MORRISON, Illinois - Two months into her first term, Illinois Rep. Tony McCombie, (R) Savanna, is getting an earful from constituents. She was in Morrison on Monday, March 20, for a listening session with voters.
"We're looking for a budget," said Vern Latwesen, chairman of the Whiteside County Soil & Water Conservation District. "We're looking to get funded."
"We have unique problems here," added Resource Conservationist Dave Harrison. "We feel we have some solutions."
For the freshman representative, it's part of the transition to Springfield. She's most surprised by rigid rules that prevent real progress.
"When people say, 'Pass a budget,' I will vote yes or no when a budget comes across my desk," she said. "The problem is, where is it? Let's get it there."
That gridlock reaches from Springfield back to the Whiteside County Farm Bureau in Morrison. Rep. McCombie says that breaking through it requires new ideas.
She's already working on bipartisan legislation that promotes riverfront economic development. Another bill would help existing businesses like Exelon in Cordova.
Rep. McCombie says that party divisions aren't as prevalent on the job. She hopes it will translate to eventual budget progress.
"When you put yourself out there to be in this position, you have to be willing to make those decisions," she said. "So many are so worried about getting voted in next time, they're not willing to dive in there."
On Monday, she learned about crucial farm services put on hold without a state budget.
"The state needs to decide what's important and support us," said Latwesen.
"Make changes," recommended Harrison. "Run it as a business, and get the job done."
From this listening session, advice that Rep. Tony McCombie will take back to Springfield.
"Let's get going," she concluded. "We're down there to be working."
Still working, as these folks know, to pass a state budget for Illinois.