In 1981, President Ronald Reagan said, When we honor our flag we honor what we stand for as a Nation freedom, equality, justice, and hope. In case you were wondering why you saw so many flags this week, June 14th was Flag Day. Honoring our flag dates back to our own Revolutionary War. The first President to proclaim Flag Day on June 14th was Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Congress established National Flag Day on June 14th in 1946. If you pass by a flag, take a moment to remember what it stands for and think about the brave men and women who fought so that flag might still wave. One of the challenges in a legislative district as large as the 89th is its size. The 89th District covers all or part of six counties in Northwestern Illinois. Many folks in the 89th District from East Dubuque and Hanover to Chadwick and Milledgeville dont have the same luxury of dropping in on the district office in Freeport as folks do in bigger cities.
Thats why I continue to hold mobile office hours throughout the 89thDistrict every year. This month I have scheduled the first mobile office hours of 2018 in Galena at the Visitors Center, in East Dubuque in the Public Library on June 21st, in Mount Carroll in the Courthouse Community Room, and in Lanark in the Public Library on June 22nd. Others are in the works and we will issue news releases for each location with specifics to local news outlets and post details on our website and social media pages.
Constituents will have an opportunity to visit with knowledgeable staff and ask questions, and also obtain important information about fraud prevention, health care, end of life care, civil rights, and the legislative process. My staff and I look forward to meeting you and helping in any way we can. Future columns will continue to explore and expound on Illinois recently passed budget. I believe the budget discussion in many ways extends beyond dollars and cents to reflect our principles and priorities. In a commencement address at Hillsdale College in 2016, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when speaking about how his upbringing shaped his principles, said, If there was to be independence, self-sufficiency, or freedom, then we first had to understand, accept, and discharge our responsibilities. The latter were the necessary (but not always sufficient) antecedents or precursors of the former. The only guarantee was that if you did not discharge your responsibilities, there could be no independence, no self-sufficiency, and no freedom. Many of us can relate to Justice Thomas. We share similar upbringings and hold many of the same principles. My own journey included growing up in public housing, and working from an early age. It included a hunger and determination to be sure the promise of America became a reality for me and my family. That hunger drove me every day through my service in the US Army. That determination drove me every day during my tenure as a Stephenson County Sheriffs Deputy. That hunger drove me to start my first business and many more. That determination drives me every day to serve my customers and my constituents to the best of my ability. I do not believe that we need budgets built on old, tired, failed agendas. I do not believe we need Springfield bureaucrats and leadership writing a budget that tells us that they know better whats best for us. We need to move forward and leave behind the thinking that the best measure of government is the number of people served. Its thinking like that which led to the creation of almost 7,000 government bodies in Illinois. Some are inefficient, wasteful and need to be eliminated. If Springfield ran McDonalds, they would open a store in Death Valley because it is underserved, and people are entitled to enjoy McDonalds wherever they may be. I do agree with screenwriter David Milch, who wrote, Every mans entitled to hope. I believe everyone is entitled to hope. I believe that the promise of America is that each of us has the hope and opportunity to fulfill our purpose and live with dignity. It takes work. It takes hard work. In America, it can be done. I look forward to discussing the budget in further detail in coming weeks. It was President Lyndon Johnson who said, You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, you can reach me or Sally at 815-232-0774, or visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com and use the form to send me an e-mail.