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Daily Journal
     May 8, 2020      #41-129 KDJ

Parkhurst wants 79th District separate from

By Stephanie Markham

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is taking “under serious consideration” a request to leave Kankakee County and surrounding areas out of the Chicago region in his plan to reopen the state, Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst said Thursday.

Parkhurst, a Republican representative of the 79th District, said Pritzker called her Wednesday evening in response to a letter she wrote explaining her disagreements with the plan.

She said the plan “blindsided” legislators, as they were not consulted regarding their regions.

Parkhurst argued in her letter that Kankakee and Grundy counties and Peotone in southeastern Will County represent significantly fewer COVID-19 cases (less than 1 percent of the state’s total) than Chicago and its surrounding suburbs (92 percent of the state’s total).  

She goes on to argue that the reopen plan would be “an economic death sentence” to the 79th District, since the Chicago region would be last to reopen, and this area would not have the same ability to rebound as metropolitan Chicago. 

She also asks Pritzker to call the General Assembly back to session to create regional reopening plans at the local level.

Parkhurst said Thursday that she is working with local leaders in her district on ways to safely and responsibly reopen communities while paying close attention to scientific data regarding COVID-19. 

“We have to be supportive of business,” she said. “If Menards can open as a big box store with social distancing and the amount of people that go in there, we should be able to have smaller businesses open with the social distancing precautions.”

Parkhurst also said it is important that the Legislature is allowed to reconvene to maintain the system of checks and balances in the state government.

“Because of the pandemic, the governor has some executive emergency powers, but he can’t just run the state as one man and not call us back into session,” she said. “These decisions that are being made have long-lasting effects on the state and the voters of the state, and they need to be made by their senators and their representatives who represent them and know their communities.

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Stephanie Markham
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