Transparency in state government, mental health issues, and clean energy were topics State Rep. Steve Andersson addressed during the most recent session of the Illinois General Assembly. We talk to him about those issues and his involvement with the people of his 65th district.

On a personal level we’ll hear about his love of Shakespeare, Star Trek, and a visit to Space Camp.

U.S. Army veteran and current State Rep. Dan Swanson
State Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) visited the Quincy Veterans Home on Tuesday, December 18 following reports of another case of Legionnaires Disease at the Western Illinois facility in late November.

Three recent cases were reported at the facility this fall several years after extensive renovations to water treatment facilities and response protocols in the wake of an outbreak of the disease at the facility nearly two years ago that killed 12 and sickened more than 50. Since that time, extensive renovations and response protocols have been developed and followed under the careful monitoring of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and mitigation company Phigenics.

“Visiting the Veterans Home today gave me a deeper understanding of the proactive steps being taken by facility staff under the careful advice and supervision of the CDC and other health professionals at the top of their fields,” said Rep. Swanson on Tuesday following his visit. Read more.
A twelve winged glider of Chanute’s design, prepared for launch
Illinois is home to one of the busiest airports in the world. From Chicago O’Hare, an Illinoisan can reach just about any city on Earth within 24 hours, many of them directly. O’Hare has earned this distinction in part because it is so centrally located for air travel anywhere in North America, but also because of the deep roots which the early development of the aviation industry have in Illinois. They reach all the way back to the most famed aviator of the early 20th century and the engineer who helped the Wright Brothers achieve their great breakthrough.
CTA fare hike, previously signed off on by Mayor Emanuel, approved by CTA board. The proposed fare hike will increase the standard price of a ride on a CTA bus or train by 25 cents. Many CTA rides are paid for by passes, and pass prices will be increased in rough proportion to the cash fare hike. The fare hike was approved as part of the CTA’s $1.5 billion budget for calendar year 2018.
When the subjects of jobs, unemployment, and small businesses come up on the House floor in Springfield, you can guarantee that State Representative Keith Wheeler will rise to be part of the conversation.

We talk with him about those issues and what needs to be done to help Illinois grow jobs.  In getting to know more about the representative, we hear about his passion for Chicago Bears football, Walter Payton, U-2, and an educator who influenced him not only in school but who has been a source of motivation ever since.

Governor Frank Lowden. Photo from the Illinois Blue Books Collection, 
Illinois Digital Archives –  A service of the Illinois State Library and
Illinois Secretary of State.
In state government in Illinois there are about two dozen agencies referred to as “Code Departments.” These include major agencies like the Department on Aging and the Department of Central Management Services. The term “code department” refers to departments of state government authorized by the Civil Administrative Code. The Civil Administrative Code was legislation enacted in Illinois 100 years ago which not only revolutionized the way state government conducted its affairs, but also launched its major proponent on a road toward the White House.
With the year long Bicentennial celebration in full swing, we thought we'd find out just how much you know about Illinois history. Take our quiz and learn just how much you know about Illinois' past.
Illinois will be celebrating its 200th birthday in 2018 and has hundreds of historic landmarks that tell the story of this great state.

Be part of history and the Illinois Bicentennial.

Plan your trip in amazing Illinois.

Learn more travel and Illinois history.

Here are 12 Illinois historic landmarks you should visit in 2018:
  1. Nobel-Seymour Crippen House 
  2. Ulysses S. Grant House
  3. Graham Building
  4. B. Harley Bradley House
  5. Steeple Building
  6. Woodstock Opera House 
  7. David Davis Mansion 
  8. Broadwell Inn & Tavern of Clayville
  9. Beecher Hall and Illinois College
  10. Fort de Chartres 
  11. Joseph Smith House 
  12. New Philadelphia 
Archeological excavations at Fort Massac State Park. Photo from the Illinois Blue Book Collection,
Illinois Digital Archives -  A Service of the State Library and Office of Secretary of State dd caption
On Sunday, Illinois marked our state’s 199th birthday. It was also the kickoff of the year-long celebration leading up to our bicentennial in 2018. Last week, we brought you the first of two parts of our collection of odds and ends from (nearly) 200 years of Illinois history. Here are a few more:
Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced the launch of a statewide helpline to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances.

The helpline will provide a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Helpline specialists are trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services. To reach the helpline, individuals can call 1-833-2FINDHELP.
As a member of the Illinois General Assembly, State Representative Chad Hays earlier this year lead a bipartisan vote on a bill to fund 911 emergency services, encouraging his colleagues to support the measure so vital services were not disrupted in any part of the state. 

As Chad Hays, member of a bipartisan musical group comprised of Illinois lawmakers who cover Jimmy Buffett, Marshall Tucker, and the early Rolling Stones, he thinks he’s found something to do long after his days in the General Assembly are over. 

We talk with Representative Hays about both issues.

Get ready to break out some birthday candles — make that lots of birthday candles. Might want to grab a fire extinguisher too: Illinois turns 200 on Dec. 3, 2018.

The yearlong bicentennial celebration honoring two centuries of statehood has begun.

Like any milestone birthday or anniversary, bicentennials are a good excuse to look back, look forward and, most of all, have some fun.

In Travel, we're marking the occasion with a 200 To-Do List: two hundred things every Illinoisan should do — or see, eat and drink — at least once in a lifetime. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

Click here for the first 20 entries in the History category.
Unemployment rate drops in every Illinois metropolitan area. Statistics published by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) showed a year-over-year unemployment rate cut in each of Illinois’ 102 counties. The state gained 18,200 new nonfarm payroll jobs between October 2016 and October 2017, strengthening Illinois prosperity and consumer behavior. The new numbers are based upon data compiled by state employers and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives -  A Service of the
Illinois State Library and Office of Secretary of State 
Sunday December 3 will mark the State of Illinois’ 199th birthday and the kickoff of the year-long celebration leading up to our bicentennial in 2018. In honor of this momentous occasion, here are a few odds and ends from (nearly) 200 years of Illinois history.
  • Illinois’ original northern border was a line drawn from the southern tip of Lake Michigan west to the Mississippi River. Just before statehood Illinois’ territorial delegate to Washington, Nathaniel Pope, convinced Congress to move the line 40 miles north into what would have become southern Wisconsin. This move gave Illinois a port on the Great Lakes. Two hundred years later, this area of the state includes 14 counties and around 60% of Illinois’ population. 
Spawned by the demands of a rapidly changing America, historic Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation’s history. State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) is proud of the fact that he is the only member of the Illinois General Assembly who actually lives on the historic highway. In our interview he talks about the highway that connected Chicago to St. Louis and what it means to the state of Illinois. In addition, he discusses the upcoming state bicentennial celebration and his ancestor who was a member of the very first Illinois General Assembly.

Have All Voted Who Wish are the stories about the real people who represent us in Springfield. Illinois lawmakers tell us about their passions and how it shapes their policy initiatives.
As one of the youngest members of the Illinois General Assembly, State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has brought a fresh perspective to the Illinois House of Representatives and this year she has been one of the key legislators in the overhaul of the state’s school aid formula, an effort that was years in the making.

We talk with her about education in the state of Illinois, along with her legislation dealing with synthetic drugs and her fight for Illinois coal. We also touch on some of her passions when she has some time away from the capitol which includes family traditions that are all a part of her growing up in rural Illinois.

Illinois Jobs Up in October - Unemployment Rate Declines. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced this week that the unemployment rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points to 4.9 percent in October and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. September job growth was revised up to show a smaller decline (-7,900 jobs) than initially reported (-10,800 jobs).
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law today a tax credit worth up to $750 for property owners in 18 Illinois counties where flood damages were sustained in July.

The bill, signed at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago this morning, creates a natural disaster credit that eligible, affected property owners may apply to their 2017 Illinois income taxes.

Included counties are Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Alexander, Clinton, Jackson, Marshall, Union, Woodford, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside — all of which were declared state disaster areas by the governor last summer.
Arial view of the Capitol complex in 1966. Photo from the
Mercury Studio Collection, Illinois Digital Archives – A
service of IL State Library & Office of the Secretary of State
When ground was broken on the sixth Illinois state capitol building in 1868, it was atop a small hill on the edge of downtown Springfield. The building was designed to be the hub of state government, and to house virtually all of its offices. But as the state grew and expanded, space became tight, and it wasn’t long before work began on new buildings adjacent to the capitol. This was the beginning of what we now know as the State Capitol Complex.

The state capitol building was designed right after the Civil War. Illinois’ population according to the 1860 census was 1,711,951. By the turn of the 20th century, the population had nearly tripled to 4,821,550. It had taken 20 years to build the new capitol building, but

"I was proud to lead this coordinated, multifaceted effort between Nucor, Gov. Rauner, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to garner support for and ultimately the selection of Bourbonnais Nucor for this expansion." ~ Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst

Nucor Steel's Bourbonnais site has been selected as the location for a $180 million expansion.

In a release sent out by the Charlotte, N.C.-based company today, the expansion will take approximately two years to complete.

The expansion will require an additional 75 workers once complete. Currently, the company employs 475.

The expansion is for increased production of its Merchant Bar Quality production. The new mill will have the capacity to produce a half-million tons of steel annually.

The Bourbonnais site was in competition with a company site in Marion, Ohio. Read more.
State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, has introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would restrict the use of eminent domain.

Eminent domain is the legal name for the process that occurs when the government seizes your land. In turn, you get paid "just compensation." But when it comes to something you own, there are two ways of valuing it.

The first is an objective valuation based upon the legal assessment of your property.

There also is an emotional attachment to what you own. Maybe it was a home you built on your own. Maybe it was the home where you were born. Maybe an older or ill person lives there, and it would not be easy for them to move. Maybe you don't want to sell at any price. Read more.

In the summer of 2016, drug overdose deaths in Baltimore were exploding and health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen told federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials the city needed real-time data to better manage its public health response.

Four months later, the DEA’s Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) team had developed a smart phone application that could be used by first responders to record the time and location of overdoses and transmit the information to a regional mapping database.

Today, that tool, known as ODMAP, is used by more than 250 law enforcement, first responder and public health agencies in 27 states. Read more.
Illinois State Rep. Tony McCombie is hoping to deter harm towards DCFS workers in her state.

“They're out there trying to keep families and children safe, so I feel it's our responsibility to protect them at the same time,” McCombie said.

She’s co-sponsoring a bill that would increase the penalties for someone who assaults a DCFS worker.

“It will increase their sentence from a Class 3 (felony) to a Class 1 (felony),” McCombie said.

The bill is a response to an incident that happened in October. During a welfare check in Carroll County, a DCFS worker was left in critical condition. Read more.

The cold November rain had stopped and a chilled breeze fluttered the flags in front of the Knox County Courthouse Sunday afternoon. Only a little while earlier, generations of armed forces veterans marched down Main Street, in front of buildings that have stood for decades. Buildings with names like Bondi and Hill. Buildings that have had the feet of veterans of the Civil War and the Great War, all now gone, walk in front of them; that have seen years of World War II and Korean War veterans pass by. Sunday, the feet of those who served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan marched past. The marching ended at the Courthouse, where memorials to the generations of veterans stand.

It was there that state Rep. Daniel M. Swanson, R-Alpha, himself a man who served 27 years in the military, including a tour of duty in Iraq, paid tribute to the men and women of these generations. After serving as grand marshal of the parade, Swanson spoke of how those listening could honor America’s veterans.

“When you see a veteran, don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Swanson told the crowd. “To learn a veteran’s story. If you see a veteran with a hat, distinguishing their military service ... don’t be afraid to talk to them. First, simply say thank you.” Read the entire story.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin authors key hotline section of sexual harassment bill sent to Governor. The Durkin proposal would create a telephone hotline for persons seeking relief in cases of sexual harassment. Examples of help that the hotline could provide could include assistance in filing a sexual harassment complaint, referral of a victim to counseling, or referral of a victim to protective services.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Documents Collection, Illinois Digital Archives –
A service of the Illinois State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
A shocked nation received the news on April 15, 1865, that President Abraham Lincoln had died that morning after having been shot the night before at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC. Jubilant only days earlier at the news of Appomattox, the United States was plunged into a terrible state of mourning.

Around the north, plans began to be made for memorial ceremonies for Lincoln, whose funeral train would stop in several major cities as it re-traced his 1861 route between Springfield, Illinois, and the nation’s capital. In Springfield, plans would have to be made not only for a funeral but for Lincoln’s final resting place. In all, those plans would be made and remade for nearly seven decades.
State Representative Brian Stewart filed House Bill 4147 to make attacking a DCFS workers in performance of their duties an aggravated battery and a Class 1 felony.

House Bill 4147, filed this week, would make battering a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in the performance of his/her official duties or in response to their official duties an aggravated battery and a Class 1 felony. Aggravated battery subject perpetrators to more severe penalties when facing prosecution and sentencing.

“My deepest sympathies and get well-wishes go out to the victim of this horrible attack, her family and everyone in her DCFS family.  Everyday DCFS workers put themselves at risk to protect the most vulnerable children in our communities,” said Rep. Stewart. “This legislation will give DCFS workers the same protections as policemen, firemen, and peace officers who also put themselves in harm’s way.”  Read more.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin plans to introduce legislation to create a hotline where callers can report sexual harassment.

The toll-free number would be run by the Illinois Department of Human Rights and would help connect people to counseling services and advice on filing complaints with the proper authorities. It will be open to state employees, as well as residents who work in the private sector. Read more.
COGFA releases revenue report for October 2017. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) has released its monthly revenue report and economic briefing for October 2017. COGFA continues to report that Illinois’ stagnant job picture is having a negative impact on income and sales tax growth. One major source of potential tax revenue growth is increased supplies of money forwarded from employers to Springfield of income taxes withheld from paychecks, and the absence of net new employment growth is limiting revenue increases from this source.
Human trafficking is one of the most under reported crimes, but according to UNICEF U.S.A., it is also the second largest crime industry in the world.

Among the human trafficking cases, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline, the vast majority of those cases are sex trafficking. The hotline also reports there have been 4,460 cases reported in the states for the first half of 2017. Among those cases, 3,698 of those affected were female, 607 were male and 53 were identified as gender minorities.

According to the hotline, Illinois ranks 10th for the number of reported cases in the states for the first half of 2017 with 100 cases, following Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Of the 100 cases, 83 of those affected were female. Read more.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Documents Collection, Illinois Digital Archives.
A service of the Illinois State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
Illinois is not alone in having moved its state capital from one city to another. Exeter, New Hampshire; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Iowa City, Iowa; Benicia, California, and a handful of others have all been (for however brief a time) the capital city of their states. But after state government left their towns, those cities at least got to remain part of the state for which they had once been the seat of government. In Illinois, that was almost not the case for our first capital city of Kaskaskia.

The town of Kaskaskia was founded at the beginning of the 1700s. It was the site which French explorers chose to build the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The town’s strategic location near the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers made it a valuable piece of real estate for French and then British colonial authorities who used Kaskaskia as an administrative post for the area over the next century.

The state of Illinois has added more information to its state health insurance marketplace website ahead of the start of open enrollment on Wednesday.

The new information allows consumers to compare health insurance plans for sale both on and off the public Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) exchange. The website, available at, previously hasn't included information about all plans or the ability to enroll in them and talk to licensed brokers.

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Jennifer Hammer said the agency used part of a $1 million state appropriation to overhaul the website and its services.

She added the agency is "going to utilize all the tools available" to help consumers choose the best plans and products. Read the story here.

Cook County, Illinois’ soda tax went “pop” after the county’s Board of Commissioners voted to repeal the county’s penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, but a bill under consideration by the state House of Representatives preventing future soda taxes from being enacted by local governments is picking up steam.

In July, the county government began collecting an additional tax on all sweetened drinks sold to consumers in Cook County—including soda, iced tea, lemonade, and sports drinks—purchased in bottles or cans or from dispensers.

On October 11, the Cook County Board of Commissioners repealed the tax, rolling back their February decision to create the new tax.

Despite the tax’s defeat, a bill prohibiting county governments from enacting new taxes on soda and other sweetened beverages is gaining popularity in the Illinois House of Representatives. Read more.
First week of veto session. The Illinois House met on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. On the agenda were vetoes issued by the Governor to the General Assembly earlier this year. Chief sponsors of the vetoed bills could ask their colleagues to consider voting to override the veto messages. Overriding a governor’s veto requires a three-fifth majority in both houses of the General Assembly. 
State Representative Barbara Wheeler is working in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association on legislation to curtail the presence of so-called “bump-fire stocks” in Illinois. House Bill 4120 prevents the future sale and possession of the device used during the deadly Las Vegas shooting which left 59 people dead.

“I’m the first person to stand-up for our essential right as Americans to keep and bear arms, whether for personal protection, hunting or another sporting purpose,” said Wheeler. “However, the horrific events in Las Vegas showed quite clearly the devastation that can be caused by a rifle attachment like a bump-fire stock in the hands of an ill person. After speaking with firearm experts and the Illinois State Rifle Association, we all agreed that bump-fire stocks have no practical protection or sporting use and should be taken off the market.” Read more.
Plans unveiled for Illinois Innovation Network. Governor Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois System unveiled plans Thursday for an Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to help ignite the state’s economy through a $1.2 billion network of research universities, businesses, and public sector partners focused on the development of solutions in computing and big data, advanced materials, food and agriculture, and biosciences and health.
Abraham Lincoln’s work as a prairie lawyer, state legislator and President of the United States is well known. What is not as well-known is another important contribution which Lincoln made to Illinois just a few years before he was elected President. In 1857, Abraham Lincoln helped create Illinois’ system of public, higher education.

Of course, Lincoln didn’t do it alone. Nor did it happen all at once. In fact what Lincoln did was far from dramatic: as the attorney for the Illinois Board of Education he prepared the paperwork for the bond that would pay for the establishment of a teachers college (or a “normal school” as it was known at the time) in McLean County. It was the beginning of Illinois State University.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license. Read more:

The state representative who requested a review of property assessments in every Illinois county said Tuesday she expects a written response this week.

In August, Rep. Jeanne Ives, sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Revenue asking for the review. The request came after Coles County began reassessing commercial property for the first time in 16 years and after a school superintendent from Perry County told lawmakers his county had not reassessed property since the early 1980s, even though state law requires those reassessments every four years. Read the story here.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey call 402-399-1405.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, State Representative Patti Bellock introduced and passed legislation this year, HR 254, to support and commend the efforts of those people and organizations who work tirelessly to help victims break free of the devastating effects of domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October of 1981, and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Since 1989, October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Month. Read more.

To learn more, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence online at

State report: Budget out of balance by $1.7 billion. The state’s fiscal year 2018 budget is out of balance by $1.7 billion, according to a fiscal policy report released Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The imbalance might have been avoided if the General Assembly had enacted $2 billion in reforms proposed by the Rauner Administration and Republican leaders earlier this year.

The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Policy Report provides a five-year economic outlook based on the budget along with state and national growth forecasts. The GOMB compiles the report, which is available for public view at
House Leader Jim Durkin announced that he is appointing Representative Avery Bourne  and Representative Dave Severin to fill seats in a recently established task force that seeks to increase the use of Illinois coal. A new law, sponsored by Bourne, created the task force to study the costs and benefits of using the latest scrubber technology to allow Illinois coal mined in our home state to be burned here as well.

“Coal is one of Illinois’ most abundant resources. We should be able to utilize that resource here,” said Representative Bourne. “Through this taskforce we are working to take a different approach that promotes clean coal and good-paying jobs.” Read more.

In case you missed it:
New Task Force Studying Ways To Keep Illinois Coal In Illinois
Bourne’s Bill to Promote Illinois Coal Passes House, Awaits Senate Action
Area Lawmaker proposes legislation that would allow for use of Illinois Coal in state
On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized two armed vessels which would put to sea with a crew of 80 men for a period of three months. Their mission would be to interdict Royal Navy ships bringing supplies to the British Army forces then fighting George Washington’s colonial army. This legislation created the United States Navy.

Since that day, American sailors have defended freedom around the world; on, above and beneath the surface of the sea. Today, for only the second time in history, some of those sailors protect our country aboard a ship which carries the name USS Illinois.
The City of Canton is pleased to report the recent receipt of over $500,000.00 in late payments from the State of Illinois, issued for water and sewer service to the Illinois River Correctional Center.

State Representative Mike Unes notified the City of the release of funds Friday, which came as a result of his work with the Comptroller’s office on Canton’s behalf. This is one of the largest and most recent of such payments that Representative Unes has secured to help repay what is owed to the citizens of Canton.

Mayor Kent McDowell expressed his gratitude for Rep Unes’ efforts, in saying: “Receiving this money is just extremely important to our budget and finances, and I am beyond thankful for Rep Unes’ hard work and dedication towards making sure that we finally receive what is owed to us. I have no doubt that he will continue to go above and beyond for our city, and am confident that no other representative in the State of Illinois works harder for local families.” Read the rest of the story.
*Generals Grant and McClernand (center of group) in front
of the Cairo post office early in the war.
On the day after the Stars and Stripes were hauled down from Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln confronted a serious problem. The country was now at war with itself, and the small and widely-scattered regular United States Army lacked the forces necessary to fight even the three-month war which practically everyone expected. Looking for help, Lincoln turned to the governors of the northern states for troops. His home state of Illinois would be among the most enthusiastic in answering his call.

In 1861, the regular Army numbered about 16,000 soldiers. State militias, which had been the backbone of the American military since the Revolution, would be called into action again. Lincoln issued a call to the governors for 75,000 volunteers. In that first year of the Civil War, Illinois would meet and then exceed its quota, and some Illinois soldiers would get their first taste of battle.
Gov. William Stratton meets with actor Howard Keel in 1957.  Photo from
 Illinois State Fair Museum Collection, Illinois Digital Archives – A service 
of the Illinois State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State
When Governor Joel Matteson moved his belongings into the brand new Executive Mansion on Jackson Street in Springfield in 1855, he was a member of a very exclusive club. In the first two hundred years of Illinois history, that club would grow to only 42 members. That membership would include Civil War Generals, members of Congress, state legislators (and not just from Illinois), farmers, lawyers, a prosecutor of Al Capone, and a personal secretary to the President of the United States.

Eleven years after Matteson left office, Illinois broke ground on a new state capitol building just a couple of blocks west of the Executive Mansion. Today, the second floor of the capitol building is decorated with portraits of the former Illinois governors. Here is a brief history that only scratches the surface of the stories surrounding this very interesting group of leaders.
EDGE tax credit overhaul gets Gov. Rauner’s signature. Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation (HB 162) that overhauls the EDGE Tax Credit Program and provides much-needed transparency and taxpayer protections.

“The EDGE Tax Credit Program overhaul is a bipartisan job creation program that is innovative and competitive for businesses,” Gov. Rauner said. “This legislation is another tool to use in our quest to bring high-quality and good-paying jobs to Illinois. It is crucial for the future success of our state that we make Illinois a more business friendly environment through pro-growth measures.”
Photo from Galena Area Historic Photos Collection, Illinois Digital Archives –
A service of the Illinois State Library & the Office of the Secretary of State
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, some parts of Illinois received a very light rain, less than a quarter of an inch in most places. These were last remnants of the once-powerful Hurricane Irma which had caused so much destruction across the Caribbean and in Florida just a few days before. The storm came inland, losing strength as it moved over land, drifted northwest across Georgia and Alabama, and then into the Ohio Valley where it finally dissipated mid-week.

As surprising as it might sound, Illinois frequently finds itself in the path of tropical weather patterns. Of course, in the middle of the continent, Illinois never gets hit as hard as coastal states do, but storm damage from the remnants of these tropical systems is not unheard of in Illinois. One storm a few years ago was even strong enough to damage a monument in Randolph County dedicated to our first governor. 
Residents and Businesses in Stephenson and Contiguous Counties Can Apply for Low-Interest, Long-Term Loans to Boost Recovery

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the state’s request for assistance to help people and businesses in northwestern Illinois recover from severe storms and floods that occurred in July.