It has already been one heck of a year and we continue to find ourselves rebuilding. My first term in Springfield as your Representative brought many challenges and accomplishments, but I do know we have only just begun and we have so much more work to do for our district.
I have always been an optimist finding the positive in any situation, and I will always try to do this moving forward because I owe being honest and optimistic to you, the people I represent. We live in extremely challenging times and under the current circumstances, it is difficult to remain both positive and give you the truth of the reality we face in Illinois. I will do my best, but the end of the 2020 legislative session proved to be an indicator on what we have in store for us in the near future.
Session started out slowly this year with legislation not moving back in January and February. This, in my opinion, was due to two primary reasons. In election years, Speaker Madigan traditionally tries to keep controversial legislation away from the chamber to protect his members. Although I believe prioritizing politics over legislating for the people is a poor way to do business and does not do the citizens of Illinois any justice, given the tenor of laws passed in the last few years, I figure that the less we can do, the better off.
Secondly, there were many close associates to Speaker Madigan under close investigation from the FBI on alleged corruption charges. This same investigation led to indictments of State Senator Sandoval and Rep. Arroyo last year. During that time of sweeping indictments on sitting legislatures, the Speaker routinely cancelled session and sent us home. I honestly believe this was because Speaker Madigan was worried about which legislators and lobbyist were under investigation or talking to the FBI.
Then we were swept into the last three months of severe medical and economic stress. I have always believed and still do that COVID-19 is a real and serious viral threat and I still stand by the guidelines by our top medical personnel in our country. My focus as your State Representative since the pandemic hit was to try to help our constituents in any way possible. However, I grew frustrated with the lack of answers and information from the Governor’s Administration as I tried to help my district during one of the toughest times of our lifetime.
Every day, responsible business owners devastated by the stay at home order called into my office for help navigating the Illinois government in order to find the relief promised them. As it became apparent that the COVID-19 numbers were not going to be as widespread in our area but the economic devastation was, all I asked was for the Governor to have a presence downstate and to interact with several of the small business owners that had been devastated.
I asked that he kept us in mind along with these struggling small business owners while making extremely tough decisions. Unfortunately, the Governor was non-responsive. The Governor has never reached out to me and has never returned any phone calls I made to his office. The Governor has a duty to be the Governor of the entire State. I may not agree with his decisions on various issues, but I could at least respect him if he would take the viewpoints of my constituents into account. Sadly, that never happened.
We have a ton of work to do to rebuild our communities and this State. The 104TH District is the home of strong, resilient community members, so I know together we will work hard to come through this tumultuous period in our country. I have continued to advocate for all of us during this time, making videos to share our stories, writing letters, hosting press conferences to discover information vital for our home. I will always be there for our home fighting for us, and I am dang glad to be our biggest advocate. I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their weekend peacefully this week. God bless.