I spent the majority of this week working and learning with some of the brightest up and coming minds in Illinois government and politics as part of the University of Illinois’ “Edgar Fellows Program”. The program is named after former Governor Jim Edgar, and focuses on developing leadership and governing capacity in Illinois.
Edgar Fellows participants participate in an intensive five-day executive leadership training program on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I was honored to be nominated for the Edgar Fellows program by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. The five-day program was attended by
leaders from state and local government, community groups, civic organizations and the private sector. Each class includes fellows from Chicago, the suburbs and downstate Illinois and reflects the gender, racial, political, and geographic diversity of Illinois. Although I did not agree with everyone in the room on many of the issues that we discussed, I believe having an open dialogue with people from a variety of backgrounds is important to building a better, more functional State of Illinois. Thanks again to the University of Illinois, former Governor Edgar, and to Leader Durkin for nominating and allowing me the opportunity to participate.
USDA Declares Illinois as Flood Disaster Area
This week, the United States Department of Agriculture declared all 102 Counties in Illinois as disaster areas due to flooding that occurred during the spring and early summer. The declaration will allow Illinois farmers to apply for low-interest FSA loans to help them get through these tough times.
From the USDA’s website: “Low-interest FSA emergency loans may be used to restore or replace essential property, cover production costs, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the family farming operation or refinance certain non-real estate operating debts.”
You can read more about the disaster declaration here: https://farmweeknow.com/story-usda-declares-agriculture-disaster-throughout-illinois-0-193183
Informational resources for farmers seeking federal assistance can be found here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/emergency-farm-loans/index
Support County and State Fairs!
As the summer winds to a close, there are still plenty of opportunities to support Illinois’ agricultural community by vising a county or State Fair in your area. Here’s a look at some upcoming opportunities for you to support your local, county, and State Fairs.
State Fair Springfield – August 8th – August 19th –
https://www2.illinois.gov/statefair/Pages/default.aspx for more information.
Union County Fair – August 16th – August 24th –
Pulaski County Fair – August 11th – August 17th –
DuQuoin State Fair – August 23rd – September 2nd
You can find the entire Illinois County Fair schedule here:
State Parks and Recreation Areas begin to Tackle Deferred Maintenance.
Capitol infrastructure at Illinois state parks, including heavily-used, sensitive resources such as swimming pools and family-picnic kiosks, have been neglected due to recent budget stalemates and cuts in funding. Appropriation moneys, enacted by the General Assembly in the FY20 budget, are starting to move towards essential Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) projects. Visitors to state parks are starting to see work crews repairing weary, concrete-cracked parking lots and replacing splintered picnic tables.
SIU Carbondale Nursing Program Approved by Illinois Board of Higher Education
The Illinois Board of Higher Education had some great news for SIU this week, as approval was given for the SIU-C campus to offer degrees in nursing.
This program will help address a nursing shortage in rural Southern Illinois.
You can read news and reaction from The Southern Illinoisan at the links below:
My office in Harrisburg is open Monday through Friday 8:30-4:30. You can reach me by phone at 618-294-8703 or by emailing Windhorst@ILHousegop.org.