• Column 2-10-17

    As I am writing this I have just returned from Springfield after two days of session.  Two days of session and not much to show for it, unfortunately.  Many of you are asking about the so called “Grand bargain” being discussed in the Senate.  As a member of the House, I am not a part of those talks, and quite frankly I learn from the same news reports most of you do.

    I will say this about the talks: I am optimistic that members of the other chamber are meeting to discuss budgetary issues in a bi-partisan fashion.  Even though some of the proposals that are being talked about are beyond that which I can support, the very notion that the two sides are willing to engage each other is encouraging.


  • Column 1-20-17

    As I write this column, I am watching the news reports on Inauguration Day.  It’s almost surreal to think that today is the day when the greatest country in the world has its peaceful transition of power.  President Trump took the Oath of Office and with that begins day one of his term.  In my opinion, his record begins right now.  His life up until now was just that – his life, but now – he is our President.  Now he begins the Presidency, and with that we also must begin to hold him accountable just the same as we held President Obama accountable.

    And while we may not take any issue acknowledging the fact that he is our President,...

  • Column 1-13-17

    On Wednesday, January 11th, I had the honor of being sworn in to the 100th General Assembly. I couldn’t be more proud to represent Northwest Illinois in Springfield.  As your legislator, every decision I make is guided by one principal: “What can I do to make Illinois – and specifically Northwest Illinois – a better place to live, work and to raise a family?”  That was the guiding principal that former Representative Sacia carried before me, and that legacy was passed to him by former Representative Lawfer.


    As many of you know – and as I mentioned in this column previously – Ron Lawfer retired from this earth and took his place on what I’m sure is a farm on...

  • Column 12-30-16

    Happy New Year everybody! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? We’ve all heard about the success rate of resolutions. If we follow the law of averages then by February most of our resolutions are out the window and we wait until the next year to repeat the same cycle. So how can we break that cycle? How can we make this year the year that we defy the odds?

    Well, it turns out that there is a scientific formula to tip the odds in your favor. We’ll get to that later, but first I want to talk about what Illinois’ New Year’s resolution should be. Where do we start? I guess you go big or you go home.  

    So let’s say this, “In 2017 We, the State of Illinois, resolve to reign in our finances, pay our bills on time, encourage...

  • Column 12-23-16

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!  This week, for the first and only time this year, I will not be talking politics.  I think in 2016 we’ve had our fill.  And as I said in the Christmas column, don’t spend the Holidays arguing politics with family!

    First, for those of you who don’t know already, one of my predecessors passed away on December 18th.  Ron Lawfer was an incredible advocate for farming and Northwest Illinois.  He was, even more impressively, a terrific husband to his wife Patricia and a tremendous father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  Ron established a Representative legacy that will always leave an indelible mark on Northwest Illinois, but undoubtedly his greatest accomplishment was his...

  • Column 12-16-16

    Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year.  I’m not quite sure how to explain it exactly, but during the two weeks leading up to Christmas, everyone just appears to be happier, and it couldn’t come at a better time considering we are suffering through a cold spell in the dead of winter. 

    We all enjoy the little things about the holidays: whether it be the decorations, the lights, the music, the presents, or the Christmas movies.  And then there’s the glimmering hope of the New Year; the idea that everything bad that happened in 2016 will be in the past.  The year 2017 will be a blank slate and a fresh start.  This is certainly the most wonderful time of the year. 

    Over the past several months you’ve heard me week after week lamenting the current state of the state.  By now you...

  • Column 12-9-16

    Being an elected State Legislator is an honor and a privilege.  That being said, the job is part-time, and many of us in the legislature have full time careers outside of our government capacity. However, some legislators consider this part-time job to be their full-time job.  So when Comptroller Munger started putting politicians’ pay at the back of the line, these full-time legislators bristled.

    Former Comptroller Munger and current Comptroller Mendoza both ran on a campaign promise of “No budget; no pay.”  If the legislators didn’t do their jobs then they would be prioritized behind vendors and nonprofits.  Most Illinoisans liked the idea of legislators not being paid unless they did their job and passed a budget, but some Chicago Area State Representatives did not appreciate the prioritization.

    We have to remember...

  • Column 12-2-16


    I’m going to start this column off on a positive note before we talk about some of the issues going on in Springfield.  How about those Forreston Cardinals?  State Champions again for the second time in three years.  I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that we have one of the best athletic conferences in the state here in Northwest Illinois.  We are proud of our student athletes, and we are especially proud that a local team has once again become state champions. Congratulations to Forreston High School!


    Now on to some less than happy news... You all know the story of Illinois’ fiscal troubles: politicians made promises they couldn’t keep and...

  • Column 11-18-16

    I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Friends, rule number one this holiday is to not talk politics.  The last thing you want is to have Uncle Pete and Cousin Chuck at each other’s throats with the turkey carving knife.  Enjoy the holiday and enjoy the company of your family!

    Before I continue my theme of addressing the results of the 2016 election, I would like to respond to a bill that many of you have contacted my office about – the serialization of handgun ammunition.  I oppose the bill for three reasons: 1) Only law abiding citizens would be hurt by the law.  Criminals would simply buy ammunition from other states or steal ammunition from upstanding citizens. 

  • Column 11-10-16

    If you will allow me, I would like to share some of my thoughts on President-elect Trump’s victory.  But first, on this Veteran’s Day I would like to thank all veterans who are fighting or who have fought for our country to give us the right to vote and allow us to make this the greatest country on earth.  Secondly, I would like to thank the nearly 38,000 of you who voted for me.  Though I ran unopposed, the fact that 85% of the district chose to fill in the circle for me was extremely humbling.  I am forever grateful and it is an honor and privilege to represent you in Springfield.

    All of you who read my column know that I did not weigh in on the top of...

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