We begin the annual fall Veto Session in less than two weeks and while there is little promise that our state's most pressing issues will be addressed, I hate to be the messenger of more bad news. Instead, I want to keep the negativity to a minimum and focus on what's going right in the 37th Senate District.
After turbulent spring weather brought intense flooding to communities like Peoria, Toulon and Roanoke and others on the Spoon, Illinois and Kickapoo tributaries, we witnessed communities pulling together to help out their families, friends and neighbors. Most areas have and are bouncing back.
I’m also pleased to report that many of our farmers are on track to have a productive year after the historic 2012 drought.
In the past couple months we have turned dirt and cut ribbons on beautiful additions to the Peoria Pere Marquette Hotel, Illinois Valley Community College, Black Hawk College, new overpasses in Galesburg and our region's ever-growing wind energy facilities.
Weekly, I visit with many constituencies that range from school children, Boy Scouts, Brownie Troops to tours of assisted living facilities where seniors reside. When spending with our youth its refreshing, to see them learning to care for their nation. I welcome the opportunity to speak with and learn from our fathers and mothers who helped transform our nation into the world’s only remaining superpower.
We have faced turbulent times in the past few months and continue to face some economic uncertainty, but I am convinced our region will lead Illinois out of the morass we are in now. The old saying, "will it play in Peoria," is just as true now as it has ever been. I think we all know what plays in Peoria - hard work and helping those individuals around us.
I am ready to return to the Capitol and work with my fellow legislators to restore Illinois as not only a leader in the Midwest, but a national leader. Illinois' best days are still ahead of us and it’s going to take determination and that Midwestern, old-school work ethic to get our state and region on the best footing possible.
As Ronald Reagan once said, "government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them." We can’t look to the government to solve all of our state's issues; we must look at each other with an open, honest dialogue about the fiscal calamity, growing entitlements and unfortunate business climate. Creativity must be encouraged, not stifled.
I believe the nation's best and brightest minds are right here in the Land of Lincoln and many of them live here among us. Our state's citizens are the greatest resource we have - let's all dig in and reestablish that "Illinois exceptionalism".
Together, we will put Illinois back together.