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Team effort has prison on track

Published: Saturday, June 7, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

For far too long, Thomson Correctional Facility has sat vacant and unused. It is estimated that the opening of this facility would create more than 1,100 jobs in our state, save our hard-earned tax dollars, and improve safety for prison guards across the country by relieving overcrowding.

I have fought tirelessly to move this project forward after years of roadblocks and delays, and celebrated the April announcement that hiring had finally begun for the prison.  

Last week, a congresswoman from Tennessee attempted to roll back the progress we’ve made by introducing an amendment to block Thomson prison’s opening and operation. This misguided attempt to stall recent progress also was supported by the same Virginia congressman responsible for the political games that left this state-of-the-art facility vacant for years. 

However, the reckless efforts of these two out-of-state lawmakers proved no match for the cooperation and hard work of the Illinois delegation. We banded together, both Democrats and Republicans, and persuaded enough members of Congress to side with us in creating jobs and increasing public safety, to successfully defeat the amendment and ensure Thomson remains on track to open.

I am writing today to thank my colleague, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, and the entire Illinois congressional delegation, for working with me across party lines to do what is best for the people and economy of our state.

We need more bipartisanship in Congress, and I am hopeful that here in Illinois, we’ve proved to the entire country what is possible when we put people over politics.

Note to readers: Cheri Bustos represents the 17th Congressional District, which includes Whiteside and Carroll counties.

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