Three new Republicans will take the oath of office Wednesday, pledging to serve the state and, more specifically, southern Illinois.
The state budget remains the top issue facing the General Assembly. Incoming State Senator Dale Fowler says that must be where lawmakers start their work.
"To me, that's where it starts. We can't go anywhere - we can't go anywhere - until we have a balanced budget. But there's going to be difficult decisions to be made."
Paul Schimpf will join Fowler in the Senate. He agrees that the budget must be the top priority - and says he'll work as long as it takes to reach a compromise.
"It doesn't happen instantaneously, it doesn't happen overnight. You have to build relationships, you have to find what you can work together with - find common ground - and then gradually move us in the right direction."
Dave Severin will also be sworn in Springfield. He hopes to avoid partisan bickering and work on economic priorities for southern Illinois.
"It can't be because you're a Republican or because you're a Democrat. It's got to be because you care about this state. And I care about this state - I care about southern Illinois and the state of Illinois."
The state has now gone more than 18 months without a full budget.