Another Knock For Mental Health in Illinois

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Quinn Responds to Smaller Budget with Facility Closures
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.

Governor Quinn has taken over three months to realize the 2012 budget he approved requires thoughtful spending reductions especially in the personnel line items. In response he recently announced decisions to lay off more than 1,900 state employees and close seven facilities including Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford and Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon.

Some feel the governor has targeted the most vulnerable populations for state services to blackmail the legislature into more borrowing and continuing the overspending budgets of the last decade.

There is no question that Illinois needs to look at additional ways to cut spending. We are not only using outdated state facilities, but also outdated care models that ignore using community based care for appropriate clients. Many of us have suggested ways to cut spending without laying off more people, more economical operating procedures, and ways to stimulate business that result in increased revenue to operate government.

At the very least there needs to be a well- planned transition from state facilities that helps clients adjust to living in more independent settings. We also need to identify appropriate community facilities and care givers. Such transitions take more than the few months that the governor proposes.

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Robert W. Pritchard (R-Hinckley) is the Illinois State Representative for the 70th district, serving the residents in portions of DeKalb, Boone, and Kane Counties. Bob has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003. Pritchard, affectionately known as Bob, has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003. Biography Bob was born February 2, 1945. He grew up on a farm outside Hinckley, Illinois where growing corn and soybeans instilled in him hard work and a sense of dedication. Bob and his family continue to their hard work by farming. He is married to his wife Mary, Associate Dean at Northern Illinois University, and has two grown sons, Matthew and Gregory. Education Bob majored in communications from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) earning both his bachelors and masters degree. Bob’s passion for farming and his education in communication gave him the unique opportunity to enjoy working in both fields. Professional Life Beginning as a Radio and TV broadcaster for a local area stations, Bob delivered the farming updates and local weather reports. Bob took advantage of his skills and has worked for universities as well as filled marketing, public relations, and community relation roles at DeKalb Genetics Corporation and Monsanto. Community Leader Before becoming a member of the Illinois House of Representatives Bob was an energetic and busy contributor to the communities of DeKalb County. Getting his hands dirty in all parts of local government, Bob served on the Hinckley-Big Rock Board of Education. Bob was never far from his roots in the farming community, and was elected to a leadership position for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. He also served as chairman for the DeKalb County Board. Legislative History Bob has diligently worked for the betterment on a wide gamut of issues from early childhood and education, healthcare, conservation and the environment, job creation, and protecting the manufacturing industry. The values of hard work and dedication that were instilled in Bob from his years of farming are reflected in his mentality of representing his constituents.

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