Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Time is Now

For myriad reasons, my blogging output has obviously been lacking of late. But I just read a great article that I would be remiss to not pass on to readers. Mike Lawrence, of whom I have always been a fan, (and who just stepped down as the Director of SIU's Paul Simon Policy Institute), does a fine job of eloquently setting forth the dire state in which our state finds itself.
Illinois is drifting toward a mediocrity that could deny our kids and grandkids the economic opportunity and quality of life that have lifted generation after generation in this heartland hub. Yet, most residents do not sense the urgency, do not understand the depth and breadth of an unprecedented budgetary meltdown and do not trust their leaders any more than their leaders trust each other.
Mike goes on to succinctly distill the nature of the situation, building up to this penultimate paragraph.
To move forward resolutely will require courageous, forthright and cooperative leadership — in other words, the opposite of the paralyzing dysfunction that has marked and marred the last several years. It will not be easy, given the toxic breakdown of trust among the key players and the public’s disgust with them. But all of us who want a first-rate state must demand a new attitude in Springfield.
Not surprisingly, Mike hit it on the head.

Our state, both its citizens and its infrastructure, needs help. It doesn't need pandering, nor strategies borne of fear of political reprisals. If ever there were a time, a need, for bold and decisive leadership, that time is now.

The members of the General Assembly are uniquely empowered as stewards for Illinois' well-being. We, all of us, must see the troubled times in which we find ourselves, not as a daunting obstacle, but as an opportunity to be seized upon.

It is the time for ideas aimed at shaping our state for the next generation, rather than for the next election cycle.

Illinois residents from Galena to Chicago to Cairo, are in this together. Our children, our businesses, our future - all of them depend upon the ability of legislators to set aside geographic and partisan divides and make the tough decisions that are required by tough times.

As a nation, Americans resoundingly answered the question of 'can we do it?' by shouting 'Yes We Can'.

When we in Illinois face the question of 'will we do it?', our only reply can be 'Yes We Must'.


At December 7, 2008 at 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's really well done Rep. Fritchey, I hope you start writing more often again.

At December 7, 2008 at 2:27 PM, Blogger Seth said...

So well put, Rep. Fritchey.

Our government's stalemates are old, but our hunger for justice and prosperity is older, and more fundamental.

This state, more than any other, has the horsepower and the brainpower to build better lives for all its citizens. Bill Clinton used to say "there's nothing wrong in America that can't be fixed by what's right in America." It's so true for Illinois, and I know you'll continue to lead us toward change.


At December 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Rep! It sure would be nice to have some courageous, forthright, cooperative leadership coming out of Springfield.

At December 8, 2008 at 9:46 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

The problem isn't lack of cooperation by state leaders, it's cooperation. We don't need some Combine-beloved "Build Illinois" project that's half-useful/half-pork. Saving the state requires going up against the special interests. Let's just take education as an example: how many state legislators have a bold agenda (in writing) for converting our public school system to a teacher meritocracy through things like public school choice, merit pay, and enforcing minimum teacher qualifications [let alone increasing them], etc.)? How many of them have said we need to consolidate the far-too-many school districts in the state? How many have said that gaming is a regressive tax so long as the funds go to the general education pool, and that, for example, lottery money should be spent in the districts where the tickets are purchased?

Energy policy is more of a national issue, but will Illinois take the lead in putting "our kids and grandkids" first and stop promoting ethanol, or will it keep kow-towing to the farmers lobby? Where are the voices of leadership saying we need nuclear power plants more than windfarms (though I have no problem with windfarms per se)?

And speaking of our kids and grandkids, what is more important -- that we expand mental health services alive today or we pay off the deficit that they'll be paying off? Anyone who says we need to do both better tell us how to pay for it -- of course, one bold idea would be to decriminalize many drugs and direct the police/prison money to social services, but again, this requires courage, not cooperation of the current players.

At December 8, 2008 at 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece Representative. When are you guys going to actually do something instead of talking about it? Instead of pointing fingers at one another? You are a great legislator and we need real reform and change now!

At December 8, 2008 at 11:38 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Thanks for the comments. It wasn't my intention to point fingers, far from it,but rather to say that we really need to seize upon the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

At a time like this, you can cut and run or redouble your efforts. Obviously, I support the latter.

That being said, I do believe that the stage is better set now than it has been for some time for a strong Legislature to make some hard choices in order to move forward.

At December 9, 2008 at 9:10 AM, Anonymous lake county democrat said...

That title "The Time Is Now" is proving prophetic! Governor Pat Quinn would at a minimum be immensely entertaining, especially for reformers.

At December 12, 2008 at 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John greetings from Boca happened to catch your interview on MSNBC
came off very well on your explanation of the various alternatives

My best wishes to you and Karen for
the Holidays

Spence Roman


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