Hoping for the best

Can things get worse in Illinois? But let’s be optimistic as Pritzer takes over

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It’s no secret that many in downstate Illinois — including Edgar County — are hoping things can’t get any worse in our state as Gov. JB Prizker begins his term of office with a super majority in the Illinois General Assembly and Democrats filling every constitutional office.

But of course things can get worse — but let’s try to be optimistic about where Prizker will be leading the sinking ship that is Illinois.

And while it’s a good sign the new governor reached out to the Republican minority by showing up to a meeting, we must admit we’re holding our breath to see what tax plans Speaker of the House Michael Madigan has — and what’s the answer to our state’s spiraling debt and pension crisis.

Gov. Pritzker wasn’t particularly forthcoming during the campaign with specifics of how to solve the mess this state has gotten itself into — thanks to the majority party of the Illinois General Assembly and past leadership.

We’re glad Pritzker worked to bring a breakfast program to schools — but what about funding public schools? Many rural Illinois schools are hanging on by their fingernails. And, to be truthful, many in downstate Illinois are tired of seeing the big money heading to the Chicago Public Schools.

Here’s what we suggest: Gov. Pritzker come to Edgar County. We’ll be glad to host a forum at the Paris Center of Fine Arts. We want you to listen to the concerns of citizens of a rural community and county working hard to provide jobs and a good place to raise a family. We want you to listen to our concerns about not being able to pay our law enforcement and teachers decent salaries or to be able to fix our historic courthouse or build a new county jail.

We know you’ve listened to the people north of Interstate 80, but why not take the time and listen to the people in East Central Illinois?

We can’t help but think about the late Sen. Harry “Babe” Woodyard and former Gov. Jim Edgar or former Gov. Jim Thompson who often reached across the aisle in the state capitol and made things happen — and who knew who we are and where we are located.

The door is always open here. We’ll even buy the coffee.