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Illinois, Iowa lawmakers meet in Quad Cities for discussion forum

Topics ranged widely from small business to agriculture, renewable energy to childcare and more.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Fifteen Illinois and Iowa lawmakers gathered in the Quad Cities on Jan. 20 for a discussion forum.

The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce hosted the panel at Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel.

As part of the 2023 Legislative Event Series, the panel included the following guests:

  • U.S. Representative Eric Sorensen from Illinois, Dist. 17 (D)
  • U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks from Iowa, Dist. 1 (R)
  • Iowa Senator Chris Cournoyer, Dist. 35 (R)
  • Iowa Senator Scott Webster, Dist. 47 (R)
  • Illinois Senator Mike Halpin, Dist. 36 (D)
  • Illinois House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, Dist. 89 (R)
  • Illinois Representative Norine Hammond, Dist. 94 (R)
  • Illinois Representative Gregg Johnson, Dist. 72 (D)
  • Illinois Representative Dan Swanson, Dist. 71 (R)
  • Illinois Representative Travis Weaver, Dist. 93 (R)
  • Iowa Representative Ken Croken, Dist. 97 (D)
  • Iowa Representative Monica Kurth, Dist. 98 (D)
  • Iowa Representative Gary Mohr, Dist. 93 (R)
  • Iowa Representative Norlin Mommsen, Dist. 70 (R)
  • Iowa Representative Mike Vondran, Dist. 94 (R)

Many discussion topics were explored, including the economy, small business growth, agriculture, and renewable energy.

Two of the biggest topics were local economy and agriculture. 

"We need to address the high taxes that are burdening our small businesses," Rep. Eric Sorensen said. "On the federal side, we need to make sure that those are as low as possible. We need less unnecessary regulation."

Sen. Mike Halpin said clearer government rules for businesses is important for them to work efficiently.

"The first part of the plan... is just providing a stable environment so that if you're planning to own or expand a business, you know what the rules of the game are going to be," Sen. Halpin said.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks was critical of international climate groups in relation to renewable energy and agriculture.

"All of us want a cleaner, healthier planet, for our children and our grandchildren," Rep. Miller-Meeks said. "We need to do so in a way that allows us to compete economically around the globe. And to do that we need affordable energy."

Also on agriculture, Rep. Norlin Mommsen, who helps coordinate funding for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said combating bird flu and other livestock diseases will be a top priority.

The Chamber will have a similar forum for Quad Cities mayors on Feb. 10 at the River City Casino.

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