2017 01 25 Collins SotSLast year, as we began 2016 without a budget, I said that I wanted to see some understanding from the governor. That he understands the effect his policies have on real people. That he understands that these aren’t just numbers, but our seniors, our students, our social service providers, our disabled family members and our young college students who need grants to fund their higher education.

2017 01 25 Northwestern students

This past Wednesday, as we heard the governor’s State of the State address, I was proud to host students from Northwestern University in Springfield. Driven, capable young people like this year's Truman Fellows, Olyvia Chinchilla, Imani Wilson, Kevin Corkran, Matthew Guzman and Kathleen Nganga, are among those who, for the past 18 months, have wondered whether the state of Illinois will ever cast aside partisan bickering and resume fulfilling its obligations. Students like these are going to be the future of Illinois, and the past two years have made them unsure whether a state that does not fund its universities is where they want to settle.2017 01 25 KathleenNganga

Governor Rauner spoke of ensuring we are competitive enough as a state to be compassionate. Kathleen pointed out that prioritizing competition can often negatively impact those who are already marginalized. And I add that to be truly competitive, we must ensure a level playing field for all. That means funding higher education and fostering opportunity for students like Kathleen and her fellow students.

As Governor Rauner tries to highlight positives, we are once again entering the year without a budget – not due to a lack of vision, but a lack of cooperation. The Senate has repeatedly put forth spending plans, and all have been rejected because the governor wishes to fight over non-budgetary concerns.

We are still working on proposals aimed at breaking this impasse and funding the services that help the people of Illinois. As we do, I hope the governor will understand that compromise means setting aside oneself for the greater good.

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Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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