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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Adams County Lincoln Day and Ray Lahood endorsement

Last night (3/2) was the Adams County Lincoln/Reagan dinner. Always a professional and packed event—this time featuring candidates for governor Judy Baar Topinka and Jim Oberweis—candidate Bill Brady’s wife Nancy—Lt. Governor candidate Steve Rauschenberger, speaking for Ron Gidwitz—plus a host of other candidates.

Adams County Chaiman Larry Ehmen missed part of the evening, as he’d been named a winner of the Jefferson Award for community service in Adams County. We joked that it was quite the night for Presidents!

It’s always good to go to Adams County. From the past two and a half years we have made many friends there, and it’s a warm, vivacious community—with men and women who know the meaning of teamwork and whose efforts are always classy! Quincy also featrures a nice balance of industry, small business, historic preservation—even a BRAND NEW BRIDGE!

Yet I surprised a few people, who thought Adams County was picking up population, when I told them that according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, Adams County lost 2% of its population between 2000 and 2004. As in every county I have checked in the 17th except Sangamon, WE ARE LOSING POPULATION. Why? That’s NOT a tough question. When people lose their jobs, or can’t find a good job, they move away.

Compared Rock Island County IL and Scott County Iowa. .

Here’s a question I’ve had since I started coming here again (we used to visit when I was a kid): Why does Quincy, with 40,000 people, have TWO beautiful bridges over the Mississippi River, while the Quad Cities—half a million people in the region has SO
much trouble even getting a replacement for the I-74 bridge. (Just two days ago I drove south leading away from the bridge and noticed that –YET AGAIN—northbound traffic was backed up for blocks and blocks, sitting at a standstill. Whenever that happens—and it’s often—I’m tempted to drive up and down past those gridlocked cars with a sign that says “Thank Heavens for Lane Evans??” But of course, I can’t drive up and down—that’s the whole problem. WE NEED A NEW BRIDGE, and with someone in Congress whose effectiveness in no way matches his years in office, it crawls along at a snails’ pace.

Last night (3/4) I was honored that Ray LaHood endorsed me at the McDonough County Lincoln Day Dinner. I am looking foward to learning even more from Congressman LaHood about how to bring effective leadership to the 17th district.

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