Our county used to be a hotbed of manufacturing. Our friends, families and neighbors used to work for giants like A.O. Smith and Roper. At their peak, those plants employed thousands of area residents, providing good wages and a solid income to raise a family.

We all know the next chapter in the story of our home -- those factories closed, putting thousands out of work. When those factories left, some families relocated, while others retooled their skills because they wanted to continue to call our county home, but we never truly recovered. Unemployment remained high, and income growth was slow. The after-effects of the factory closings rippled throughout our community, negatively affecting every single family, and the closings continue to affect us today.

Some believe our beloved home is never coming back -- that the challenges we face are too great for us to overcome. I refuse to believe that. I know we have it in our power to bring back our community, but we're being held back by a state government that refuses to change -- a state government dominated by one man, Mike Madigan, and his Chicago political machine.

Recommended for you