OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (June 2022) (Essex, IL) — Growing up on a farm in rural Kankakee County, I never really knew what it was like to do just the bare minimum.
Farm life is all about going above and beyond: getting up early, staying out late, dealing with changing weather conditions and crop and livestock challenges. Every day is different, but you can bet that if you’re doing it right, you’re doing the job until it gets done – no matter what it takes.
As your State Senator, I take pride in bringing that same work ethic and determination to serving you. So you can imagine how I felt when our agriculture community recently recognized my work to go above and beyond for Illinois farmers in Springfield.
I was humbled and honored earlier this month to accept the Illinois Soybean Association Legislative Champion Award at a great event in suburban Lombard, followed by the Illinois Association FFA giving me the Honorary State FFA Degree at its Springfield convention. Most legislators will tell you they don’t do this job for such honors, but it is incredibly encouraging to hear from such important constituencies that the work you’re putting in is not only noticed – it is appreciated and making a difference in their lives and their businesses.
This spring, I worked closely with the Soybean Association on B20 legislation, expanding the sales tax exemption on biodiesel from 10 percent to 19 percent blends. The change will strengthen the environmental benefits of biodiesel being used at the gas pumps, and improve demand for this renewable fuel grown right here in our farm fields by about 125 million gallons annually.
As Chairman of the Illinois Senate Agriculture Committee, I will continue to work with our industry stakeholders, farmers and future farmers in the 40th District and across our state to support their businesses and find new ways to expand their markets.
I also was encouraged by the sincere thank yous I received from leaders at the 100 Club of Illinois, a fantastic nonprofit I have written about here before that serves the families of active duty first responders and those who have been killed in the line of duty. I sponsored House Bill 4161 this year to create a state income tax donation option to support this wonderful group’s mission.
The checkoff is now state law and will be available on next year’s income tax forms.
I want to share the spirit of going above and beyond. I am again asking local students to read at least eight books their summer vacation to receive a gift card and certificate, as part of my student reading program that helps keep kids engaged in learning when school is out.
Our team is always looking for new ways to do more to meet the needs in our communities. Please consider joining me and my team on Saturday, July 16, at 10 a.m. at 1333 S. Schoolhouse Road in New Lenox for our latest Coffee and Conversation event. We’ll talk about state issues on your mind and offer help on FOID cards, unemployment and other pressing issues.
Look for more in the coming months on my local visits and ways we are working to deliver for the Southland. I urge you to contact me anytime I can help: 708-756-0882, or at http://www.
OpEd: Senator Patrick Joyce (June 2022)