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  1. Lt. Governor

Simon to Chair Rural Affairs Council 

Illinois Radio Network
May 19, 2011

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is re-launching the Rural Affairs Council, a group she'll serve on as the chairman.

"We have a very open-ended charge to promote health and life in rural areas in the state," Simon said of the council. "What we intend to focus on primarily, initially, is farmers' markets and promoting a need that was identified by the council in the past, which is a need for emergency service personnel training, which is an area where we got a few weak links in rural Illinois."

Historically, the lieutenant governor chairs the council, but the seat was empty for two years.

"Some of (the responsibilities of the council) were moved to other places within Illinois government," said Simon. "I think with a full-time lieutenant governor, I'm anticipating we can be a lot more active."

Last summer, the governor signed legislation that would allow those with Link cards to use their cards at farmers' markets. Atop the list of things to do for the council is to figure out the logistics to implement the Link card law, since many stalls at farmers' markets do not have electricity.

Simon says she will encourage compliance with the Local Foods, Farms and Jobs Act which calls for 20 percent of all food and food product expenditures made by state agencies to come from local sources.

The next meeting for the Rural Affairs Council will be in July and those interested in serving on the council should apply at by June 8.