While the nation’s first Latina lieutenant governor described how she climbed the ladder from an art school to law school and more, other Illinois politicians showed support while still questioning the Illinois budget stalemate and recent health care concerns.
Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti spoke last week at the Saluki Stadium Club in Carbondale to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Sanguinetti, a Latina from Florida, told her life story, which she refers to as the Hispanic-American dream. Raised by foreign-born, teenage parents — her mother is from Cuba and her father is from Ecuador — she found success in playing piano, albeit poorly, which started her college career.
Former Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon attended the event and raised questions to reporters about SIU’s employee health care. Simon is a teacher at the law school and in the political science department.
The state’s Department of Central Management Services, a branch of the Rauner administration, recently notified state employees it soon may not be able to pay medical providers as the budget impasse continues to drag on.
"My buddy Virginia Tilley, who is the head of the political science department … she has cancer. She has regular treatments,” Simon said. “We just learned this week the state is not going to pay. … So we’re really getting to a point where it’s life and death issues. We need to get past the budget impasse. Both the governor and the legislative leaders have responsibility to work out a compromise and get it done fast so that we’re not forcing people to choose between paying for their bills and paying for their health care.”
The Illinois budget, which should have been passed months ago, is still an argument at the statehouse in Springfield. Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Rauner have disagreed on major issues since Rauner took office at the beginning of the year.
“I tell everybody to please wait patiently,” Sanguinetti said. “You know our courts have done a great job in being instructional so that government could continue to work well with being faced with this budgetary impasse. I’m hopeful that payments will be paid out in a timely fashion.”
Also attending the event was state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro.
“This is not the first time that we’ve seen this,” Bryant said about the delay in health care payments. “It’s the first time that we’ve seen it just because of this particular cause.”
Bryant said she understands some of those suffering must be her own constituents, but she passed the blame onto Speaker Madigan, who she said has left the table.
“Until we’re able to negotiate a budget that is sound and is realistic, there’s not a lot that we can do right now,” Bryant said. “We’re at the mercy of the call of the Speaker.”