* (Andew Mikolajczyk) There is a proposal to name part of the Illinois highway after former President Barack Obama? What is your perspective on it?
— (Robert Martwick) The bill to rename I294 after Barack Obama is being sponsored by Rep. Marcus Evans. The idea came from a man named Patrick Steffes, who regularly volunteers for me and many other elected officials. Patrick suggested that Pres. Obama’s victory in 2008 was due largely to his ability to win the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. As such, he thought it would be a fitting tribute to name the Tri-State tollway, which connects these three states, after Pres. Obama.
“There is a proposal to name part of the Illinois highway after former President Barack Obama? What is your perspective on it?”
*(A.M.)You attended recently Paczki Day in PAA – with Governor Bruce Rauner. You are a Democrat –, the Governor is the Republican. You met together to support social services agency. What was the feeling of being together in the same agency?
— (Robert Martwick) I was happy to have Gov. Rauner join me at the Paczki day celebration at the PAA. The PAA has been providing crucial services to immigrants of Polish descent for nearly a century. They have served a critical function in Polonia, helping new immigrants adjust to life in this country. Unfortunately, Gov. Rauner has suggested eliminating all funding for agencies like the PAA, so I am hopeful that his appearance was to show support for this organization and ensure that they receive the support they need.
• (A.M) Can you work together on some bigger issues like State Budget? Obviously, the Illinois State Budget is a very complex issue. Can Illinois leaders resolve it? How?
— (RM) The State of Illinois has had no budget for more than 2 years, since Gov. Rauner took office. Illinois has had financial problems for decades, but the last two years without a budget have made those problems measurably worse. Every elected official in Illinois, especially the Governor, needs to come together and commit to solving the budget. While the budget itself is merely simple math, the decisions on how to balance the budget and close our deficit are very difficult.
Gov. Rauner has shown that if we simply cannot close the budget with cuts alone, and so we simply must decide how we will raise the revenue needed to preserve the function of critical services. These are difficult decisions, the answers for which we will only come to once we have sat down at the table together in good faith and have committed to solving the problem.
* (AM) Pulaski Day in Illinois – is celebrated on first Monday of March. Illinois is the only state that has such holiday. Should we keep it? How important is it for you, for other legislators? What are your plans for it?
— (RM) Since I was first elected in 2012, I have made it my mission to regularly share my Polish culture and heritage with my colleagues in the state legislature. Our culture is an extremely important part of the historical fabric of Chicago and Illinois and I do my best to ensure that my colleagues know exactly why that is.
We have many holidays in honor of many historical figures, yet I’m not sure that any deserves this honor more than Gen. Pulaski. He is not a Polish hero. He is an American hero. We show great deference to the forefathers of our country, and yet without the sacrifice and contribution of men like Pulaski and Kosciusko, our country might not have the democratic freedom we cherish. I will not simply oppose any attempts to diminish the importance of Pulaski day, but I will proactively reinforce the importance of the day.
• (AM) Thank you.
@ Andrew (Andrzej) Mikolajczyk