Smiles and handshakes were the order of the day as Illinois’ 98th General Assembly was sworn in on Jan. 9. Hopefully, this attitude of good will shall prevail throughout our deliberations on issues great and small. With massive Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate, there are now two rows of Democrat members seated on the Republican sides of the aisle. However, there is a buffer zone of empty seats just in case.

Musical Offices & Parking Places

Our 2013 legislative session is just underway, but the bi-annual fights over what legislator gets what big private office with what view of the Capitol and what parking place close to the door have been underway from day one. I’m just happy to have been chosen to be there. You can still find me at 216-N in the Stratton Building.

Wildlife Prairie State Park

Illinois’ unique Wildlife Prairie State Park was on a well greased legislative track last fall to be returned to private operation at no cost to the State. After quick passage in the Senate, it was not called for a vote in the House. Do you think it mattered that its sponsor was an up-and-coming Republican? I hope not. We must get beyond the sad days of politics trumping good government in Illinois.

Social vs. Fiscal Policy

Our financial woes might indicate that discourse about pension reform, Medicaid restructuring, and the control of state spending would dominate legislative action in the weeks and months ahead. Yet, it is social policy that is grabbing public attention in the form of same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, and gun control. Serious issues certainly! But eventually and before May 31, we must stop digging the money pit deeper to assure not only that Illinois and its people survive, but also that our children and grandchildren will have a bright future. I pledge to do so.

Public Prayer

A few days ago I tuned in and heard a Chicago radio personality recount how he was surprised that a prayer was given to open a recent public event he attended. What a sad commentary that prayer is somehow deemed out of place in public now a days. Perhaps this gentleman doesn’t know that the Illinois House and Senate begin each of their daily sessions with a prayer usually given by a visiting minister, rabbi or priest. I welcome him and you to tune in. Yes, we still do some things right in Springfield.

Ronald Reagan “Recalled”

Imagine my surprise last week when I tried to buy Reagan stamps at the Morton Post Office and was told I could not do so. Had they run out? No! Were they selling poorly? No - in fact they were the No. 1 selling stamps in Morton! Let’s see — the United States Postal Service is going broke and it stops selling its most requested product? Hmmm, sounds like quite the business plan.

Coffee / Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Some would say that local meal chatter is unimportant and uninformed. I beg to differ! Recent coffee stops at Leaves and Beans and the McLean McDonalds, breakfasts with township officials and social service agencies, lunches with individuals and service clubs, and dinners with business groups and educators all help me keep my ear to the ground and my head out of the clouds. If you’d like me to stop by and join you, just give me a call.

Jim Covert / Walter Payton / Richard Dent

Deb and I enjoyed meeting and visiting with former Chicago Bear “Jumbo” Jim Covert when he spoke at the East Peoria Chamber Dinner Jan. 18. His story about Walter Payton had the crowd roaring. According to Covert, the fact that Bear linemen often dipped their injured hands in melted paraffin gave “Sweetness” an idea. So, Payton took some of the morning’s glazed donuts, dipped them in the paraffin, then waited for an unsuspecting coach or rookie to take a bite! Yum! I never had the opportunity to meet Walter Payton, but I had my picture taken with Richard Dent when he visited the Capitol last year. Big guy! Huge hands!


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Your Comments . . .

Your thoughts and comments on topics of the day are always welcome and greatly appreciated. It’s an honor and a privilege to represent the good people of my district in Springfield.