September 4, 2015
I hope you had a great week as the unofficial end of summer is already here with Labor Day weekend. Gosh, did this summer go by fast!
Speaking of fast, and I know you moms and dads out there can relate, are our kids just growing up faster than usual? It felt like yesterday when my four kids were running around the house, getting into everything, wanting to try everything, and just loving being a kid. Now, they are all grown up, and I have to be honest, it’s emotional!
Earlier this month, Zach, my youngest, went back off to college out east. It’s funny how when your child first starts school, he or she doesn’t want to leave you, and you’re constantly telling them, “It’s OK, everything will be just fine!” I envision a little child with their backpack on, holding on to his or her Mom or Dad for dear life, not wanting to walk into school, as Mom and Dad try to get back in the car.
Now, it’s the opposite! It’s me holding onto Zach for dear life, not wanting Zach to go off to college! I’m thinking, “Don’t go.” But as I say how it’s now the opposite, it’s Zach who says, “It’s OK Mom, everything will be just fine!”
Oh the emotions of being a parent. Once a Mom, always a Mom. Once a Dad, always a Dad. The attachment and love you have with your child is an unbreakable bond, so when they leave for college or the real world, and they are essentially “out of your hands,” it’s just tough to handle sometimes! These kids are our little girls and boys, even if they are more than six feet tall!
I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family and wonderful children as I’m sure you are too. Being a parent is nothing but a daily roller coaster of emotions, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s the greatest thing and job in the world. I love being a Mom, and I love my kids. I just don’t love how quickly they grew up!
Moms and Dads, are you with me?
I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!
State Sen. Sue Rezin
PS: Thanks to my husband, Keith, as well, for the team effort and continued team effort of raising our children! I am so blessed to have him in my life!
Zach leaving for college!
James Allen: Hero
Last weekend, I had the honor to be apart of an event honoring and remembering James Allen. Here is his story:
From the Morris Daily Herald:
MORRIS – The lives of the Allen family of Morris changed forever March 18, 1985.
At just 24 years old, James Allen was the lead on the fire hose during a rural fire when a backdraft came through a back door. James Allen never returned home.
“I was there that day, behind him on the hose line,” Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Deputy Fire Chief Bob Wills said Saturday. “He was the lead and I was getting more hose when a backdraft hit and blew me up the stairs. There was no way I could get back down to him.”
Saturday, in a somber yet joyful gathering of friends, family, fire and police officers, a portion of Route 47 between High and Benton streets in Morris was dedicated as the Firefighter James Allen Memorial Highway.
James Allen’s brother, John Allen of Fair Oaks, Indiana, said their dad, Kenneth, was a firefighter for the volunteer Morris Fire Department for 27 years, so the boys practically were raised in the firehouse.
“As kids, our home phone had a certain ring if it was a fire call. James would hop on his bike and ride to the fire location and watch and learn from the men,” John Allen said. “He took training classes in high school and when he was fully eligible at 21, he joined the force as a volunteer.”
James Allen’s mother, Judy Steffes of Demotte, Indiana said it wasn’t unusual for James to be walking around with any pair of boots he could find and a helmet.
“He knew he wanted to be a fireman since he was 2 years old,” she said.
James Allen was married at the time of his death to Donna Allen, and the two had one son, Ken Allen, who was only 3 when his father died.
Ken Allen, who lives in Darien, said he has vague memories, but loves hearing stories about his father and hopes to pass them down to his children – his daughter Briana and son J.J., whom is partially named after his late grandfather.
“I was told he was tall and the kind of guy who was noticed when he walked into a room,” Ken Allen said.
State Rep. John Anthony, R-Plainfield, and Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Fire Chief Tracey Steffes collaborated to have the section of highway named after James Allen.
With the lobbying by Legislative Liaison Office of the State Fire Marshal, George Korda, help from state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and others, the motion went through the Illinois Legislature unanimously in 2015.
“As a former first responder, I want to take care of those who put their lives on the line. I want to thank Sue (Rezin) for getting it through the Senate and I’m honored to represent these great people,” Anthony said.
As a crowd of more than 100 gathered Saturday, James Allen’s father, Kenneth Allen, sat in a chair as Rezin spoke and handed him the official memorial highway acknowledgement papers from the Senate.
“Thank you to the Allen family. This is one way we can recognize James and the service he provided to the community. A definition of a hero is someone who gives his life through serving,” Rezin said.
Kenneth Allen spoke of his son and his service.
“He was a fine man all of the time,” he said. “He was always helping people and loved the job. I am so proud of him.”
Top: I had the honor to meet James Allen's father Kenneth Allen and present him with the official memorial highway dedication acknowledgement papers during the Firefighter James Allen Memorial Highway dedication.
Bottom: Pastor Steve Larson, me, Dave Bonomo (President Morris Fire Protection), Deputy Chief Bob Wills (Morris Fire Protection).
Around the District and the State
Enjoyed last weekend with my Mom and this guy at the Randolph antique market!
Loved going to Decatur this week to attend the Farm Progress Show! Growing up on a farm, this is our "Super Bowl." To see all the new technology and meet so many great people always makes attending this event so great. Agriculture is so vital to our economy and way of life. Thanks to all our farmers for their hard work!
It was my honor to speak at the opening ceremony for the Central States Thresherman's Reunion this morning. It was very interesting to see the equipment that farmers used many years ago, and I truly appreciate that this organization continues to perpetuate a lifestyle that every generation has an opportunity to enjoy!
Thanks to my friends from Pleasant View for welcoming me to their facility! I really enjoyed getting to speak with all of your amazing residents and staffers!
SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW AUG. 31 - SEPT. 4
SPRINGFIELD, IL–The weekbefore what many people regard as theunofficial end of summer, House lawmakers returned to the Capitolto override gubernatorialvetoes,and suburban law enforcement officers mourn the loss of one of their own, according to State Sen. Sue Rezin said.
Lawmakers are nowhere closer to a final Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution, as this week’s action at the Capitol focused on legislative overrides.
Moody’s Investment Services warned that if lawmakers do not solve the60-plus-day budgetarystalemate soon, it could very likelyimpact the state’s bond ratings,and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging residents toplan for emergenciesduring National Preparedness Month.
House fails to override controversial‘AFSCME’ bill
Gov.BruceRauner’sveto of a controversial “binding arbitration” bill was upheld as House Speaker Michael Madigan failed to muster the necessary 71 votes to override. By some estimates, if Senate Bill 1229 was upheld and eventually enacted,it could have cost the state an estimated $2billion in the next four years for labor costs.
The legislation was largely pannedbecause it would have removed a duly-elected governor from union negotiations in the event of a contract dispute. Instead, Senate Bill 1229 would have placed the process of determining the outcome of taxpayer-paid, multi-billion-dollar labor agreements between the Governor and state employee unions in the hands of an unelected arbitrator.
Additionally, locally-elected union representatives would have been removed from the equation, and critics questioned a provision in the legislation that would have removed the union’s ability to strike.
Southern Illinois Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville), who has often sided with government labor organizations on their goals, called Senate Bill 1229 an “absolutely bad bill andit was a bad precedent toset.” He also questioned the bill’s sunset provision for the time ofRauner’sterm in office.
Lawmakers are hopeful that having put this issue to rest, the Governor can move forward productively with the ongoing negotiations with the state’s largest public sector union, AFSCME.
Rauner and Teamsters agree to contract terms
Despite rhetoric by some public sector union representatives thatGov.Rauner is attempting to “union bust,” the administration and the Teamsters agreed to a new four-year contract for more than 4,600 state employees.
The Teamsters represent a significant segment of the state’s Illinois Department of Transportation workforce.
The new agreement was lauded by both sides as being a “good deal” for taxpayers and the members of the bargaining unit.
Suburban law enforcement search and community grieves
Lake County area law enforcement officials continue a manhunt for three armed subjects after Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles JosephGliniewiczwas savagely gunned-down on Sept. 1.
Senate Republican lawmakers expressed their sympathies for the family, friends and coworkers of Lt.Gliniewicz, who was a 32-year law enforcement veteran.
The murder of Lt.Gliniewiczmarked the fourth shooting of a law enforcement officer in less than two weeks across the nation.
Credit agency weighs in on budget impasse, fiscal woes
Moody’s InvestorsService issued a warning to Illinois policy makers this week, as the budgetary stalemate enters its third month.In a recent report, the credit rating agency said that while the budget impasse currently “has had limited effects on our view of the state’s credit position,” that would change if a resolution can’t be negotiated in the coming weeks.
The report said that while the budget stalemate has “not yet strained the state’s finances…that will change if an accord is not reached soon.” In fact, Moody’s suggested that the state needs to have a budget in place by the end of September or the potential for a further credit downgrade will “greatly increase.”
The agency also underscored that they’ll be paying close attention to the “nature of the eventual agreement.” Of particularly interest to Moody’s is how the state will address its pension funding pressures and the state’s deficit, which has been estimated at a$5 billion shortfall for the current fiscal year.
Illinois’ low credit rating has massive trickle-down effects,which make road building more expensive, local government borrowing more difficult and even add to individual student loan debts.
Illinois already has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states, and the state's finances are further stressed by the City of Chicago’s financial instability. Earlier this summer, the Chicago Public Schools andMcPier’sbond ratings took a massive hit as payments were nearly missed.
Farmers flock to Decatur for the Farm Progress Show
With a narrow window before harvest begins, farmers from across the country joined with ag professionals from around the world at the 2015 Farm Progress Show in Decatur.
The three-day event featured over 650 exhibitors showing off the latest innovations in farm machinery, seed genetics, and grain handling technology, in addition to a multitude of other vendors. Organizers planned for 150,000 visitors, and Show Director Matt Jungmann said attendance appears close to that number.
A number of lawmakers attended the event as well, meeting with constituents, local businesses and using the opportunity to simply to learn more about the state’s leading industry.
Back on the farm, many larger operations slowly began their harvest, while the rest of the state’s crops continue their march to maturity.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1% of the Illinois corn crop has now been harvested, with 21% rated as mature. Only 5% of soybeans are rated as mature, but 73% are already changing color, which happens just before they are ready to be harvested. The third cutting of hay is nearing completion as well, with 73% of acres now baled.
‘Don’t wait. Communicate.’
“Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today”is theIllinois themefor 2015’s NationalPreparednessMonth. That simple theme is being stressed by the IllinoisEmergency Management Agency asrecent and upcoming milestones serve as stark reminders for being prepared.
Last week, Louisiana marked the 10thanniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, and Americans will pause next week to remember the 14thyear since the 9/11 Attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. Whether the disaster is natural or a man-made terrorist action, it is always better to take the necessary steps to ensure your family, friends and coworkers are prepared.
Ready.Illinois.Gov can be your “one-stop shop” for helpful informational tips to ensure your safety and help devise disaster plans. If you are on Facebook, be sure to check back for the Agency’s “tip of the day” during the month of September. Social networking can also be an immediate source of information during a time of disaster, so please check outwww.facebook.com/ReadyIllinoisorwww.twitter.com/ReadyIllinoisfor the latest safety tips.
Yes, please periodically send me e-mail updates.*
*By subscribing to my
e-mail updates, you are authorizing me to send regular e-mail updates from my office to your e-mail account.