Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Trending on the Journal

Recent Comments

polkadot76 - Quincy City Budget hearings and Council meeting - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Exactly right. Nothing like adding a bit of drama to bolster your "argument." How can anyone complain? For starters, the bloated budgets of the police and fire departments, and the funding of the generous pensions for those employees, is the primary source of the budget woes that the City is facing. Nothing has really been done to address those issues, save for terminating a few "non-essential"…
topdown - Quincy City Budget hearings and Council meeting - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
That's a bit dramatic, don't you think? What are you suggesting? That if the firefighters didn't get a raise, they were going to walk off the job? Or maybe fight fires at half speed? Because that's the only way that public safety would be jeopardized. With regard to the Consumer Price Index, I agree with polkadot. There are a lot of people out there whose salary hasn't…
qfingers - New Quincy trash system estimated to begin in January 2015 - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
And they had said they were going to buy 2 automated trucks...but the RFP says "an automated garbage truck" which implies one truck. Is that right? http://www.ci.quincy.il.us/bids/garbage-truck
SandyBush - Woman arrested after police find abandoned child - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
I think GuyFawkes10 was referring to the mother.
yesqcy - Quincy City Budget hearings and Council meeting - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Can't afford public safety? That's one of very few things a city its suppose to afford! And the CPI comment on this thread its a very good point and it appears these men and women have taken less than that. How can anyone complain?

Most Popular

Two die in overnight house fire Updated

Woman arrested after police find abandoned child

Adams Co. Divorces for April, 18 2014

Firefighters and Bus Drivers contracts to go to City Council

Traffic stopped on Bayview Bridge after car crash

Fowler man arrested for meth possession

Aldermen approve transit and fire contracts Updated Video

REBEL MEDIA: Yes, Peoria mayor DID sic police on Tweeter Video

Rural lawmakers struggle to make themselves heard

1 month, 4 weeks ago From Associated Press

Lawmakers and political experts say the dwindling numbers of farmers, ranchers and others who make their living off the land affects not just agricultural policy but other rural concerns

They're an endangered species in many state legislatures as more Americans move to urban centers or suburban cities: the rural lawmaker who knows what it's like to care for a herd, plant a crop or drive on gravel roads.

Indiana Rep. Bill Friend, a pork producer, said it's challenging to explain modern farming to colleagues who no longer have personal connections with agriculture. He calls it an annual educational project, as he knows of only one other state legislator who makes his living primarily from farming.

"They're one, two, three generations removed from food production and agriculture. It's kind of a foreign topic to them," said Friend, the Republican majority floor leader in the Indiana House.

Lawmakers and political experts say the dwindling numbers of farmers, ranchers and others who make their living off the land affects not just agricultural policy but other rural concerns - highways, health care, schools and high-speed Internet access. Urban and suburban lawmakers might be sympathetic, but they're often unfamiliar with particular concerns.

One Colorado legislator, a rancher, has even gone so far as to suggest each of his state's 64 counties have a single House seat instead of awarding representation according to population.

In ag-centric Nebraska, more than half of the legislators now come from the Omaha and Lincoln areas. Similarly, South Dakota's legislators are bunched near Sioux Falls or Rapid City - only 11 of South Dakota's 105 legislators as of last year were involved in agribusiness; in 1987, the figure was nearly three times higher.

It was once the opposite.

Rural interests had outsized influence in state capitols back when districts were often based on geography rather than population, said Tim Storey, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. That changed when a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s said legislative districts must have roughly equal populations to ensure the principle of one person, one vote.

"That just makes it more difficult for the rural voice to be heard. It doesn't mean it can't be heard. It's just more challenging," according to Doug Farquhar, the conference's program director for agriculture and rural development.

Colorado state Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg's radical idea of one representative per county comes out of his frustrations over not being heard - he is the only rural voice in the House. Currently, the state legislature's votes are heavily concentrated in the greater Denver and Colorado Springs areas.

He concedes the idea is constitutionally dubious, and follows a mostly symbolic ballot initiative in 11 rural Colorado counties last year to secede and form a 51st state amid disagreements over gun control, renewable energy mandates and other issues.

"I think it is an argument worth having," said Sonnenberg, who represents a sprawling district in the northeastern plains. "But I have no illusions this would ever go into effect."

Illinois was the nation's top soybean producer in 2013, and ranks No. 8 in the U.S. for number of farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture report release this week. But Democrat John Sullivan is the only active farmer in the Illinois Senate, with 200 acres of grain and a few cows.

Sullivan, an assistant majority leader, lamented that the Senate agriculture committee's chairman and other members don't have agricultural backgrounds. He expects a struggle to make the farming opinion heard as the chairman pushes legislation to require labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

"It just makes it more difficult to explain and talk to my colleagues when they're only hearing one side of it from opponents of GMO crops," Sullivan said.

In Minnesota, Rep. Rod Hamilton has long argued that rural concerns get neglected in St. Paul, where the number of farmers in the House stands at six - down from 14 as recently as 1995.

Hamilton, a Republican and pork producer, said he plans to work with other rural lawmakers from both parties in both chambers this session to protect shared interests against a leadership that's mostly from the Twin Cities area.

"You don't need that many votes to make an impact," he said.

Forming partnerships has been key for the only full-time farmer in the Maryland Senate, Thomas McLain "Mac" Middleton.

Maryland has some of the country's richest counties, but its poor, rural areas share many of the same problems as urban areas such as Baltimore - poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancies and lack of opportunities, Middleton said.

So he's made common cause with his urban counterparts to ensure that rural communities have access to education funding as well as high-speed Internet service.

Though his 250-acre farm has been in his family since the 1600s and his ancestors grew tobacco, Middleton converted the property mostly to agritourism. He hosts school groups and families to visit barnyard animals, take hay rides, navigate a corn maze or pick strawberries and pumpkins.

Broadband has been important to the growth of his and many other businesses in rural Maryland.

He said: "I fight real hard to make sure that rural communities don't get left behind."


From the Newsroom

QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 16 minutes ago

Quincy Police Blotter for April 23, 2014 http://t.co/7sUyYl7u7r
QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 16 minutes ago

Friends of the Log Cabins to hold work day - Preservation efforts will take place this Saturday http://t.co/PjpSYXRHZW
nichols120 on Twitter

nichols120 11 hours, 47 minutes ago

It is a fine art! "@mthopf: While the town hall meeting may not have lasted long, @nichols120 and I discussed the fine art of hotdogs."
nichols120 on Twitter

nichols120 12 hours, 54 minutes ago

@mthopf and peanuts