Our Communities Need Action

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Forefront's Response to the Governor’s State of the State Address

Like you, we appreciate the governor's optimistic tone in his State of the State address earlier today. It is important to remember that seemingly small legislative wins can change the course of a person's life, the health of a family, or the growth of a community, and those impacts should be celebrated.

But make no mistake. The state of our state is nothing short of dire.

These legislative wins pale in comparison to the destruction we have seen in the past two years. Our inability to provide even the most basic level of care for Illinoisans has fiscal, moral, and morale implications that will take our community of nonprofits and grantmakers years to remedy. Focusing on any issue aside from the budget, like term limits and redistricting, and glossing over a two-year budget impasse only postpones solutions, deepens our fiscal problems, and lengthens the time it will take to get Illinois back on track. The governor called on us all to respect each other's views. We can respect each other's views without bringing the state to a grinding halt.

At a time when all we hear is that the work of government is futile, our communities need more than verbal assurance that our elected officials are committed to thriving communities and will do their jobs, rather than choose to grandstand and criticize one another to the public. Sadly, our distrust of elected officials across all levels of government has only grown over the past decade. The only way our governor and general assembly can repair that distrust is by fixing the problems they have created with their refusal to partner and compromise with one another.  

Only action (through cooperation and compromise), not a speech, will give Illinoisans the reassurance we all need.

Eric Weinheimer, President + CEO, Forefront