In March the Chicago Cubs organization visited the Illinois House of Representatives for a special joint session of the General Assembly. Cub’s legend Ryne Sandberg and team owner Tom Ricketts brought along a new friend – the 2016 World Series trophy. The occasion brought back memories of last season’s legendary season and the epic come-from-behind World Series win. That day in Springfield got me thinking about teamwork; about how special goals are achieved when people come together despite years of adversity.
I had the good fortune to attend Game 5 of the World Series, the only game won by the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Before the game fans were given a blue rally towel with a white W in the center. The white W is made up of the names of Cubs players and Manager Joe Maddon. Without any one name, the W printed on the towel would not be complete. We know that this symbolically was true of Cubs last season. Without players like Fowler, Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber, Hendricks, Zobrist, Lester and the rest, the Cubs would have never made it to the World Series, much less rallied to win three straight World Series games to end the 108-year championship drought.
Today my rally towel is framed and hanging in my Springfield office. I find myself glancing over at it from time-to-time and it brings me joy by reminding me of last season’s magic. It also reminds me that I serve on a team that needs to come together in Springfield to get a job done for the State of Illinois.
For two years now, Illinois has been without a budget. In fact, our state has not had a balanced budget in decades. Springfield’s excessive spending habits and taxing addiction has led to uncertainty for businesses and hardship for working families. More and more of my friends and neighbors have left Illinois or are thinking about moving.
The Cubs, who many had given up on years ago, created a vision for success, cultivated buy-in, brought in new thinkers and with committed leadership, turned around the team. Illinois needs to do the same. Illinois was once a great and growing state. I believe it will be once again if our leaders in Springfield will stop talking over one another and work together to turn things around.
Partisanship and policy differences will always exist in government and politics, but Illinois needs to move past pettiness and plan for tomorrow. The 118 members of the House of Representatives who take to the floor in our State Capitol need to put the interests of Illinois’ future first. It is up to us to work together, to find solutions and to craft a plan for tackling high taxes, reforming pensions, funding education and supporting social services that provide a safety net for the most vulnerable.
The Cubs came together around a vision to be champions. It’s time for elected officials to come together to solve problems, not push them off for another day. It’s time to end our state’s balanced budget drought, regain respect for our taxpayers and create economic opportunities for job seekers. I believe it can be done. We deserve to win and to be proud of Illinois again.
About the Author: Nick Sauer is an Illinois House Representative (R-51) from Lake Barrington. To learn more and to sign-up for his e-newsletter, please go to RepNickSauer.com.