• It's up to you -- it's up to us

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    Well, I finally got back, fully recovered from my relaxing trip to Springfield...you know, that "foreign country" to the south of us that currently has the weight of the world on it's shoulders.  While the overall experience was everything I imagined it to be - exhausting, informative (but still feeling like I was missing something when I left) and simply "loud" - I drove away feeling just a little bit more empowered to effect and create change...and challenging all of you to join me.

    Thanks to the coordination of Chamber 630 and other chambers of commerce who were a collective part of the experience, it was gratifying to know that we weren't down there alone; joining the rally with important partners like the Small Business Advocacy Council, AT&T, West Central Municipal Conference, Lyons Township and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

    While a marathon of meetings and attending sessions in the House and Senate brought to light many pressing issues, some of the top takeaways were:

    - Improvement of Illinois infrastructure through a potential fuel tax (or similar - not ruling out a possible tax on professional services)
    - The reminder from our legislative leaders that the blood bath this year will result in some "clear winners and losers" (yes, that was a direct quote I heard many times over)
    - Causation is a must and the overall debate surrounding equity for worker's compensation insurance
    - The hope for reinstating a lot of social and human services that have been cut is very bleak and dismal - only to hear multiple times the importance of "redefining service delivery in Illinois" - and what does that look like
    - Minimum wage reform is on its way - what it looks like is still uncertain (the devil is in the details)
    - Ongoing delay on MAP grant funding - and some dangerous legislation that could impact education funding in our communities
    - A budget impasse that at least is seeing a little bit of conversation between the two juggernauts, but nothing even close to confirmation
    - Independent Maps is very hot now - overall agreement that this much change

    (and a partridge in a pair tree)

    So, what's next!?  While we all can sit in silos - point fingers at one another or, even worse, twiddle our thumbs in the hopes that if we shut our eyes tight enough, we can make believe that none of this is (and will continue to be) affecting "me" - I came back from Springfield with the "simple" task of challenging each and every one of you - members, businesses and partners alike - to take a pause and ask yourself - "how am I ensuring that my community; my region is one that I (and my family) will continue to be able to work, live and play in."

    If it was entirely up to the State, they would have to get back to you on that.

    So what are you going to do?

    I for one have never been known for being patient (or shy), especially when it comes to keeping my community healthy. And if you are short on ideas - please ask Joseph Springer - an 8th grader from the area who came down with his mom, Evelina (one of our members from Devon Bank) to not only experience advocacy in its true form, but to challenge the Governor with one of his own pieces of legislation.  Now how is that for effecting change?

    So, again, I ask you - what are you going to do?  

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