Winnebago County Board establishes committee for stronger voice in Springfield

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:22 PM CST
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) - The Winnebago County Board adds a seventh committee to its agenda and it’s brought about to bring more clout to Springfield.

The Winnebago County Board tried something similar about two years ago but it only lasted about six months. Now seven board members meet for what County Chairperson Joe Chiarelli hopes will be a more ‘hands-on approach’ in state and federal government.

“We are an administrative arm of Illinois, and every bill and law they pass impacts all counties in this state,” says Chiarelli.

The Legislative and Lobbying Committee forms to provide a stronger voice for the county in Springfield.

“The SAFE-T Act, big thing controversial, things like that, the assault ban that just happened. So those things that impact our county we need to look into and that’s why this was developed,” says Committee Chairperson Jaime Salgado.

“We need to be able to monitor these bills and have better relationships with our legislators on the state and federal sides,” says Chiarelli.

Committee Chairperson Jaime Salgado says this will create stronger communication between the county and state to help the board secure grants to help address the county’s top priorities such as public safety, neighborhood blight and public infrastructure.

“If we can have a good relationship with our state reps, our senators and our federal congressmen and senators out there, the more the better because they know exactly what’s going on with Winnebago and what our priorities are,” says Salgado.

Board Chairperson Joe Chiarelli says it’s important to build on relationships with state and federal lawmakers because they know what bills and laws will have the strongest impact on the county.

“It’s a partnership it’s a collaboration so the stronger the relationship and better both sides of their needs. I think we got a winning situation here,” says Chiarelli.

The board has not settled on who will be the state and federal lobbyist for the committee, but Chiarelli says there will be a thorough search to find the best fit.

The committee’s first meeting was Wednesday, and it focused on how to write stronger proposals to secure more grants. From here on out the group will meet on the first and third Monday of each month.