Senator from Bunker Hill wants more downstate influence on state commerce board

By Gary Scott on May 29, 2018 at 11:43am

A Macoupin County-based State Senator is voicing his objection to the lack of downstate representatives on Illinois’s board of commerce.

State Senator Andy Manar, of Bunker Hill, who represents the 48th Senate District in Illinois, is making his malaise known regarding the lack of downstate individuals on Illinois’ Commerce Commission. The state’s board of commerce is a group consisting of five members that carry a rather large amount of influence over issues such as utilities regulations, licensing for trucking and towing companies, and overseeing all necessary railroad safety and improvements to railroad crossings within Illinois.

According to Manar’s press release, since Governor Bruce Rauner took office in 2015, the Illinois governor has appointed five members to the commission, none of which reside outside of either Cook or DuPage Counties. Manar says this marks the first time in more than 100 years that the state’s commerce commission failed to have at least one member from downstate Illinois.

In a statement, Manar says, “There is a lot of Illinois outside of Chicago and the suburbs, and the people in these communities deserve to have someone on the commerce commission who will represent their interests and their point of view.”

The Senate Executive Appointments Committee voted yesterday to recommend two of Governor Rauner’s pending appointments to the commission in D. Ethan Kimbrel and Anastasia Palivos, both Chicago residents. Manar, who serves as vice chairman of said committee, voted against both recommendations. When Kimbrel’s recommendation was sent to the full Senate, lawmakers voted Yes nearly unanimously by a vote of 45 to 1.

Aside from taking issue with the lack of downstate representation on the Illinois Commerce Commission, Manar also continue to fight for better access to water and electricity, decent phone calls and cable service, and safe railroad grades in rural Illinois.