With spring legislative session scheduled to begin on January 30, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) spent the week in his district, celebrating the legacy and career of a local leader, speaking with members of Southern Illinois’ agricultural community and supporting a local nonprofit that works to provide a new pair of shoes to children in need.
Honoring a local leader and role model in the community, Sen. Fowler joined members of the Marion community to celebrate the retirement and career of Mayor Robert Butler on January 23. After almost 55 years of dedication and service to his community, Mayor Butler will be retiring at the end of the month. Mayor Butler is ending his career as one of the longest serving mayors in the nation, having worked tirelessly to bring growth, development and opportunities to the area. Having worked closely with Mayor Butler, Sen. Fowler was honored to speak at the celebration, recognize his tremendous legacy in the community and wish him all the best in future endeavors.
With scheduled session beginning on January 30, Sen. Fowler reached out to members of Southern Illinois’ agricultural community to take part in his second meeting of his Agricultural Advisory Committee on January 26. Sen. Fowler invited members and representatives of the agricultural industry in the 59th Senate District to come together to discuss ongoing issues in the agricultural community, giving the Senator better insight into the needs of the state’s number one industry and economic driver. At this week’s meeting, Sen. Fowler welcomed Trooper Paul Howard, Motor Carrier Safety Inspector with the Illinois State Police, to brief the committee. The advisory board also heard from Warren Goetsch, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Also this week, Sen. Fowler joined Advanced Energy Solutions Solar for their “Business After Hours” event in Carterville on January 25. AES Solar opened their doors to the public, giving tours of their showroom and offering visitors a chance to learn more about solar power and renewable energy. AES has been operating in Southern Illinois since 1999, bringing American-made renewable energy systems to the region and working to educate the public about energy efficiency for almost 20 years.
Continuing the trend of celebrating local businesses, Sen. Fowler attended the Marion Chamber of Commerce’s 97th annual Banquet and Auction and the Benton-West City Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner throughout the week. Sen. Fowler joined the chambers as they turn to a new year, celebrating the accomplishments and milestones from 2017, honoring and recognizing award winners, and bringing together members of the business community.
Sen. Fowler also joined the Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet organization as they provided new shoes to students in need. Happy Feet is an organization that has operated for almost 10 years to provide quality, free shoes to students to help them become better learners. The corporation, founded in Union County, KY, believes providing a basic necessity, like athletic shoes, helps build children’s self-esteems, combats bullying and takes away a worry and distraction for many children about lacking fitting footwear.
In state news, Illinois lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for three scheduled days of session on Jan. 30 and 31, and Feb. 1, which will include the Governor’s State of the State Address on Jan. 31. While Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn’t made any public statements on what specifically will be included in his annual speech, typically governors use the event to paint a picture of both the current status of state government and their plans moving forward.
Finally, Sen. Fowler is reminding everyone that the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will begin accepting 2017 individual state income tax returns on Jan. 29, the same day that the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting federal individual income tax returns. More information can be found on Sen. Fowler’s website, senatorfowler.com.