acting in their best interest when we refuse to look at simple and common sense reforms.
It is always good to be back home after spending time in Springfield. On Sunday, I really enjoyed attending the 4th annual Battle of the Barbers. Terry Gorourd, one of the young entrepreneurs I met at our Minority Business Expo, has organized the event where barbers and beauticians come from all over the Midwest to competitively cut hair. It was great to see the success of this event and to witness the talent that traveled from all over coming into Danville to compete.
Monday and Tuesday were my days to spend at the OSF Foundation Festival of Trees. On Monday, I was a guest wine server at the Lady’s Luncheon and Tuesday was Senior Day. I enjoyed visiting with seniors at the Senior Source Breakfast and listening to the guest speaker, Catherine Johns, of WLS Radio fame from back in the Larry Lujack days. After breakfast, my office had a booth set up to provide seniors with information on senior services and programs offered by the State. Disseminating that useful information is a critically important part of my job.
One place that always impresses me is the University of Illinois. On Wednesday, I got a tour of the newly constructed Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at the University. Some exciting and groundbreaking research is happening involving the way we manufacture food and providing important technical information to new start-up companies. If we make the right decisions in Springfield, we have a prime opportunity to bring the University’s leadership coupled with our unbelievable ability to produce agriculture commodities in Illinois, which has the potential to produce a burgeoning new industry right here in the 104th! The opportunities are exciting, and it is time for us policymakers to do our part by making good things happen.
This week showed the challenges we have in front of us. Exciting things are happening, but we continue to fight battles against corruption and waste that should have been won long ago. It is a tough fight, but considering the wonderful opportunities that do exist, it is a fight we have to continue and one that we must win. Until we get the right results, we will keep up the battle. From my family to yours, have a wonderful thanksgiving week!