OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (December 2022)

Senator Patrick Joyce

OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (December 2022) (Essex, IL) — Sometimes, life can bring everything to a screeching halt and put what really matters back into perspective.

This has been a busy few months for me and my family. After running and winning re-election in November, we turned right around and had a busy veto session in Springfield. We debated and passed important changes to the SAFE-T Act that I helped negotiate and headed home to wrap up some loose ends before the holidays – and then we return to Springfield in January for the 2023 session.

All of us in the Illinois Senate suffered an unexpected, tragic loss on Dec. 9, with the untimely passing of my friend and colleague Sen. Scott Bennett.

I had worked closely with Scott on a number of issues in my time in the Senate. We partnered on the Senate Agriculture Committee as two Democrats who represent heavily rural areas, and we discussed the challenges facing our farmers in a podcast last summer.

We worked closely together this summer and fall amid the public debate over the Jan. 1 beginning to the SAFE-T Act. We met with state’s attorneys and law enforcement and crafted legislation with the advocates that ultimately led to a better law we had the good fortune to pass in the veto session. Scott was right there negotiating and bringing people together to make our state better.

That seemingly endless optimism is why so many people liked, appreciated and respected Scott Bennett. He came to the Capitol as a Democrat representing a district featuring the University of Illinois. But he was genuinely interested in building friendships, in overcoming differences – in being a public servant, not a politician.

His passing was completely unexpected. At just 45, he was full of life and in great spirits when we saw each other recently. He apparently fell ill in the early morning hours of Dec. 8, and his wife Stacy noted he had passed of complications from a large brain tumor the next day. From Gov. J.B. Pritzker down through legislators of both parties, anyone who knew and worked with Scott came together in statement after statement to remember a great man who was a friend, a colleague and a mentor.

In our ever-busy lives, it’s so easy to take the friendships and relationships we care about for granted. I will miss Scott Bennett every time I go to Springfield and do not see him in the Senate chamber.

My hope is at a time when our politics are nasty and divisive, and people take our differences so personally, we can be more like Sen. Scott Bennett. Let’s honor his legacy by finding solutions together, by turning partisan battlegrounds into common ground that helps change things for the better. We will miss you, Scott, but I hope we can learn from you.

I am preparing to head to Springfield in early January for the start of our 2023 legislative session. I look forward to sharing with you soon more about my priorities for the session, and to hearing from you on what we can pursue to help our district and our state.

As we head into 2023, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Please consider giving this holiday season to the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and many other worthy local charities working to make this time of the year better for those in need.

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 (December 2022)

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