COLUMNS

Leadership and love in Washington

Staff Writer
Morton Times-News
Rep. Keith Sommer

At Washington Mayor Gary Manier’s Prayer Breakfast last month there was much talk and testimony about hope, community strength and prayerful guidance.

And there was not a dry eye at the Countryside Banquet Hall that cold morning when Mayor Manier rose to a thunderous standing ovation and spoke of how he has relied on the support and love of his wife, Lada, during the challenging days that have followed Nov. 17.

Our prayers continue to be with them and the entire community of Washington.

Legislative intern Jacob Brisbin

Illinois Central College student Jacob Brisbin was also at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and came up to speak with me afterward about his interest in government.

I admired his initiative and enthusiasm and suggested he stop by my office for a chat.

As a result, Brisbin is now serving as my intern for the current legislative session. He’s a bright young man with a promising future.

Thanks to Dave, Greg, Tom ...

“Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”

These words when sung with a Christmas carol sooth the soul.

But this winter’s string of seemingly endless snow storms has many of us singing another tune and looking forward to spring.

Those whose job it is to quickly clear away that snow and ice have lately been doing so around the clock.

So, if you happen to see some of our state, county, municipal and township “winter road warriors” at the store, church or gas station, take a moment and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

Thanks, Mike, Ron, Rodney...  

School superintendents keeping busy

While many area youngsters have been cheering their announcements of school closures, I have had the opportunity this winter to meet and speak with many of our superintendents about the education of these students.

I appreciate their openness, sincerity and willingness to discuss those issues important to us all.

Thus far I have visited the top administrators in Bloomington, Olympia, Washington and Morton school districts, and plan to see the rest soon.

Re-drawing legislative districts

I strongly support the petition drive to have placed on the November ballot a new method of drawing legislative districts.

An independent, non-partisan commission would do that job far better than what is now done by our political parties.

You can check out this initiative on-line at: independentmaps.org.

Who is the Speaker of the House?

Though I have presented my Capitol Classroom program to hundreds of elementary classes over the years and have involved the students in hands-on learning of the legislative process, I am pleased to discover that legislative role playing has become more common in our high school civics classes, too.

These classes are much more rigorous than the one I managed to pass, but I guess you could say that about any subjects that our children now study.

In March, I will be viewing and participating in the legislative mock debates at Morton High School.

Oh, by the way. Do you know the answer(s) to the question?  

Lame duck session/season

The time period between our bi-annual general election in November and the swearing-in of legislators in January has become known as the lame duck session where controversial laws are often passed with the special help of members who will not be part of the new legislature.

This is how Illinois’ infamous income tax increases were passed three years ago.

So now, fearing a repeat performance next winter by the majority party, House Republicans are pushing a measure to do away with lame duck sessions.

Or in other words, let the lame duck “season” begin.

Cabin Fever

If cabin fever has a grip on you, get out this week and watch your local girls and boys basketball teams play.

Satisfy yourself at a community pancake and sausage dinner or fish fry.

Visit a local merchant you have not seen since Christmas.

Take in a play or musical show. Get out and enjoy a great 2014. Hope to see you there.

Your Comments

Your thoughts on the topics of the day are always welcome and greatly appreciated. Comments can always be left on my Facebook page or sent by e-mail. It’s an honor and a privilege to represent the good people of my district in Springfield.

— Rep. Keith Sommer is the State Rep. of the 88th District, which encompasses McLean and Tazewell counties