Chamber welcomes legislators
The Union County Chamber of Commerce had its November meeting at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna on Thursday, Nov. 2.
Guest speakers at the meeting were State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, and State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg.
The senators gave chamber members a glance as to what it’s like to be a legislator and answered questions.
Fowler explained that his district consists of 13 counties in Southern Illinois, while some senators up near Chicago may have just a neighborhood. Districts are determined based on population.
Promoting tourism to Southern Illinois was something Fowler said he is currently working on. He wants to increase signage, marketing and is making videos that can be found on social media to promote specific areas in Southern Illinois.
Schimpf talked more about the legislative process, including how difficult it can be to pass a bill and how he wishes they were more involved as senators.
He said 7,000 pieces of legislation have been presented this year.
“We might not see legislation until the day before a vote,” Schimpf noted.
Each senator expressed to chamber members how important it is for constituents to call their offices about concerns they have.
“Our staff tracks constituents issues,” Fowler said.
Both legislators said they take constituents’ opinions into consideration when it comes time to vote.
One chamber member asked about the divide between Chicago and the rest of the state.
Schimpf said the solution is to build a relationship with Chicago instead of having an us versus them mentality.
“We have to argue that legislation is good for all of Illinois, not just Southern Illinois,” Schimpf said.
As of the Nov. 2 meeting, the chamber had 157 members.
Some important dates and events that were presented at the meeting include Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25, the next chamber meeting on Dec. 7, which will feature guest speaker SIU chancellor Carlo Montemagno and the 2017-2018 chamber gala on Jan. 27, 2018.