Rose and local officials address state’s COVID-19 response

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) has been meeting with local leaders from across the 10 counties that make up the 51st Senate District and collecting their feedback on the state’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Rose did not hold back when he sent a letter to the office of Governor JB Pritzker, along with 59 pages of statements and letters from business and municipal leaders, calling on him to adapt his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to downstate needs.

Many area leaders including Bement Village President Pat Tieman, Arthur Village President Rod Randall, Arcola Mayor Larry Ferguson, Tuscola Mayor Dan Kleiss, Villa Grove Mayor Cassandra Eversole, along with state’s attorneys, sheriff’s, and county boards from Douglas, Moultrie and Piatt counties addressed their own statement to the governor directly advocating for small businesses and other organizations in each of their communities to “make their own decisions” regarding when and how best to reopen their doors.

“I am asking that you stop threatening us, realize that we are all in this together, that people desperately want to find creative ways to move forward together safely and that you should begin working with us to do just that,” Rose said in the three-page document.

Rose invited them all to send him a letter that he would in turn take to the governor about their views, not his views but their views. Over a three week period it ended up taking on a life of its own with the end result receiving fifty-nine pages of letters and comments from state’s attorneys to county boards to mayors and close to ninety-five percent of them asking, ‘Look, Governor, work with us.’”

Not understanding why the governor will not simply reach and work with people to come up with a mutually agreed solution Rose told the governor, “I’ve seen you threaten the citizens of Illinois with criminal incarceration. Even yesterday (Thursday), after losing in JCAR on your ill-advised proposition to jail people for trying to put food on their kids’ table, Governor, you pivoted to saying that now it is “ok” for some restaurants to reopen for outdoor seating. This was great, in and of itself. But instead of taking an opportunity to look magnanimous, you then went on to issue new threats against the people of Illinois, namely, to monetarily fine those who disobey and to withhold law enforcement dollars for local communities that don’t tow your line in lockstep.”

“It defies basic logic and human nature to pretend that a single mom or dad, a husband or wife who hasn’t been allowed to put food on the table for their kids for over two months and is locked out of the unemployment system, isnt’ going to take matters into their own hands by working under ground to earn the money they need to feed their family,” he wrote. “…Indeed, failure to account for basic human nature is pushing this situation into an ever more dangerous direction all over downstate Illinois.

“Many sheriffs, state’s attorneys, county and city governments have already said they will not enforce your orders. And, as if that does not worry you enough, these are just the folks who are openly saying it. Thousands more are quietly moving their businesses underground- creating a fertile breeding ground for the transmission of the virus.”

“People are beyond frustrated; I know you are too. Time to work together,” he wrote.

To read the letters Senator Rose submitted to Governor Pirtzker go to www.senchapinrose.com

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