Thursday, November 30, 2006
Clinton Herald Editorial - is the link to original editorial. Since many newspapers restrict access to their archives after a specific period of time, I'll also post the text here for those who are interested.
Money headed to good local causes
Now that the election is over, we feel it is appropriate to reflect on a few six-figure checks that were presented in various parts of Illinois House District 71 in October by the incumbent candidate.
Rep. Mike Boland, D-Moline, Ill., has done a good job being visible in the northern portion of his four-county district. Although voters up here strongly backed his opponent, Savanna (Ill.) Republican Steve Haring, Boland captured a seventh two-year term in the house, which means he’ll continue to be present in the Gateway area, doing everything from passing out $100,000 checks to reading to students at local elementary schools.
The money Boland distributed in the last few weeks — $100,000 to the Fulton (Ill.) Fire Department for facility planning, $100,000 to Albany, Ill., to develop a bike trail, $100,000 to Savanna, Ill., for a boat ramp, fire truck and sidewalk repairs and $50,000 to Morrison, Ill., for a community sports complex — came from what is known as individual legislative initiative funding, which is state grant money Boland and other legislators receive to help local governments within their legislative district.
The cynics will say the money is simply a bank account for buying votes (even if the polls don’t yield results). The idealists will say it allows a lawmaker to take care of concerns throughout the district, especially those communities typically ignored by the state budget. The realists will say $350,000 would go a long way toward more pressing issues, such as hiring a few more teachers here and there.
What we see is a combination of all three. Surely a politician facing a brutal campaign will leap at a chance to pose for photos with a big ceremonial check mere days before the vote. But also, a politician who is wholly unconnected with his or her district would be unable to know enough about the needs of these communities to make such sensible contributions, even if the timing is opportune.
And could that $350,000 be put to better use than boat ramps, bike trails and soccer fields? Certainly. But if we’ve learned anything from the state and federal budgeting process, it’s that those bodies decide who gets the money and how it’s to be spent. Given the choice between money toward a new fire station and no money at all, we’ll take the money.
The most important thing is that the money allocated is needed by those who will receive it, and it will go to projects that better the community. On that level, everyone wins.
Boland's E85 Legislation Approved in Veto Session
HB 4137 Text should bring you to the full text of Boland's bill.
Tomorrow (12/1/06) Representative Boland will be holding a news conference to call on Governor Blagojevich to sign this bill into law. The media event will be held at 11AM at the FS Fast Stop Gas Station located at 1601 1st Avenue in Silvis. I know that this particular service station was the 1st in the Illinois Quad Cities to offer E85 pumps, but I'm not totally sure whether or not it remains the only one of it's kind on our side of river.
For folks who aren't familar with all the terminology, E85 fuel is produced by blending 85 percent ethanol, which is produced from domestically grown corn, with 15 percent traditional unleaded gasoline. This fuel blend provides fuel economy and power fairly similar to normal unleaded gasoline.
Here's the text of the news release for this event.
Boland Calls On Governor to Sign E85 Legislation
SILVIS - At a news conference held in front of a Silvis gas station which offers E85 fuel, State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) called on Governor Blagojevich to sign into law a recently passed bill promoting the use of ethanol in the State Of Illinois. Representative Boland was the sponsor of HB 4137 which received final approval from the Illinois General Assembly during this November’s Veto Session. Boland’s legislation requires that all new vehicles purchased by the state be Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV’s), cars and trucks that run on both E85 and traditional gasoline.
“By encouraging the use of E85 fuel, we are helping farmers here at home while also reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” Boland said. “This legislation will help to promote the development of greater capacity and infrastructure for the Illinois ethanol industry,” he continued. “Using E85 fuel produced from crops grown here in Illinois can also help stabilize commodity prices, and enhance agricultural profitability for our family farmers,” he stated. “By taking an active leadership role in promoting this new fuel technology, the State of Illinois will help to ensure a strong future for this important product and for our agricultural economy,” Boland emphasized.
“Because of our geographical position in our Nation’s heartland, and because we’ve been blessed with wonderfully rich agricultural soils, Illinois has a unique opportunity to become a leader in E85 technology,” Boland said. “Not only does the further development of E85 fuels open up exciting new markets for agriculture, it will also foster job growth as this industry continues to develops,” he stated. “By promoting and developing further markets for a cleaner burning fuel that frees us from dependence on foreign sources of oil, all the current and future residents of the Land of Lincoln come out far ahead,” Boland continued.
E85 fuel is produced by blending 85 percent ethanol, which is produced from domestically grown corn, with 15 percent traditional unleaded gasoline. This fuel blend provides fuel economy and power comparable to normal unleaded gasoline. In addition to the economic benefits of manufacturing E85 in Illinois with Ethanol made from corn grown in our state, there is the added benefit that E85 burns cleaner than traditional gasoline. E85 has the highest oxygen content of any motor fuel available today, so it burns cleaner than gasoline. This reduction in exhaust emissions improves air quality and reduces smog, which results in lower rates of respiratory disease and a better quality of life for those with breathing problems.
After it’s approval by the Illinois House, HB 4137 was amended by the Illinois State Senate, who made a small technical change. Boland was able to reconcile the minor differences between the bills during the November veto session, so it now awaits final approval by Governor Rod Blagojevich. Updates on Boland’s legislative activities as well as links to the full text of this legislation can be found visiting the website MikeBoland.blogspot.com. Representative Mike Boland can be reached at his district legislative office located at 4416 River Drive; Moline, Il 61265; or by phone at 309/736-3360. Boland’s local email contact is ILREPMikeBoland@aol.com .
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Major thanks are also due to the staff who worked here in the 71st for Mike Boland's reelection, your efforts on Boland's behalf are also greatly appreciated. Boland ended up being the #1 target in the state, and each one of you played an important role in one of the most contested House races in Illinois, and you won!
And finally, a large thank you to all of the voters. Your support for Mike Boland and our efforts from his office are very gratifying. I look forward to continuing me reports on the activities of the 71st district, and the many and varied public servants working to make life a little better in our neck of the woods.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Today's the Big Day - VOTE!
While all the various political orginizations have been doing their own GOTV thing, we've been working our own special magic here. We've made many hundreds of phone calls to our friends, reminding them it's election day.
For better or for worse, it'll all be over, except for the counting and crying, once the polls close at 7 PM, so there's still time to vote as I write this.
I give my personal regards and best wishes to all candidates. Just putting your name on the ballot shows a certain brand of courage. For nothing else, all candidates deserve recognition for their willingness to "go under the microscope" as happens in modern elections.
May the best candidate win!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Democratic Party leaders decry Haring ad, voice support for Boland
ROCK ISLAND --Area Democratic politicians stood alongside Mike Boland Sunday, decrying his opponent's ad that portrays some party members as having a negative opinion of Mr. Boland.
But GOP challenger Steve Haring said Sunday he stands by his ad.
More than 20 Democratic leaders showed their support for Mr. Boland, of East Moline, at a press conference at the Rock Island County Democractic Party headquarters.
The television ad from Mr. Haring, and its twin mailer, uses photos of several former and current Democratic officials and uses quotes published in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.
During their highly contested race for the state 71st House District seat, both candidates have lambasted each other about negative ads.
Last week, Mr. Haring, of Savanna, was outraged that Mr. Boland and his supporters ran a television ad that said voting for Mr. Haring would lead to jobs being outsourced overseas.
When asked if he had negative ads, Mr. Boland said, "Our ads point out the differences between myself and my opponent."
Mr. Haring said Sunday that the quotes used in his ads were not made up. "I'm not going to get into any finger-pointing or name-calling. My intent is to focus on the issues," he said.
Rock Island County board member John Malvik was appalled that Mr. Haring's political mailer used Mr. Malvik's photo and a quote without his permission.
In a 2001 article, Mr. Malvik said, "I'm shocked. I don't think there's any place for that type of behavior in politics," according to a press release from Mr. Haring.
Mr. Malvik said the quote was taken out of context. "In my judgment, the literature was dishonest, deceptive and misleading," he said. "In 10 years on the Rock Island County board, I have supported Mike Boland's past re-election campaigns and today continue to support Mike Boland in his current bid for re-election."
Mr. Haring said he had no response to Mr. Malvik's comments.
The 2001 article refers to Rock Island County board members being upset with Mr. Boland for choosing not to go to a spring 2000 meeting that members hosted. At the time, Mr. Boland said he attended meetings based on how much support he's received from that group. That remark made some county board members angry.
Quotes from board members Bill Armstrong and Don Jacobs from the same 2001 article were also used in political ads.
Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Jacobs both said Sunday that they support Mr. Boland.
A television ad, mailer and press release from Mr. Haring's campaign also feature quotes from former state Sen. Denny Jacobs, former state Rep. Joel Brunsvold, D-Milan, former Democratic legislator Don Wooten and Rep. Boland's chief of staff Mike Huntoon.
Mr. Wooten said Sunday night that he'd spotted the television ad that evening, in which he was "quoted as saying something to the effect that (Mr. Boland) was 'not very substantive in state government.' "
"That is simply not true. I never said such a thing," Mr. Wooten said in a written statement to The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. "The only time I have spoken to a reporter about Mike was for a background story, in which I commented that he was considered an "odd man out" by some local Democrats. But that's because he is independent, a quality I have never disparaged.
"I was misquoted and lied about when I last ran for the Illinois Senate," he said, "but thought I was safely out of such garbage."
Mr. Haring said he believes voters want a change. "There's definitely a riff between (Mr. Boland) and his constituents regardless of party," he said.
Rock Island County Democratic Party chairman John Gianulis and state Rep. Patrick Verschoore, D-Milan, also voiced their support for Mr. Boland Sunday.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Teachers Back Boland
As educators, we want to dispel misinformation being spread about State Rep. Mike Boland. As an educator for 30 years, Representative Boland knows how important a quality education is to our children. To improve the quality of education and give our children more opportunities to succeed, he secured millions of dollars in new state funding for local schools and he sponsored legislation to provide much needed money to modernize and repair several schools in our area, legislation which was opposed by Boland's political opponents.
Recently, Mike Boland has come under attack by his opponent, Steve Haring. Steve is trying to use scare tactics by telling teachers that Mike Boland raided our pension system in order to pay for the FY 2007 state budget. This is simply not true! The retirement benefits teachers earn are protected by the state constitution. Further, the annual 3 % cost-of-living adjustment for retirees, as mandated by state laws, is preserved.
During the 94th General Assembly, Representative Boland worked to pass legislation preserving the Early Retirement Option (ERO) and implementing pension reforms. While we support these reforms, there were some unintended consequences that took place as a result of this legislation. However, this past spring Rep. Boland took our concerns to Springfield and worked to address those consequences. Through working with the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois School Board Alliance and EdRed, legislation addressing these unlimited consequences was introduced and passed. Mike Boland supported this bill.
As a former teacher, Representative Boland appreciates our dedication t o educating the youth of our community and will continue standing up for us in Springfield.
Sue Foehrkolb, Teacher Glenview Middle School
Bob Feller, Teacher, U.T. High School
Patricia McLeod, Teacher, Morrison High School
Savanna Mayor Supports Boland
Here's the letter he wrote on behalf of Boland.
As the mayor of Savanna, I hope you will join me in supporting State Representative Mike Boland in his campaign for re-election for the 71st District.
Representative Boland wants to keep our families healthy. Boland passed a measure to fight breast and ovarian cancer, which requires insurance companies to cover mammograms and screenings for women at-risk of developing these deadly diseases. Due to the increasing number of middle class families unable to afford health insurance, Boland also supported a new law that makes Illinois the first state in the nation to guarantee healthcare coverage for all uninsured children.
As our State Representative, he will continue working to improve our quality of life while upholding our values. In response to a Kansas hate group that has been picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mike Boland recently backed the "Let them Rest in Peace Act," which makes it a crime to protest at a funeral, giving the families of soldiers killed in Iraq peace and respect when burying their loved ones. Mike also worked to enact legislation protecting seniors from rising property taxes by increasing the senior homestead exemption.
Representative Boland is a proven independent leader who puts partisan politics aside in order to get the job done. This year, Representative Boland stood up to the Chicago special interests and helped secure millions of dollars in funding for important local projects, like roads bridges, and to open Thomson prison, which will create good jobs in Carroll County.
As an educator for 30 years, Representative Boland knows how important a quality education is to our children. To improve the quality of education and give our children more opportunities to succeed, he secured millions of dollars in new state funding for local schools.
Boland also fought for new laws to increase exports for Illinois' farmers and to increase production of ethanol to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Last spring Mike fought for $25 million in new funding in the state budget for the creation of ethanol plants in Illinois and to promote the state's bio-fuels industry. He recognizes how important ethanol and biodiesel are not only to farmers, but to consumers and the overall economy as well. Boland believes we need to look towards establishing programs that encourage the development and use of renewable fuels. Currently, Iowa produces more ethanol than Illinois does. Boland knows we need a better renewable fuels package so we can compete with our neighbors.
Mike has also been working with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help us with important local projects, including costs towards new sidewalks, a boat ramp and to assist us with purchasing a new fire truck. I hope you will consider my personal endorsement of State Representative Mike Boland when you vote. Please also ask your friends and family to vote for Mike. Mike Boland has proven his leadership for us.
William C. Lease
Mayor of Savanna
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Boland Works for Senior Citizens
Boland works for senior citizens
By Barbara Fackler, East Moline Thursday, October 26
As a fellow senior citizen, I know that as the years pass, we are met with more scams, paperwork and demands. It’s not always easy to navigate the challenges we are faced with. Our community’s senior citizens deserve a strong voice to ensure that our needs are represented in Springfield. As senior citizens, we know that the person who represents us best is State Representative Mike Boland.
Many senior citizens live on fixed incomes, often facing difficult decisions when forced to choose between expensive, but important, medications and other necessities. For the past 12 years, Rep. Boland has fought to increase prescription drug coverage by expanding the state’s medication assistance programs. To protect our seniors from rising property taxes, Mike Boland also helped enact legislation to expand the senior homestead exemption.
Mike has stood up to Chicago interests and has been a strong voice for our region. His office is committed to helping us navigate any red tape we might face. Our community has benefited tremendously from the service of State Rep. Mike Boland, and we hope every senior citizen will help send him back to Springfield so he can continue to serve as a strong voice for seniors and families.
Barbara Fackler - East Moline
Mike Huntoon's Letter to the Editor
I am writing in response to recent letters criticizing Representative Mike Boland because he voted for this year’s state budget. I believe those criticisms were unjust, because a yes vote on the budget was a vote to move in a positive direction. Boland’s yes vote is about bringing significant new economic development to our area.
When the budget is presented to the members of the legislature, it’s usually put forth as a single piece of legislation, so there are always pluses and minuses to be weighed. It’s not usually a simple choice, but this year’s budget had so many benefits for our region, that the choice was pretty obvious.
The current budget not only included the long awaited opening of the Thomson Correctional Facility, it also contained the "local matching funds" necessary to secure millions of Federal dollars to transform Route 30 to a modern four lane highway. Boland’s vote for the budget was a vote to bring a full fledged Western Illinois University campus to our area, and there’s much more of benefit to our region that has not yet been announced.
When minority leader Tom Cross held a news conference with Steve Haring denouncing Boland’s vote, Cross perhaps wasn’t aware of all the great things the budget brings to the 71st district. As minority leader, Tom Cross does have the entire Republican Party to look out for, so, I can’t really fault him for wanting Steve to follow their party line. But it’s also pretty obvious that our regional needs, and one party leader’s personal interests, are not necessarily alike.
If either one of them had taken the time to study the budget and learn about all the improvements it brings to the 71st district, they would have easily understood why Boland voted yes. It’s simple really, a vote in favor of the budget was right thing to do for the 71st district!
I don’t believe that politics in the 21st Century should be about following party lines or pointing fingers in fancy news conferences with party leaders. I believe that being a good representative is about helping the people of your district, and getting things accomplished that will improve the quality of their lives. I am proud that Mike Boland represented his district so well with his votes in Springfield, and I commend Boland’s courage in standing up for us all and fighting for what is right.
More Check Presentation Pictures
I already posted the news release from yesterday's check presentation to Barstow and Carbon Cliff Fire Departments. Bobbi-Sue was along with Representative Boland for the event, and brought back some pictures. Carbon Cliff Fire District's check presentation is the top picture, followed by a pic of Representative Mike Boland presenting a ceremonial check to members of Barstow Fire Protection District.
In his check presentation speech, Representative Mike Boland not only thanked the volunteer firefighters who were on hand to attend, he also thanked the families of ALL volunteer firefighters, for the essential support they provide. It’s not easy to think about your spouse putting their life on the line for nothing more than the satisfaction of serving the community, so the families of volunteer firefighters also deserve our recognition for their role.
As I was growing from childhood into an adult, my family lived in Blue Grass, Iowa. Our fire department was all volunteer, and a lot of the kids I grew up with are now members of volunteer fire departments in that area. No matter what city or state they live in or serve, volunteer firefighters put their own lives on the line in order to provide essential services for their communities, and they do so without compensation.
And some people say aren't heroes anymore!
Guess they never met a volunteer firefighter!
It's not like trying to remember who your waitress is . . .
What’s wrong with that you might ask?
Lanark is NOT contained inside the district boundaries of the 71st District.
Milledgeville is NOT contained inside the district boundaries of the 71st, not even close!
And likewise Prophetstown, NOT in the 71st district, not by a long stretch!
Don’t those mayors know or care who actually represents them?
I am 100% certain those towns don’t fall within the boundaries of the 71st District that Mike Boland currently represents. I don't have a district map in front of me, but, I’m pretty sure Prophetstown is in Jerry Mitchell’s district and that Lanark and Milledgeville are both contained in Jimmy Sacia’s district.
Could it be that Steve Haring really doesn’t know the district yet, despite the fact this is his second attempt at election here? Or perhaps, are Steve and the mayors of neighboring Republican districts trying to fool the good people of the 71st?
To add to the apparent egg on their face, Steve and friends also claim the endorsement of Moline’s Mayor, but they butcher the spelling of his last name. Ooops!
Argus-Dispatch Coverage of Grant Announcements
The following link should take you to the article for at least a day or so before it ends up in the "subscriber only" zone - $1,000,000 in grants for 71st .
Representative Boland's opponent doesn't speak so kindly about Boland bringing home these grants to the 71st District, but to me the criticisms ring hollow. I am actually reminded of an old Aesop's fable. I'm sure most every reader will know the one I'm talking about, it's the one that ends with the Fox walking away with his nose in the air, saying: "I am sure those grapes are sour."
This is the list of '06 Individual Legislative Initiative grants Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, will distribute.
-- $25,000, city of Savanna, new boat ramp
-- $50,000, city of Savanna, sidewalk renovation, repair and replacement
-- $25,000, Savanna Fire District, new fire truck
-- $50,000, city of Morrison, development of new sports recreation complex
-- $25,000, Geneseo Public Library District, building new district library
--$100,000, Village of Albany, purchase and development of bike path
--$100,000, Village of Port Byron, development and drilling of new well
-- $50,000, Village of Orion, replacement of groundwater storage tank
-- $50,000, Village of Orion, street repair, replacement and renovation
-- $50,000, Barstow Fire Protection District, purchase of new pumper truck
-- $25,000, Lynn Township, help pay off township building
--$100,000, city of East Moline, water and sewer renovation
-- $25,000, city of Mount Carroll, water infrastructure renovation
-- $25,000, city of Mount Carroll, brick street redevelopment
-- $50,000, Erie Police Department, new police station
--$100,000, Moline Public Library, new library
--$100,000, Fulton Fire Protection District, building expansion and renovation
-- $50,000, Village of Carbon Cliff, new fire/pumper truck
Boland Announces $7.75 Million for 4-Lane Highway 30
Boland to Announce $7.75 Million in State Funds Earmarked for 4-Lane Highway 30
Fulton- At a news conference and banquet, State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) announced today that he has obtained a commitment from the Illinois Department of Transportation (I.D.O.T.) for a total of $7.75 million in state funding to go towards converting Highway 30 to a 4-lane Highway. This major transportation improvement for Western Illinois will be a major step along the way to completion of a 4-lane Highway 30 from the Sterling / Rock Falls area to the Iowa Border.
"It has been quite a struggle to get to where we are today, so it’s incredibly gratifying to be able to announce that we’ve got a significant financial commitment from I.D.O.T. to move forward with the four-lane Highway 30 project," Boland stated. "It’s really been a team effort, the hard work of the Highway 30 Partnership and a number of dedicated individuals like Barb Suehl have been essential in bringing us to this point," he added. "So it’s quite wonderful to be able to do my part as State Representative, and to be able to announce that we are bringing this project another step forward and nearer to completion," Boland said.
"The entire Western Illinois region wins with this project," Boland commented. "It’s important to note that this project has the potential to stimulate our region’s economic vitality in a number of ways," he added. "Not only will a four-lane Highway 30 help to promote economic development by providing a transportation corridor which is inviting to business, it also can help us to bring more recreational and tourist visitors to destinations like Fulton’s Dutch Windmill," Boland said.
The $7.75 million commitment Boland has obtained, will serve as the local matching dollars to leverage an even larger sum from the Federal Government for this project. Boland’s efforts have resulted in a commitment for $1.5 million in funding being earmarked for Fiscal Year 2007 by I. D.O.T., and a total of $6.25 million in Fiscal Years 2008 thru 2012.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Boland Presents $50,000 each to Carbon Cliff and Barstow Fire Districts
The event will be hosted by Fire Chief John Swan at the Colona Fire Station. John Swan's a great guy, and I am proud to know him. In addition to his duties in Colona, Fire Chief Swan is also the President of the Volunteer Firefighter's Association. John's a real inspiration, he has been tireless in the work he does to help firefighters across all of Illinois. Illinois is a little better place due to the work of John Swan, and I am honored to consider him a friend.
Here's a copy of the news release for the event.
Boland Awards $100,000 To Local Fire Departments
State Representative Helps to Fund Fire Trucks For Barstow and Carbon Cliff
COLONA, IL — At a news conference and check presentation ceremony, State Representative Mike Boland presented two giant oversized checks, for $50,000 each, to Barstow Fire Protection District and Carbon Cliff Fire Department. Boland’s grants will help fund new fire trucks for each of these two departments. Colona Fire Chief John Swan, who also heads the Illinois Volunteer Firefighters Association, hosted the check presentation ceremony which was attended by firefighters and fire board members from both Barstow and Carbon Cliff.
"I have great admiration and respect for the proud men and women who provide fire protection to our communities," Boland began. "As a State Legislator, I consider it a real privilege to be able to play a role, not only in passing legislation for both professional and volunteer firefighters, but also in providing much needed funding to help local fire districts," he added. "So, I am very proud to be here today presenting checks for $50,000 each to fire protection districts from Barstow and Carbon Cliff," Boland said.
"Volunteer firefighters from our more rural areas were once overlooked by legislators from urban areas with paid full time fire service," Boland added. "It’s taken some time to educate legislators from the more densely populated cities in Illinois, of the valuable and essential role our volunteer firefighters play," he continued. "To make it personal for some of my colleagues, I’ve had to point out that in the event of a car accident or similar emergency on their drive to Springfield, about 90% of their trip would be covered by volunteer firefighters," Boland commented.
In 1998, Boland was recognized with the Legislator of the Year Award by the Firefighter’s Association. In 2004 Boland was the recipient of the highest honor Firefighters award to civilians, the prestigious "Golden Helmet Award." Volunteer firefighters have also recognized Boland with their highest honor, the "White Helmet Award."
Boland is providing this grant from what is commonly called Individual Legislative Initiative funding, grant money legislators receive to help local government within their legislative districts. Boland is distributing a total of $1 million in grants for the 71st district in 2006.
Boland Presents $100,000 Grant to Moline Public Library
Here's the news release that goes along with the event.
Boland Awards $100,000 To Moline Public Library
State Representative Helps to Funds New Library Construction
MOLINE, IL — At a news conference and check presentation ceremony, State Representative Mike Boland presented a giant oversized check for $100,000 to Karl Huntoon, President of the Moline Library Board, and Leslie Kee, Moline Library Director. Boland’s gift to the library will help fund construction costs for the newly built south east branch library in Moline. Also joining Representative Boland for the ceremony, were representatives from the Moline Library Board of Directors, as well as library staff, and library patrons.
"Without a doubt, delivering grants for projects like this new library construction is the favorite part of my job," Boland stated. "I am extremely proud to be here today, contributing funding for this beautiful new facility ," he said. "More than ever, in today’s information age, libraries remain an essential educational and recreational resource for our communities," Boland continued.
Boland added that he had a special place in his heart for libraries, "My career in politics actually began when I was elected to serve on a library board," said the sixth term representative who was also formerly a schoolteacher. "Until her recent retirement, my wife Mary was a school librarian for the Geneseo school district, and my daughter Susan carries on the tradition teaching law library to prospective law students at N.I.U. in DeKalb" he said.
Boland is awarding this grant from what is commonly called Individual Legislative Initiative funding, grant money legislators receive to help local government within their legislative districts. This is the second $100,000 grant Boland secured for the Moline Public Library. Boland has also helped fund construction or renovation for several libraries in the 71st district, including Geneseo Public Library, Moline Public Library, Silvis Public Library, and York Township Public Library in Thomson .
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tom Stocking - Fighting for People
Here's a picture of myself, your humble narrator, with Tom Stocking. Tom's the guy wearing the sharp looking Packer's jacket.
Tom is an individual with disabilities, but he doesn't let that keep him from fighting for what he believes is right.
Tom Stocking lives in Port Byron, but bus service only goes to Hampton, and that can be a great hardship for lower income individuals living in more rural areas of Rock Island County. With some help from places like ProjectNOW, Tom could probably access transportation that's dedicated to individuals with disabilities, but Tom's not in this just for himself.
Because of efforts of individuals like Tom Stocking, there is now a board that meets on a regular basis, with the goal of expanding bus service to more rural areas of Rock Island County. I've had the privilege to be a part of a couple of those meetings, and I believe that there's great hope down the road that a number of different transportation funding streams can be brought together to expand bus service in Rock Island County. METROLink, as well as Project NOW, The Iowa-Illinois Center for Independent Living, Bi-State Regional Planning Agency, and a number of other individuals and organizations are now involved, so it's a genuine community effort.
Tom stopped into Mike Boland's office earlier this week to give me an update about the committee, and Bobbi-Sue took that opportunity to shoot a photo of Tom while he spoke with me.
Delivering $100,000 for a New Well
On Monday, we delivered a $100,000 dollar grant to the Village of Port Byron to help alleviate their chronic water shortage. I already posted the news release for the event, but I didn't have time to put up any pictures or tell any of the story in my own words, so here's the rest of the story.
I've actually worked with more than one group of elected officials from Port Byron on this project, the well problem has been an ongoing issue for years. As Federal EPA drinking water standards become more stringent over time, villages and smaller municipal units often struggle to provide water that meets the increasingly strong regulations. The bottom line for Port Byron, was they needed another new source of water, because one of their existing wells produced water that no longer met EPA requirements.
Representative Boland was actually advised to break his grants into smaller amounts, and to also use them all for projects that would be more likely to generate a plaque or similar lasting recognition. New wells, or water tanks, or streets aren't likely to get a politician's name engraved anywhere. Investing in infrastructure like wells, water lines, sewers, or streets isn't necessarily the flashiest use of the grants we are able to access to help local governments. But, I am personally of the mind that infrastructure investments like these are often overlooked and ignored because they aren't as "sexy" as new buildings or parks.
Just another example of Mike Boland getting the job done right for the people.