SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Senate is scheduled to adjourn on May 31, which is injecting an increased sense of urgency into Senate lawmakers working to negotiate a budget compromise, according to State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg).
Legislative leaders and staffs continued “behind-the-scenes” meetings to hopefully resolve the budgetary impasse that has affected the state for more than two years.
DRA Visit to Cairo
Senator Fowler began the week with his 14th visit to Cairo, meeting with officials from the federal Delta Regional Authority (DRA) on May 8. The DRA engages in economic development and infrastructure upgrades in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers Delta region. Chairman Chris Masingill toured the southern-most point of Illinois with officials from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, representatives from Illinois’ Congressional Delegation, and several local officials.
The purpose of the tour was to expose the DRA to the economic challenges facing Southern Illinois and provide a financial boost for the “soft costs” associated with the start-up of the proposed port terminal in Cairo. If completed, the terminal would serve as a regional hub of transportation to get coal, grain, and many other Southern Illinois products to foreign markets.
Cairo is unique in that it is the most northern point of both rivers that are less susceptible to drought or winter freezing. It is estimated that southern Illinois farmers and coal producers would flock to Alexander County for the availability of another intermodal facility to get products downstream.
Fowler holds telephone forum
Senator Fowler took to the “telephone air waves” for his second forum of the legislative session to give residents of the 59th Senate District an update on what was happening in the Capitol. The Senator fielded a number of questions from more than 3,000 constituents who tuned in for the forum. The forum provides a venue for hundreds of constituents to get their questions and comments heard from the comfort of one’s recliner or kitchen table.
Fowler hosts Capitol guests
Constituents from the Williamson County Early Childhood Cooperative were welcomed by Senator Fowler to the Capitol. The educational professionals were in attendance to speak with lawmakers about the WCECC’s backlog of payments which amounts to more than $1 million. The WCECC is a function of the five school districts that encompass Williamson County’s early childhood population.
Senator Fowler also greets constituents from Franklin and Saline Counties, who were in town to lobby for breast cancer research funding. Finally, Senator Fowler welcomed the Cairo High School’s TECH 2017 team, which had a digital presentation on the history of Cairo and Alexander County.