News Update

This week began by recognizing the birthday of one of our finest Presidents  – Abraham Lincoln. If you happen to make it up to Springfield soon, there are several wonderful Lincoln sites to see. We put together our top list of sites and if you want a list of everything, is a great resource.

The legislature was not in Springfield this week, but there is plenty of news to share with you. But, we will be back next week for the Governor’s budget address and to begin voting on bills. I’ll give you an update on both in next week’s newsletter. Now, to the news of this week:

Madigan’s Chief of Staff Sentenced to 30 months in Federal Prison

As you may remember, Mike Madigan’s former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of the Illinois Democratic Party was convicted for lying to Federal prosecutors and not cooperating in the investigation into Mike Madigan. For his unwavering loyalty to Madigan’s corrupt system, a judge sentenced him this week to 30 months in Federal prison.

This conviction and sentencing is just the latest one in Illinois’ long history of corruption. It is a shame that the only consequences are from Federal prosecutors. We need much stronger anti-corruptions safeguards.

For example, as Mike Madigan is awaiting trial, he is collecting a $12,600 a month pension. Taxpayers shouldn’t keep paying him while his high-paid lawyers fight to push back his trial. That’s why I am supporting legislation to suspend the pensions of politicians who are charged with a felony and to have a true independent watchdog in the legislature.

You can read more about the conviction and our ethics proposals here:

Shenanigans in Last Year’s State Budget

Next week, Governor Pritkzer is scheduled to present his Budget Address. What he won’t include in his speech are the special deals and pork projects that will make it into the budget before it gets passed. This week, there was an interesting article that came out that took a deep dive into the special tax-payer funded projects that were sent to Democratic districts in last year’s budget. Among the projects included a home for camels in Decatur, a pickleball court in Winthrop Harbor, and lights for a park. And, all of the special spending only went to areas of the state where a democrat represents the area – surprise, surprise!

Just in case you need another reason to get fired up this week, you can go read the whole article here:

Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court for Illinois Gun Ban

I have been closely following the pending court action over the Illinois Gun Ban. The latest news is that two groups have filed to have this ruling considered before the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier the Supreme Court denied an expedited hearing on the case and now we wait to see if the court decides to hear the case.

Here is the story:

IMEC Made In Illinois Grant

Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) launched $1 million in funding for the Made in Illinois Grant Program. The Made in Illinois program provides up to $50,000 in matching grant funding to small- and mid-sized Illinois manufacturers to support innovation and strategic advancements in manufacturing.

Applications are open now through March 31, 2024, and manufacturers are encouraged to explore the benefits offered by the Made in Illinois Grant Program by visiting The page provides details on eligibility criteria, application procedures, and the improvements achievable through this initiative.

To be eligible to apply for this program, companies must:

  • Be an Illinois manufacturer (as designated with a NAICS code starting with 31-33)
  • Have between 5-250 employees
  • Operated in Illinois for at least 3 years
  • Had sales revenue in the last 12 months prior to application date

OSLAD Grants:

This week, I was happy to team up with State Representative Kevin Schmidt to work on a grant for the New Baden Park. We attended their meeting to announce the OSLAD grant for $247,800.00.  This money will be used to replace the old and outdated playground equipment and make it more accessible for all kids.

Aviston Park District received a $100,000 matching grant for their soccer field and I was able to join them in Aviston to announce the grant.

The City of Greenville also received a $600,0000 grant for their park.

Down on the Farm:

I was able to sponsor a Resolution for Chuck Melton. Chuck is from my home county. Charles Randall “Chuck” Melton II  has represented our great nation as a member of Team USA Wheelchair Rugby for a decade and served as captain of the team for six years. Thanks him for all the hard work he has done for those living with disabilities.

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