CORDOVA, Illinois -
There's a reason for all the smiles and snapshots at the Exelon plant in Cordova on Tuesday, December 12.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is returning one year after the Future Energy Jobs Act saved 800 Exelon jobs.
"We've laid the foundation for low energy costs and much more economic growth and more jobs," he said.
About this time last year, it became a new day at the plant.
A tough, two-year process allowed lawmakers to break through Illinois gridlock to save the Quad Cities Generating Station.
"It's been an exciting year," said Kenneth Ohr, site vice president. "If you pass our facilities, there's no part of the Quad Cities that's been untouched since the passing of the bill."
Exelon is moving ahead with a major $20-million expansion. After facing an uncertain future, this investment is symbolizing a major revival.
The plant has added more than 100 new jobs and some 600 construction jobs with its current projects.
"It was economically smart," Ohr continued. "It was a little bit inspirational as well as you look to the vision of the Quad Cities as the leader in clean energy."
That optimism is evident as Gov. Rauner returns. He says that lower energy costs will pay dividends for homes and businesses.
"That helps keep the cost of living lower for families," he concluded. "It helps us attract more manufacturing jobs and good-paying businesses from around the country."
At the Exelon plant, it's definitely something to smile about.