This week kicked off with one of my favorite events of the year. The Vermilion County Farm Bureau hosted a legislative committee meeting with me, Rep. Halbrook, Senator Barickman, and Senator Bennett. It was a great hour and a half discussion about issues that are impacting Illinois Farmers. I have a soft spot for them as I have many friends and acquaintances in that group, but also because back when I started my political involvement, one of my first roles was the Chairman of that very committee. Farmers are talking about Trade, Transportation, and social issues.
I really appreciate the time that Ag Leaders take to engage their legislator in a State that is completely dependent on Agriculture as it’s top industry, but where Farmers make up such a small minority of the population. Illinois is a state where the population center in Chicago has little knowledge or contact with the industry that is so crucial to Illinois’ wellbeing and economic health and is also a key linchpin in America’s ability to feed the world. That is why I was so encouraged to see Ag leaders walking the halls of the Capitol all week long for Ag week. Farm Bureau, the Corn Growers, and my old colleagues from the Soybean Board were present. I am always especially encouraged to see young Ag Leaders working to tell the positive tale of Agriculture. That is why I was pleased to visit with young men and women wearing the blue FFA jackets and the green shirts representing 4H, two organizations I was proud to be involved in during my younger days. The future looks bright for Agriculture with these young leaders.
I continue to raise concerns about the FOID card system and the number of complaints that my office receives from law abiding gun owners that can’t get their FOID cards renewed. We held a successful press conference on Wednesday morning where I along with my colleague Rep. Charlie Meier discussed specific examples of what our constituents are experiencing and my other colleague, Rep. Patrick Windhorst, offered legislative fixes to the system that I hope will get a fair hearing and vote in the General Assembly. I will continue to pound the mantra, if the State is not serious about properly managing the FOID card system, then it should be abolished.