So much happened this week. It started on a bright note for me when I got to Springfield with my friend, Carol. We wanted to take a quick peek at the remodeled Governor’s Mansion. Little did we know that we got there just in time for the last of guided tours of the day. I knew that it had been under renovation over the last 4 years, it certainly was a big challenge, and it got some big changes. Wow! I must say he really did well with the mansion, or maybe it was mostly his wife? Either way, nice job. With these changes the home should stand for quite some time. On my last visit some 5 years ago it was crumbling. I did like the former gardens better, but we each have our own styles. Illinois would be in better shape today if our former Governor had learned how to play with others in the sandbox, but a big thanks for the restoration work on our historic home.
The next morning after getting up early to volunteer for Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy I filed into the large ballroom for the IDCCA Governor’s Breakfast. Most were bemoaning the seating arrangements, chairs instead of tables due to the overwhelming turnout once again, but I was beaming. I got a seat 2 rows behind my favorite politicians, Senator Dick Durbin, Gov. JB Pritzker and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The speeches were great from all. JB’s was especially good, really got the crowd pumped. He thanked all of us for walking, knocking and talking to our neighbors, recruiting candidates and running ourselves as it didn’t just produce a blue wave, but a tsunami! He also gave thanks that we didn’t send a man to do a woman’s job! He thanked us for sending Juliana Stratton to be his Lieutenant Governor. He mentioned many of the accomplishments in this first session of the legislature: The Fair Tax Act, to go on the ballot for all to vote on; the most equity sensitive cannabis legislation in the country; the reproductive health act (because we trust women); the increase in the minimum wage; more funding for education, mental health and social services; the new capital bill to rebuild our infrastructure. He topped it off by mentioning we have the most inclusive diverse team in our state’s history with our statewide elected officials. Here is a man that knew what big challenges he would face as our governor and he didn’t shrink from the challenge. JB Thinks Big and has accomplished some Big Changes for Illinois.
It has ended on a bittersweet note. Larry Walsh, our County Executive let us know he will not be running for another term as his prostate cancer has returned with a vengeance. Larry is a farmer at heart. He and his wife Irene of 50 years, have celebrated their whole lives in Will County. So much has been accomplished. Whether it was as a school board member, County Board Member, State Senator or County Executive Larry’s terms in office representing Will County have had significant impact. As my friend John Grueling of the Center of Economic Development said in today’s Herald News, “If you were living in Will County in 1979 and someone told you that by 2019, Will County would be an economic engine for the metro Chicago area, you might wonder what planet that person was from…… The number of new public facilities in the form of city halls, libraries, recreational centers, parks and the ever-expanding Will County Forest Preserve have improved the quality, availability and accessibility of these vital services. The gleaming new 10-story Will County Courthouse puts an exclamation point on the statement “Will County has arrived!” I agree Will County is Rising and I am glad I am a part of it!