As an urban planner for over 40 years, my passion and commitment for the development of our region have helped to bring vital infrastructure projects to the Southland. Some of these projects include: $700 Million for the I-57/I-294 Interchange, $585 Million for the new Metra Electric Highliner Cars, $43 Million for the new Stuenkel Road Interchange, and millions more in local road construction projects. I also secured funding for manufacturing training to train individuals for these high-tech jobs since becoming State Representative. It was a bold promise that I made at my Transportation Equity Summit at Marya Yates School in 2007. But, together we made those promises realities in action or in law.

But, many other regional infrastructure projects that we have fought for are now in jeopardy. Most were in the planning phase, then were stalled or stopped under the Rauner Administration.

Local governments and state universities are also under attack. Many of our community-based organizations in the Southland have closed up or been severely threatened. Not because they were not doing their job, but for purely ideological reasons. Unfortunately, many of those services will never come back. This is called “Starve The Beast” by ultra-conservative ideologues.

Access to government and those representatives that work on your behalf is what democracy is all about. The “Commons” is for everyone, not just for some. Anyone, anything or any ideology that would get in the way of your ability to govern yourself is anti-democracy. Your local elected officials are going to ensure that you continue that access from those of us who have dedicated ourselves to serve you, our constituents.