Manar talks issues during town hall meeting

Manar talks issues during town hall meeting

Illinois Sen. Andy Manar spoke to Carlinville residents who attended a recent town hall meeting at Lewis & Clark College.

Illinois Sen. Andy Manar spoke to Carlinville residents who attended a recent town hall meeting at Lewis & Clark College.

By Rick Wade
Carlinville got a chance to let Illinois Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) what is on its collective mind July 25 during a “Capitol on your Corner” town hall meeting at the Carlinville campus of Lewis & Clark College.

Manar said he opens these meetings by letting the people know, “in my view, not just as a member of the legislature but as a voter and a taxpayer, that accessibility and accountability go hand in hand.”

“I think elected officials should stand up to answer questions and have an open discussion regularly. I think if we did more of those things, then we would have fewer problems in this state,” he said. “This is my small effort to try and get that done.”

Manar said many of the topics and questions put forth by Carlinville residents that evening were similar to those from other parts of the 48th District, from cities to smaller rural areas.

“We typically talk extensively about education funding and economic development at the town halls. But we covered things at the Carlinville event, from reforms to the tax code in the state to the need for repairs to the Courthouse in Carlinville, to making sure that downstate gets its fair share of road construction dollars to concealed carry. We hit probably a good dozen separate topics, that I thought was incredibly productive.”

Manar pointed out that the people who attend the town halls do not always agree with him on every issue. “That’s part of why I do this. I learn things from people. I appreciate a good discussion. That’s why we have done so many of these, and why we will keep doing them.”

School funding, said Manar, was the biggest issue of the evening.

“That took up a bulk of the meeting, for two reasons. 1. The inequity between wealthy districts and poor districts in the state has never been worse,” he said. “It continues to get worse.”

Manar said a bill he sponsored and was passed recently will create a bipartisan committee to study the problem and report its findings next February.

To read more of this story, see our e-edition.