Brian's Column 12-18-2014

I don’t know about you, but the Christmas season sometimes gets so busy that I don’t have time to enjoy it the way I would like.  The parties, the shopping, the traffic—it tends to overtake Christmas.  I want to take a break from all of that right now, from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and from the politics we’ve all had to endure in recent months.  I want you to take a break and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for in Northwest Illinois.
 
First, I’m thankful for the people I get to serve.  You are the reason I go to Springfield every spring and fall, the reason I put up with the nonsense that often goes on in the Illinois General Assembly.  And I count every second a privilege.  If you ask me, there’s not another more hardworking group of people in the country than those of you in northwest Illinois, and I want to make sure your voice gets heard in our state government.  I am honored to serve you in Springfield.

Second, I’m thankful for the people I get to serve with.  In spite of all the things that happen in Springfield, I’ve got some great colleagues who work hard to make sure their constituents get what they need, not what some others think you may want.  I’m also excited that we get a fresh start with a new governor who will help turn our economic mess around.

Third, I’m thankful for our local law enforcement and firefighters.  In addition to working to keep our communities safe, they also strive to make sure kids in our region have a Merry Christmas.  Local police officers take area kids Christmas shopping at Walmart so those kids can have gifts under the tree, and firefighters hold an annual auction and raffle to buy gifts for kids with special needs.

Fourth, I’m thankful for our military both stateside and serving across the globe.  Those men and women in uniform are protecting our founding principles and the privilege of being an American.  Tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will be far from their families this Holiday Season and we cannot thank them enough or be grateful enough for their sacrifices. 

Fifth, I am thankful for our local churches.  We’ve got some great churches here who strive all year long to meet the spiritual needs of Northwest Illinois, and they remind us of the true reason for the Christmas season.
 
Sixth, I’m thankful for our area nonprofits who work to help the less fortunate.  From the Freeport Pregnancy Center, an organization that helps young mothers through pregnancy and teaches them how to care for their young children; to Gigi’s Playhouse a one-of-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community; to United Way, an organization that mobilizes communities in caring for their own, we’ve got some excellent nonprofits serving our communities.  Why not serve them this Christmas season by donating your money or your time?

Lastly, and more importantly I am thankful for my family, friends, staff and co-workers for their ongoing faith and commitment.  Words cannot express how fortunate I am to be blessed with your support.    

This Christmas season, I wish you a day that is, as Margaret Thatcher said, “a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” Slow down, forget the bustle of the season, and enjoy all that you have been given. Merry Christmas to you all.

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or email us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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