State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) and Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) said they have worked together on passing bills in the General Assembly that have brought positive change to local educators and administrators, and though they belong to different political parties, have enjoyed working together.
Both Rezin and Yednock, who represent La Salle County in Springfield, were guest speakers at the Legislative Luncheon hosted by the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday at the Auditorium Ballroom in La Salle.
Both speakers said the Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks are an asset to the community and attractions to bring visitors to the area.
Rezin said she was frustrated, not with local park staff, but with the state’s response to get money to invest in the parks.
“Part of our support for the capitol bill, which passed several years ago, was to ask for funds to go to Starved Rock,” Rezin said. “We need more funding for trail maintenance, we need more money to replace bridges, to open up trails and the list goes on and on.”
As far as the economic development and housing of the area, Yednock mentioned the pandemic has created an ideological shift in the minds of some Illinois residents.
“People are discovering outside of the suburban area and we are getting a lot more travel,” Yednock said. “There are a lot more people coming down here. I spent time knocking on doors and I had the chance to talk to people. I saw a lot more people that didn’t have roots here, that just moved here.”
Rezin and Yednock both agreed, in many cases, the way people can work remotely has opened up opportunities for individuals to live further from the city and still enjoy their professions.
“We have a lot of things to offer and we are just starting to see that renaissance of people discovering smaller town life,” Yednock said.
“We want people to come out here and enjoy our parks and trails,” Rezin said. “We have to make sure they are updated and maintained, but nobody else in the state has (Starved Rock) and it really is a gem.”
When asked, Rezin spoke on the importance of getting more Illinois high school graduates to attend in-state colleges instead of opting for neighboring states.
Rezin said she has seen colleges from neighboring states making pushes to gather some of the state’s top high school students.
“We have to make sure that those colleges quit poaching our best and brightest from our schools because that’s what’s happening,” Rezin said. “They are coming to our schools and they’re offering free tuition for, you know, the top 20% of the class. So that’s one thing.”
When asked for their thoughts or predictions on the upcoming gubernatorial race in Illinois, both candidates said they are looking forward to seeing the outcome of democracy at its finest.
“I think there will be a lot of money spent,” Yednock said. “I think there will be a lot of mud slung and I think democracy will prevail and I think the voters will probably pick the right candidate because that’s what a democracy is.”
“What a great answer, I’m with him,” Rezin added.
Both candidates spoke for about an hour, including answering audience questions from local leaders and officials. The questions ranged from those about education, parks and recreation and tourism to those centered around statewide debt, mental health and bridging political divides.
The lunch was catered by Thyme Craft Kitchen, and IVAC Executive Director Bill Zens emceed the luncheon.
via Shaw Local
May 6, 2022 at 06:22AM