State Rep. Bob Rita has served the citizens of Blue Island and the 28th District with distinction since 2003.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been like no other in Rita’s almost 20 years as a legislator.
He responded to his community’s needs as he always has: with leadership.
Along with other governmental agencies, Rita hosted numerous activities to fight the pandemic. He sponsored free mobile testing for COVID-19, and when vaccines became available, he promoted local sites where citizens could receive vaccinations.
Although the pandemic has changed many things, Rita’s priorities remain the same. He is dedicated to fostering a stronger economy through smart transportation policies, improved education and regional economic development.
On the economic development front, Rita was among the local officials who welcomed Gov. JB Pritzker to Alsip Village Hall on Feb. 25 as the governor announced that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded $11 million in Rebuild Illinois capital funds to support 11 new capital development projects across the state.
Pritzker said Alsip is home to one of the Shovel Ready Infrastructure Capital Program sites, and he praised the program for its $1.5-million grant to the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC).
“I’m proud to announce the state of Illinois’ support for a new transportation, distribution and logistics [TDL] hub here in Alsip,” Pritzker said. “It will turn a former refinery three miles from here into an accelerant for opportunity in the area.”
The CSEDC will dedicate its grant to an overall investment for industrial readiness for the future Alsip TDL Center, situated between two rail lines and eventually serving as a hub for shipping and logistics.
Rita said the site is an integral part of the greater I-57/I-294 logistics cluster and is expected to spur new jobs and attract investment to the already growing hub for transportation and logistics.
“I was proud to support the capital construction program in 2019 because I know how many communities in the Southland need better infrastructure, schools and so much more help,” said Rita. “I thank the governor for visiting our area and providing this capital grant money to support our transportation and economic growth, and to help us all connect throughout the Chicago area with the I-57/I-294 intersection that I championed.”
Over the years, Rita’s dedication to service has resulted in numerous victories for the people of the 28th District and Calumet Township, including reviving the stalled I-57/I-294 interchange and seeing it through to completion; blocking the construction of a dangerous incinerator; and securing tens of millions in capital construction dollars that created jobs through the modernization of local roads, bridges, rail lines and schools.
One of his successful programs for local students is aimed at preventing drug abuse.
Rita’s staff recently presented “Middle School Students in the Drug World” for the students of Willow Spring School District 108.
“In 2020, Cook County saw their deadliest year for opioid overdose deaths, 1,500. I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions played a major role in those results,” Rita said.
“It’s is my goal to provide additional resources and opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic to educate our children about the pitfalls of using drugs through Zoom presentations.”
The goals of the Zoom presentation included the following:
•Why middle school students’ use and don’t use drugs.
•What happens to middle school students’ brains when they use drugs.
•How fast can middle school students become addicted to drugs.
•How middle school students can discuss drug use with someone.
Staff member Danny Romeo has been the presenter for these educational events, and he prepared students with the knowledge necessary for them to navigate through drug-related peer pressure situations.
Rita looks forward to many more years of public service.
“It has been an honor to represent the good people of Blue Island,” Rita said. “I am determined to do everything I can for Blue Island and the other communities in the 28th House District to make tomorrow better than today.
“My door is always open, and I encourage the citizens of Blue Island to come see me to talk about the issues important to them. I am here to help.”
Bob Rita’s office is located at 2355 W. York St., in Blue Island, and it is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
April 22, 2021 at 11:29AM