The spring legislative session has official come to an end. Sadly, the majority party passed an irresponsible and unbalanced budget through stalling tactics that didn’t take everyone’s concerns into account. We will press forward, and I will continue to fight for the needs of everyone in our communities to the full extent of my power. This is not an end, but only the beginning. I know that together, we can make the communities we call home better places to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you for being the heart and soul of our district.
State, Representative Kevin Schmidt
VIDEO: My Statement on the Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget
I issued the following statement today on the FY24 Illinois state budget:
“Democrats’ priorities are misplaced. They are providing taxpayer dollars for Medicaid for illegal immigrants, yet Washington Park still doesn’t have the promised funds they desperately need to rebuild their Fire House, Police Station, and Public Works building. The budget does not address the rampant crime and drug epidemic in our area, yet they are pushing the soft-on-crime SAFE-T Act. There is bi-partisan opposition to the budget but NOT bi-partisan support. In Cahokia Heights, raw sewage is literally flooding the streets, yet instead of delivering money to repair their sewer infrastructure, the majority party would rather give themselves pay raises. The citizens of Illinois deserve a fair, balanced budget that addresses their real needs.”
Full video comments below:
VIDEO: I Invite You to my District Office Open House on June 8th
I invite you to my first-ever District Office Open House!
Come for refreshments, to chat with me, and to learn about the wide range of constituent services provided by my office!
The Open House is on June 8th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at my District Office, located at 4041 Mississippi Ave. Cahokia Heights, IL.
I Sent a Letter to Governor Pritzker Urging the Release of Funds to Washington Park
I sent a letter to Governor Pritzker, urging the release of much-needed funding to Washington Park. In October 2021, a devastating fire burned the Washington Park, Illinois municipal building, destroying the town’s police and fire departments. Since that time, state funds to rebuild the police and fire departments have been designated, but not released from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Washington Park needs an operational police and fire department, plain and simple. These are basic emergency services that people rely on. The community is struggling because these departments are being forced to operate without the building, equipment, and resources they need to do their job to their best ability. This is NOT acceptable. I sent a letter to the Governor’s Office because this must be a top priority and the funds need to be sent as soon as possible.
Belleville News Op-Ed
I had the following Op-Ed published in the Belleville News Newspaper this past Sunday.
Metro East Communities Need Infrastructure, Jobs, and Better Housing – Not More Empty Promises
Politicians in Illinois love to come to the Metro East and promise to solve the problems of our region with one promise of state funding after another. The news crews show up and under the lights of the cameras our state’s leaders tell our communities the check is in the mail.
Then the politicians leave, and the problems remain. Meanwhile, the check never arrives. When the municipal building in Washington Park burned down, the community was promised funds to rebuild. Those funds have never arrived.
In Cahokia Heights, the community has only received a fracture of the promised funds to address the flooding that occurs every spring. Promises made. Promises broken.
Instead of empty words, the people in the 114th District need bold action. We need infrastructure improvement to improve the quality of life in our region and to be a catalyst for job growth.
One of the most important infrastructure needs is the 14-mile-long Harding Ditch. This ditch runs through Collinsville, Caseyville, Hollywood Heights, parts of O’Fallon, Fairview Heights, French Village, Washington Park, Belleville, Swansea, East St. Louis and, of course, Cahokia Heights. These communities all benefit from the maintenance of the ditch but not all of the affected communities contribute to funding the Metro East Sanitary District, which is tasked with maintaining the Harding Ditch.
I will be reaching out the Metro East Sanitary District to discuss changing the way the district is funded to resolve the flooding issues once and for all. Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis are minutes away from St. Louis. The flooding issues make it difficult to recruit businesses and grow the local economy. If we want to spur economic growth in our region, then we must turn infrastructure promises into infrastructure projects.
We need to do more than just give lip service to job creation. An analysis of US Bureau of Labor statistics shows that from Jan. 2000 through Oct. 2022, Illinois lost 106,697 net jobs while Florida gained 2.9 million jobs during the same time period. Burdensome business regulations, high taxes and poor leadership are hurting our state’s ability to compete with other states and border communities like those in the 114th District are hurt the worst.
If we make the infrastructure improvements we need and implement better policies at the state level, we can make our region a destination for jobs and opportunities. The cost of living in our region is affordable and the close proximity to rail, barge, and the interstate make our region an attractive place to build a business and for workers to live and work.
Infrastructure improvement will attract more businesses and more jobs, which will create a demand for more housing and in turn create even more job opportunities. In fact, I have had some conversations with some developers interested in building new homes in East St. Louis and Cahokia Heights. People want to invest in our region because they see the potential of what our region could be if our leaders were to turn political promises into meaningful action.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Teams with Cahokia Heights to Fix Major Sewer Line
The City of Cahokia Heights, Illinois has been facing a crisis. With the reality of severely damaged sewer lines, sewage has been backing up into city streets, parks, and neighborhoods, creating a significant public health concern. They have struggled to receive the necessary funding to fix these issues, as a long-delayed promise of Governor Pritzker has left the people to suffer with these issues for far too long.
Thankfully, a step is being made in the right correction to address these issues. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District and the City of Cahokia Heights are partnering together to repair a major sewer line in the city. Last Wednesday, they entered into a cost-shared agreement for sewer improvements included in the Sanitary Sewer Trunkline Project.
While this will be a significant repair, it is still just the first phase of a solution. Curtis McCall St., the mayor of Cahokia Heights, said, “We may be on the high end another $10 to $15 million short. On the low end–maybe another $8 million.” He estimates that it may realistically be another decade until Cahokia Heights is able to completely renovate their sewer infrastructure to a satisfactory level.
While this won’t completely solve all of the sewer and flooding issues facing Cahokia Heights, it’s an encouraging first step that will have a big impact. I will continue to raise my voice concerning this issue so that Cahokia Heights can receive the funding they need to finish the rest of their much-needed sewer repairs.