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Exploring the Candidates: A Preview of the Illinois Primary Election

In this episode of the podcast, we delve into the intersection of politics and entertainment in the Illinois Quad Cities area. With the Illinois primary election fast approaching on March 19th, we discuss the lack of challengers in most races this year. Representative Greg Johnson emphasizes the importance of primaries as a way for voters to meet the candidates, but also expresses a desire for Illinois' primary to be scheduled later to have a greater impact on national races.

Shifting gears, we examine the current Illinois legislative session and the proposed $52.7 billion state budget. This budget includes corporate tax hikes and the legalization of sports betting. Representative Johnson highlights the priorities of funding education, mental health, and infrastructure, recognizing that while tax hikes are not popular, sometimes they are necessary from those who can afford it most.

The podcast then delves into the Smart Start Illinois early childhood program, which allocates $250 million towards pre-K education and childcare. Representative Johnson credits programs like this for stabilizing enrollment at Western Illinois University, showcasing the positive impact they have on the community.

We also touch on the topic of abortion legislation, with Representative Johnson expressing doubt about a constitutional amendment passing this session. However, he reassures listeners that Illinois will continue to be a safe haven for women seeking reproductive healthcare.

In a bipartisan effort, Representative Johnson introduces a bill with the House Minority Leader to create a workplace safety office aimed at better protecting Department of Corrections employees. This initiative was prompted by the tragic death of a personal friend of his who lost their life on the job due to safety issues.

To wrap up the episode, we take a lighter turn and preview some exciting entertainment events happening in the area. From the beloved Church Basement Ladies musical at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse to children's shows and upcoming tribute concerts honoring music legends Neil Diamond, Elvis, and Dolly Parton, there is something for everyone to look forward to. Tune in to get all the latest updates on the Illinois Quad Cities' political and entertainment scenes!