SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, has announced plans to seek reelection to the 96th House District.

The five-term incumbent, who currently represents portions of Macon, Sangamon and Christian counties, said there’s more work to be done in Springfield.

“We need effective representation at the Capitol from leaders that know how to effect change and have the determination and courage to speak up and work hard to make change happen,” Scherer, 65, said in a statement.

Scherer said she’s focusing on a variety of issues, ranging from electric vehicles and public safety to schools and balancing the state’s budget.

The new 96th District, redrawn during last year’s redistricting process, is still anchored by the urban cores of Springfield and Decatur, but includes less rural areas between the two cities. It also picks up some Democratic-trending precincts on Springfield’s west side.

No other candidates have announced campaigns for the House seat.

In the neighboring 108th House District, former state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, announced his bid to return to the legislature.

Rosenthal, 71, represented the 95th House District from 2011 to 2015 before being tapped by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner to serve as director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He served in that role until 2019.

The new 108th District, considered a safe Republican seat, covers all of Menard County and portions of Sangamon, Christian, Macoupin and Montgomery counties.

The district contains the home of state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, who was appointed to fill Rosenthal’s seat in 2015. Bourne, 29, announced Monday that she is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.

“This will be the year the people of Illinois take back our state from out-of-touch Democrats like J.B. Pritzker and his allies in Springfield, and I look forward to being a part of that movement,” Rosenthal said in a statement.

Multiple Republicans have endorsed Rosenthal’s campaign, including U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap. He also has the support of Bourne and former state Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield, who also lives in the district but resigned last month to who resigned to become the president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and avoid a primary challenge against Bourne.

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Rollout of COVID-19 vaccine

There was perhaps no more consequential task this year than ensuring the successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which could allow a relative “return to normalcy” should enough residents take their shots. After an initial phased rollout, vaccines became available to all Illinoisans in mid-April. The state peaked at 167,422 shots in arms on April 9. As of Dec. 23, more than 60% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, including nearly 68% of Illinoisans five or older. But hesitancy remains high in conservative portions of the state, where rates significantly lag the state as a whole. This and the emergence of new variants have kept the state from turning the page. Just this week, a single-day record for new cases was reached, which has cities like Chicago considering the implementation of proof of vaccination for entry into certain public places like bars or restaurants.


State receives first credit upgrades since 1990s

Illinois, long the poster child for fiscal irresponsibility, received its first credit rating upgrades in more than 20 years in 2021. It represents a remarkable reversal from 2017, when years of unbalanced budgets, pension holidays and — ultimately — going more than two years without a spending plan, placed the state just one notch above “junk” status. But, with a few years of relative budget stability, enhanced tax revenue and federal COVID-19 relief funds, the state’s fiscal picture is better than it has been in a long time. Illinois still has the lowest bond rating of any state in the country and fiscal challenges remain on the horizon, but it is worth noting some good news, for a change.


Sports betting legislation adjusted

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that amends the state’s sports betting law that will finally allow bets to be made on in-state college sports teams while lifting the ban on online registration starting in March 2022. The former was an annoyance, especially as the Illinois and Loyola men’s basketball teams faced off in March Madness. The latter was an impediment to the continued growth of Illinois’ industry since the vast majority of bets are placed online. The state has a top five sports betting handle in the country, which is now expected to grow with the changes enacted.


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January 18, 2022 at 03:33PM