• I ENJOYED my visit with State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield) who came to the Tribune for an interview last week. Turner was appointed to represent the 48th State Senate District in February of 2021, when Senator Andy Manar resigned the position to become a member of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration as a senior advisor.
The 48th District includes part of Macon County so Turner, a lifelong resident of Spring-field, has been spending time in Decatur getting better acquainted with this part of the district. She told me that since she was appointed senator she has put tens of thousands of miles on her car traveling the district. She has also established an office in Decatur at 1210 S. Jasper St., phone (217) 706-5311.
Turner will face Republican Sandy Hamilton in the November General Election as she works hard to keep the seat in the 48th during this election year. I had not met Turner before last week’s chat and we spent a lot of the time talking about her background, which includes working for the state of Illinois for 33 years. She was also a member of the Sangamon County Board and the Springfield City Council plus she has been involved in a lot of efforts to make her community, and the state, a better place. She certainly hit the ground running when she was appointed to the office and has already provided victories for her district through working in a bipartisan way.
There will be time between now and the general election to discuss her stand on the issues, and that of her opponent, but my impression of Senator Doris Turner is a positive one. She is a Christian, has been married to husband, Cecil, for 45 years and they have three children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is a hard worker, a strong campaigner and when she came to my office last week, she had been working outside with a volunteer group in the stifling heat which should earn her extra points. I have not met or talked with Turner’s Republican opponent, Sandy Hamilton of Springfield, but that will certainly happen in the near future as we move closer to the general election in November.
My overall impression of Sen. Doris Turner is that she is a person who is serving in public office for all of the right reasons. I enjoyed our visit.
• LINCOLN PARK WILL NOT BE SITE OF NEW SCHOOL — Less than an hour after our print edition went to press, there was an announcement by the Decatur Park District Board that it will not sell Lincoln Park to the Decatur School District so that a new school could be built at that location.
That announcement was followed by one from the Decatur School Board indicating that talks with the park board involving Lincoln Park were over. (Both releases are elsewhere on this site.)
What a difference a short time can make!
Following is what was printed in the City Beat column in today’s print edition — when it appeared that plans were moving forward for the new school to be built in Lincoln Park. Note the last paragraph regarding the Decatur Park District:
“ Last week, Decatur School Board President Dan Oakes indicated that the board would be moving ahead with the purchase of Lincoln Park from the Decatur Park District to build a new school at that location. There has been a strong protest from some of the neighbors of Lincoln Park, and others in the community, about a new school being constructed there. However, I can assure you as a former mayor of our city, that I never called any big and important agenda item for a vote unless I was reasonably sure I had at least 3 other votes besides my own to assure its passage. I would assume that, at least at the time Oakes made the statement, that a majority of the school board favored moving ahead with the Lincoln Park site. The bottom line in all of the protesting is that a duly-elected school board will make the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Lincoln Park site. Whether you agree, or disagree, with the decision, the school board has the final, and only, vote on the issue. Of course, the Decatur Park District Board must be willing to sell the park to the school district. I haven’t seen any movement to the contrary as I’m writing this column — but things could change by the time you read these words.”
Things certainly did change, didn’t they?
• ROAD REPORT — A black pick-up truck passed me on Route 51 South early one morning last week and had to be hitting 80 mph in a 40 mph posted speed limit stretch of the road. I wondered why the driver was in such a big hurry until I saw his truck a few minutes later in the drive-through lane of Dairy Queen in South Shores! I guess he was in a hurry for his morning biscuits and gravy order!
• NO MASK MANDATE — The COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rate continues to climb in Macon County and across the nation. About the only “protective measures” politicians want to talk about are those that “protect” their re-election chances. Seemingly, they are more worried about their political health than the health of the people they serve. That could change FOLLOWING the November election. Until then, we are on our own.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 to discuss the issues confronting our community.