• Trip to Springfield: an 8th grader's insightful perspective

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    Joe Springer accompanied his mom on the trip to Springfield to advocate for the small business community. Joe shared his experience below.

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    Hello, my name is Joe Springer and I attend Gurrie Middle School.  Recently I was able to go down to Springfield with my mom and the West Suburban Chamber.  That was one of the most exciting things I've ever done!  First I want to thank the Chamber and Ken Grunke for allowing me to tag along.  It was so fascinating to see government in progress.  We met with several different state reps and senators and were able to hear all that is going on, or not going on in legislature.  We attended a luncheon in which ATT's Jim Mauer spoke about business and the future of ATT and technology.  It was very interesting to hear what things drive their bottom line.  Then we went and had several meetings with local government officials.  I found it so fascinating how government works. I learned alot about the different ways people get laws into effect or stop laws from going into effect.  We saw people protest, meet one on one to advocate for their cause and we watched the flurry of activity as people ran from office to office to state their case to legislature. 
    Aside from watching the senate in session and meeting with senators, representatives and the governor we were able to go down on the senate floor, go to various receptions later and actually talk one on one with our local government.  I felt very grown up hanging out at the Lincoln Library with my kiddie cocktail talking with state senators.
    All that aside it really inspired me to continue pursuing my goal of getting my bill introduced to stop factory farming.  As a young person I want to make sure that our future is bright and we do all we can to provide safe and healthy environment for our people and our livestock.  
    Did you know that approximately 25,00 livestock operations exist in Illinois and that some operations contain over 10,000 animals on just a few acres.  The IEPA has less than 10 full-time staff in their livestock regulatory program.  The most frightening thing is that these operations produce over 10 million tons of waste annually, polluting nearby lands, waters and creating foul stenches for those families that live nearby.  This produces a low quality of life for the animals and the people in neighboring towns and villages.  If we want to see this world become a better place we need to know what is happening around us and make the changes for the better, not worse.
    My next step is to speak with our local rep Jim Durkin and see if he will introduce my bill!  I would like to see better regulations on how many animals can be on one farm or area of land and a better system for waste management.
    Thanks again Ken for letting me head down to Springfield.  You are awesome!
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