Andrew Chesney


Andrew Chesney


Senator Chesney’s Week in Review

Senator Andrew Chesney Welcomes IL Director of Agriculture to First Agriculture Advisory Committee Meeting of 2024

Over 60 leaders from the Northwest Illinois farming and agriculture community gathered at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau building last Tuesday for my 2024 Agriculture Advisory Committee meeting. Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, was the keynote speaker.

Lou Lamoreux, a Lanark farmer and recent recipient of Prairie Farmer magazine’s Master Farmer Award, chairs the committee, and at the meeting he greeted attendees and provided brief remarks about the importance of a designated committee to discuss agriculture issues and other items important to farmers.

Director Costello discussed the vital role agriculture has on the Illinois economy and outlined some of his department’s duties. He also discussed resources available to address farmers’ mental health, the success of the state’s county fair, environmental challenges, and how his department is working to steer more young people toward careers in agriculture.

During an hour-long question-and-answer period, local leaders asked questions about the estate tax and the difficulties it places on farming families, animal-borne disease prevention and response, biosecurity, ethanol usage, and many other topics. It was a pleasure to provide a platform where agriculture and farming leaders from across my Senate District could take their questions and concerns straight to the highest-level Ag official in the State of Illinois.

This event provided an excellent platform for an informative and useful exchange of ideas. I know Director Costello appreciated the questions and feedback, and attendees walked away with a greater understanding of how the Department of Agriculture operates in Illinois and how the Director works on their behalf.

My Agriculture Advisory Committee meets three to four times yearly to discuss important issues affecting farmers and the agriculture community in Northwest Illinois.


Legislation Proposed to Keep At-Risk Veteran Homes Affordable

Senate Republicans recently introduced legislation to put an end to expensive charging station mandates that have made it significantly more expensive to provide housing options for homeless veterans. I am a proud co-sponsor of this bill.

The 2023 Electric Vehicle Charging Act requires all new affordable housing developments to include EV-capable parking spaces. Organizations working to build affordable housing units for homeless veterans have said that this requirement will make their efforts drastically more expensive.

Senate Bill 2597, removes this costly burden and stipulates that the provision under the Act would not apply to tiny homes designated for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, provided these homes were funded and constructed by qualified non-profit organizations.

Senate Bill 2597 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Senate.


Chesney Visits Freeport’s Heritage Aero

Last week I had an opportunity to tour Heritage Aero in Freeport and visit with owners Cliff and Kristen Wilewski and one of their employees, Shawn.

Heritage Aero opened its doors in 2004 at the Chicago Rockford International Airport and quickly grew and gained a reputation for offering excellent maintenance services at a fair price.  In 2019 Heritage Aero moved to the Albertus Airport in Freeport, where they now operate out of a large hangar facility. I really enjoyed talking with these successful small business owners.

They work on both civilian and warbirds.


Prisoner Review Board Decision Leads to Tragedy

Two members of Governor JB Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board (PRB) have resigned after a man released by the board killed an 11-year-old boy and critically wounded the boy’s pregnant mother.

Crosetti Brand is accused of stabbing a former girlfriend and killing her son as the boy attempted to defend his mother from a brutal attack just a day after being released by Pritzker’s PRB. In February, while on parole, Brand sent the woman messages threatening to kill her and went to her home. This violation of his parole landed him back in the state’s custody while the PRB could consider whether he should remain in prison.

Despite the threats, the boy’s mother seeking an order of protection, and Brand’s history of domestic abuse, the board voted to release him. On March 25th, Governor Pritzker announced that two of the members of the scandal-plagued board were resigning. Sadly, this case is just the latest in a string of controversial decisions made by the PRB, which has released numerous convicted murderers and violent offenders on the Governor’s watch.

Pritzker has made several high-profile, controversial appointments to the PRB, including a convicted double murderer. While the Illinois Senate must confirm appointments to the board, the Governor had repeatedly circumvented the process by making controversial appointments and then rescinding the nominations just before the time they can serve unconfirmed expires, only to immediately reappoint them. In doing so, his nominees avoid public scrutiny and collect a paycheck serving on the board despite not being confirmed.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly exposed the PRB’s issues, eventually creating enough public pressure for the Governor to change course and seek Senate confirmation of his appointees. Despite that progress, serious issues remain. The continued need for reform is clear.

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