This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.
It’s time we secure our clean energy future in Illinois.
As I drive around the 40th State Senate District, I see just how important our energy supply is to our entire region. Of course, we need a stable, affordable supply of electricity to power our homes and businesses. But I’m really talking about how energy powers our local economy.
The nuclear plants in Dresden and Braidwood border the district I represent, and their local importance cannot be overstated. Hundreds of people work at the plants from around the region, many of them in good-paying union jobs that support their families. The quality of our schools, the traffic into our local businesses – it’s all thanks to these plants.
Unfortunately, Exelon has announced Dresden might close if the legislature doesn’t step up to provide some extra financial support this year. I’m working with my colleagues in Springfield to make sure the closure doesn’t happen.
As a member of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, I’m on the front lines of the energy discussions at the Capitol. One solution that I believe should be on the negotiating table is the Climate Union Jobs Act, supported by the state’s labor unions, to protect jobs at our energy facilities and provide electric rate relief to those who need it most.
How we produce our energy is changing every day, and our state has to modernize our laws to keep up with the changes. I will continue fighting this spring to protect the jobs and facilities that power our region, while holding utility companies accountable to produce cleaner, more affordable power. We deserve nothing less.
Our work continues on other important legislative measures. As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee I’m sponsoring Senate Bill 1656, which would bring together our state agencies on agriculture, environment and emergency preparedness to prepare for a future mass animal mortality event. When pork processing plants shut down last year because of the fear of COVID-19 spread, it raised important questions we need to answer to be better prepared in case this worst-case scenario occurs again.
One of the most important roles we play in Springfield is to help make sure our communities have the support they need to survive and thrive. Since I have taken office, I have been determined to ensure the good people of Pembroke Township have a natural gas connection to heat their homes – an issue that residents have been struggling with for more than two decades. They’ve been left out in the cold for far too long.
I am working with State Rep. Jackie Haas of Kankakee to sponsor House Bill 3404, a bipartisan effort now in the Senate that would make a natural gas pipeline a reality and offer hope for a better future in Pembroke Township.
I am encouraged by the progress we are making to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, all Illinoisans 16 and up are eligible for vaccine, and we know the more quickly we can vaccinate people, the sooner we put this virus in our rearview mirror and focus on the long recovery ahead.
Join me in following social distancing guidelines, and please take advantage of getting your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible. I urge you to contact me anytime I can help at 708-756-0882 or http://www.senatorpatrickjoyce.com/. I will continue to share the latest news on my website and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/senPatrickjoyce40.
Sen. Patrick Joyce
D-Essex, 40th State Senate District
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April 26, 2021 at 11:34AM