Northwest Illinois Local Officials Lend their Support to Regional Re-Open of Illinois

Following a call by legislators representing Northwest Illinois to re-open Illinois regionally last week, Northwest Illinois local officials have been following suit, lending their support to a regional approach to the re-opening of Illinois economy, the first step needed toward an economic recovery from the impact of the Stay at Home Orders in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter sent by a 14 member majority of the Stephenson County Board to Governor JB Pritzker on April 25 urged the replacement of the current one-size-fits-all approach with a new strategy that “focuses on individual responsibility and decision making at the local level”. According to the letter, if the economy is not reopened swiftly the financial damage will likely be “catastrophic”.

In the letter, the signing members of the Board including County Board Member Andy Schroeder, stress that Stephenson County, “can be safely reopened by asking high-risk people who are vulnerable to infection to continue to stay at home while low risk people return to the work force. People can return to work and businesses can be reopened by continuing to stress good hygiene practices in combination with reasonable mitigation efforts.”

“The Stephenson County Board majority are not the only local officials urging we take a regional approach to this re-opening,” said State Representative Andrew Chesney on Wednesday.  “Mayors, Village Presidents, City Councilpersons, County Boards and local government officials throughout most counties outside Northeastern Illinois, see the writing on the wall and recognize their communities may not recover without a regional re-open that recognizes that rural Carroll County should not be treated the same as urban Cook County.”

Last week, Representatives Andrew Chesney, John Cabello, and Joe Sosnowski blasted Governor JB Pritzker’s one size fits all approach to the pandemic in Illinois.  Legal proceedings to determine whether the Governor exceeded his authority under the Emergency Management Act are ongoing, with the Governor’s legal team attempting to fend off Constitutional challenges from lawmakers and citizens alike questioning his go-it-alone approach to the crisis, excluding the Illinois General Assembly in decisions to date and possibly even unlawfully restricting Constitutionally protected freedoms.