Lt. Governor visits Western community

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Lt. Governor visits Western community

Erika Ward

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Newly elected Governor Bruce Rauner’s Lieutenant Governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, paid a visit to Western Illinois University and met with various student leaders from across campus.

 Members of the Student Government Association (SGA),  student athletes, College Republicans, Inter-Hall Council and Latin American student organizations such as Casa Latina were invited to the conference room on the second floor of the University Union to discuss different issues involving the students as well as the state government.

 “The reason I’m here today is because I spoke to the president,” Sanguinetti said.  “I want to come here often.  I want to hear the needs, not only of the president or the staff, but your concerns, as students.  You are our future and if you’re unable to graduate because of financial concerns or other obstructions, we need to know about it.”

 Sanguinetti is Illinois’ first Latina Lieutenant Governor.  Her parents both immigrated to the U.S., her mother from Cuba and her father from Ecuador. Her parents met in Hialeah, Florida.  

 “I don’t know if you guys know anything about Hialeah,” Sanguinetti said to the group of students. “It’s where Pitbull is from.”

 Sanguinetti met with President Thomas to discuss different issues with funding because of the recent budget cuts.  

 Sanguinetti insisted that the new budget is just temporary, as education is very important to both Rauner and herself. 

 “A lot of people are saying, ‘well Illinois is such a bad place, that that’s the first thing he’s going to cut, is education,’” Sanguinetti said.  “It’s one of the first things we’re going to fix though.  We believe that education is key. We all deserve a world-class education. It’s the only way to get ahead.”

 Another subject brought up by the students was the property tax freeze and the effects on both education and agriculture.  

 “I plan on working hand-in-hand with the farmers,” Sanguinetti said.  “We’ve spoken to the farmers, and we know right now that their property tax burden is through the roof.  We also know that the infrastructure is lacking for them, so they need to get their stuff from farm to market as soon as possible.”

“The property tax freeze will be incredibly helpful,” Sanguinetti said.  “They’ve seen their values going down, yet their taxes going higher.  You’re going to be seeing a lot of changes.”

Sanguinetti said Rauner will speak about the budget on Feb 18.

“We’re going to have a budget where we are living within our means,” Sanguinetti said.  “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s at least it is a start.  We’re going to have a real budget.  Over the course of time, I do see these problems going away.”

Sanguinetti discussed the importance of education as the new government platform.

“Today, by my visit here, I can tell this is going to be an ongoing dialogue,” Sanguinetti said. “Bruce made it very clear that education is first and foremost and that we will not succeed, as a state, unless we put our students first.“

Sanguinetti also spoke about making sure that rural Illinois, not just the Chicago area, is heard.  She also discussed her support of the women’s movement in politics as well as the Latino movement. 

“My love has always been for the women’s movement,” Sanguinetti said.  “I love touring and doing the whole women’s thing.  It empowers me and it empowers them.”

Sanguinetti, on a tight schedule, spent as much time as her schedule would allow, speaking on the concerns of the students about financial issues, education problems, the Amtrak, the Macomb Bypass, the problems that the new administration has inherited and much more before taking a few selfies with the students.  

Before making her exit, Sanguinetti exchanged information with representatives from Casa Latina in hopes of being able to return to the Western campus to conduct presentations for the Latina student population on campus.

“There are a lot of Latinos in Illinois, they are the largest minority group,” Sanguinetti said.  “I just want to get them involved.  Freedom isn’t free. You have to always fight for it by staying involved.”

Editor’s Note: Lt. Governor Sanguinetti was quoted out of context in the original story when she said “that that’s the first thing he’s going to cut, is education.” The correct context was, “A lot of people are saying, ‘well Illinois is such a bad place, that that’s the first thing he’s going to cut, is education,’” Sanguinetti said.

The Western Courier staff apologizes for the error, and the editors will take precautions so that an error like this this does not happen again. The Western Courier is a learning newspaper, and mistakes may happen while students are learning.