OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (April 2024)

Senator Patrick Joyce
Veteran's Memorial Park


OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (April 2024) (Kankakee, IL) — As a member of the Illinois Senate’s budget committee on Health and Human Services, I work with my fellow legislators to understand the needs in our communities and try to match resources to meet those needs. These are never easy decisions because homelessness and housing costs, food deserts and poverty, and many more challenges far outweigh the funds we have available.

But we can, and we must, always care.

I shared this message recently when visiting with the Homeless Advocacy Group of Kankakee County, and my message to them is to work with our area providers to put education first. There are programs and grant funds available to help people in need, but sometimes, there is a disconnect between the state and federal pipelines for this funding and the organizations who need them. My office is glad to work with our local agencies to help them identify these sources of funding and make sure the money gets to the people in need.

I also spent time earlier this month touring local businesses and organizations who help promote healing and opportunities for those who have faced struggles. New DCFS Director Heidi Mueller joined me and State Rep. Jason Bunting to visit Nexus-Onarga Family Healing and Cornerstone Café and Gallery on its campus, which is staffed by youth in DCFS care receiving treatment services.

I joined colleagues who share my commitment to helping lift up our communities in two successful public events: Park Forest’s annual community clean up day always draws a big crowd each spring, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Still I Rise connect local residents with important resources at the Health and Wellness Fair at the Kankakee County Museum.

Economic development tools and grants help our communities make infrastructure investments, create jobs and drive economic growth. The Rivers Edge Tax Credit has been one of the state’s shining examples of tax credit success, and I am proud to see Kankakee included in the program. We had a good crowd for a recent informational session about the investments the credit is helping make to create growth around the river.

In Springfield, we continue to work on public policy ideas that will help support our critical agricultural industry. I joined the entire Illinois Senate in voting to approve Senate Bill 3077, which will extend the highly popular Local Food Infrastructure Program that will help members of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and others buy refrigerated trucks, partner on community kitchens and make other investments to help farmers get more local foods into our stores and markets.

I’m also leading a bipartisan push in the Senate this spring for Senate Bill 3814, which would make a much-needed expansion of a cover crops program that Illinois farmers have embraced to help protect their farmlands and prevent soil erosion and other environmental concerns.

The Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve is an attraction for local residents in Will County, and under Senate Bill 3091 that I sponsored, the preserve will add longer trails and bring in more traffic through a 10-acre expansion that has passed the Illinois Senate.

Our legislative session is scheduled to end in May, and we will be busy debating and passing legislation that affects our district and state including the new state budget. I encourage you to follow along with the legislation I am sponsoring at: https://ilga.gov/senate/SenatorBills.asp?MemberID=3164.

I urge you to contact me anytime I can help: 708-756-0882, or at http://www.senatorpatrickjoyce.com/. I will continue to share the latest news on my website and on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/senPatrickjoyce40/.

Sen. Patrick Joyce
D-Essex, 40th State Senate District

OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (April 2024)


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