Political leaders gather in Du Quoin for the Southern Illinois Legislative Summit

State and local lawmakers gathered in Du Quoin for the Southern Illinois Legislative Summit.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:23 PM CDT
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DU QUOIN, Ill. (KFVS) -Loan forgiveness, the war in Ukraine and the Illinois budget are just some of the topics touched on by state and national leaders today at the Southern Illinois legislative summit in Du Quoin.

“I do support it, I have some concerns, how is he going to pay for it is one of them,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Duckworth was in southern Illinois today, fielding questions regarding President Biden’s proposal to provide $10,000 in student loan relief for college students.

“And then also you know I think this is okay for a one time thing, but I do worry that this really subsidizes those who can’t go to college and tax payers who don’t go to college may find this is a challenge,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth, a democrat seeking her second term in office, says she is working on ways to introduce debt free college. She says the cost of college now is too expensive.

“I think we should have a program where people can pick up a piece of chalk, or a shovel or hammer and serve America in some way in exchange for that, get their own service GI bill so that folks can go to college debt free,” said Duckworth.

On the issue of Ukraine’s war with Russia, Duckworth says she fully supports the U.S. funding of the Ukrainian military.

“And as the leader of the democratic and free world it’s be whose us to support nations that are fighting for democracy and independence. So I support giving aid to the Ukrainians, as long as the Ukrainians are continuing to fight to defend their own country I think we should be there to help them,” said Duckworth.

The Illinois state budget also on the mind of voters. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza tells me the state’s rainy day fund is more than $1 Billion but it needs to increase she says.

“It’s important that we get closer to three and a quarter billion which is about seven and a half percent of our budget. And that would cover about three weeks worth of bills for the state of Illinois,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza says her goal is to continue to grow the state’s finances to retain people and entice them to move to Illinois.

“To help Illinois grow jobs jobs jobs, grow its economy, allow people certainly here in southern Illinois to have better economic growth opportunities and make it a place where people want to continue to move to,” said Mendoza.

Election day is set for November 8.