Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Local Efforts Paying Off in Fight for Dwight

The fight to save Dwight Correctional Center (DCC) looks promising thanks to the efforts of local residents.  Village and GLCEDC representatives have been in Springfield meeting with legislators regarding the funding of Dwight each week since the Governor announced that his budget proposal did not fund operations at DCC.  The efforts of our residents and employees at DCC seem to be paying off, as legislators are well-informed about the "Fight for Dwight".  I want to share a recent story that illustrates how local efforts are paying dividends.

Last week, Mayor Wilkey and I had a conversation with Representative Luis Arroryo from Chicago. Rep. Arroryo is Chairman of the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee and a critical vote in the funding of DCC. As Rep. Barickman introduced us to Rep. Arroryo, I offered him a postcard of DCC containing facts about the impact the closure would have on our community. He responded with a big smile and said that he did not need anymore postcards.  He stated he had a stack of them on his desk "this high", indicating 2-3 inches with his index finger and thumb. Thank you to all the residents who took the time and effort to pick up the postcards from Village Hall and send them to Springfield.  Your work has made a big difference!

Rep. Arroyo shared with us that when he drives home from Springfield he always plans his trip so that he can stop at Route 66 Family Restaurant in Dwight, because "they have have the best roasted chicken and excellent service".  At one of his dinner stops, he noticed that his waitress was wearing a bright green t-shirt with "Fight for Dwight" on the front of it. He asked her about the shirt, thinking it was a sports team or something along those lines. Instead, he got an education on what the Dwight Correctional Center means to the community and how devastating it would be to the community if it were to close. A waitress going about her daily routine makes a lasting impact on one of the most influential and powerful legislator in Illinois. This exemplifies the community spirit and community-wide support for DCC.

The picture in Springfield changes by the hour. Most thought that a vote would be taken yesterday on the House Public Safety Appropriations and a vote would be taken today on the House Budget.  Instead, it looks like today will be the day for the Committee vote.  All the action can be followed online here  Look for the Public Safety Committee meeting and General Session.

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