Four republican southern Illinois lawmakers held a virtual town hall Wednesday afternoon to discuss the House GOP's legislative agenda.
Representatives Blane Wilhour, Patrick Windhorst, Paul Jacobs and Dave Severin broke down the four pillars of the Reimagine Illinois plan. They involve ending a culture of corruption; restoring responsible fiscal leadership; growing jobs and opportunity as well as ensuring public safety.
Representative Severin says the plan is made up of 81 bills that are designed to give people reasons to stay in Illinois, at a time when the state's population has declined for seven years in a row.
"A lot of times people are saying, 'what are you doing to bring people to Illinois?' I said, 'the first thing we've go to do is to get people to stay, give them a reason to stay here and then attract other people to come in.'"
Representative Jacobs says people need to realize they don't have to pursue a four-year degree if their interests lead them elsewhere.
"You can be electricians, you can be plumbers, you can be masons. You don't have to go in and spend your time doing algebra, calculus, etc. If you prefer to be a bricklayer, then, go that route. We need everybody to stay here."
Representative Wilhour says years of misplaced priorities and poor public policy have held the state back. He says this plan is meant to create a sense of hope and direction for the future.
"A vision of the unlimited opportunities that could and should be available here if our elected leaders finally become intentional about addressing the serious structural issues that stifle opportunity for the citizens of Illinois."
Representative Windhorst says a lack of leadership has led to overblown budgets -- and at the same time -- a reduction in services.
"Our proposed legislation will keep Illinois residents top of mind when it comes to balancing the budget, opening up the budget process to all, taking on pension reform and tackling government inefficiencies."
For more information, click here.