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Speaking on your behalf in Springfield

Published: Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 3:18 p.m. CDT

As a representative gains experience and the trust of fellow legislators, they may earn the opportunity to be named a House committee Republican spokesperson. These positions are highly coveted and essentially mean that your expertise to lead committee debate has been recognized. I’m honored to have been selected to serve as spokesperson for two crucial committees for the 98th General Assembly that affect our roadways and jobs.

The House Transportation-Vehicle Safety Committee works closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on safety issues related to road improvement. As our infrastructure changes to meet the needs of a growing population, working to ensure roadway safety is more important than ever. This appointment will provide motorists and communities in our area a stronger voice when improvement plans are working their way through the committee process.

I have also been named the spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus on the Tourism and Conventions Committee. My extensive background in the tourism industry makes this appointment a good fit as well. At its core, promoting tourism is about creating jobs and that’s going to be key as we continue to work to kick-start a sluggish economic recovery.

As a contributing member, I will serve on the Public Utilities Committee, where significant changes may be coming this year updating the state’s telecommunications rules. I’m looking forward to learning details on how the industry plans to grow Illinois’ competitive business edge and still ensure reliable personal communications.

Service on the newly-created Accountability and Administrative Review Committee will give me a chance to represent many of my constituents’ concern about Illinois’ thoughtful use of its finances and the Human Services Committee will put me in touch with many safety-net organizations. I also gained a seat on the General Services Appropriations Committee.

It’s going to be a busy couple of years. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I look forward to hearing common sense, constructive ideas from many of you on how to make our state better.

State of the State

Each year, the governor comes to the House chambers to share his vision on the past, present and future of our state. Last week’s message contained so few details it concerned me, both as a legislator and taxpayer. Little time was spent on our staggering debt but a great deal of time was spent on a social issues wish list. He also thought Illinois should raise our minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour. Federal guidelines are $7.25. We’re already one of the highest in the nation. I’ll provide an in-depth analysis in the next Hatcher’s Highlights.

Springfield snapshots

Last week was almost entirely dedicated to committee organization. Special ceremonies are already beginning to weave themselves into the busy House schedule. The Black Caucus, for example, takes a moment of each session day during February to remind Illinois residents of the important contributions made by past and current black leaders. The American Heart Association gathered key female legislators to raise awareness of their Go Red for heart health campaign, and the rotunda is filled each day with groups advocating for their particular issue.

Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, is the state representative for the 50th Legislative District. She can be reached at her Yorkville office at 630-553-3223 or by email at info@kayhatcher.us. Follow updates on Facebook by adding State Representative Kay Hatcher as a friend.

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