Representative Dan Swanson’s May 3 Capitol News Update


  • Protesting a partisan power grab
  • Unemployment stands at 5% in Illinois
  • Read with your child
  • It was an FFA Saturday

Protesting a partisan power grab

Illinois is one of the most partisan gerrymandered states in the country, with the result being a 78-40 Democrat supermajority in the Illinois House. Over the past few years, legislative and judicial districts were redrawn and election laws were changed to make our state’s elections even less competitive. This week it happened again.

On Wednesday legislation to make changes to Illinois’ election laws was quickly filed and rushed through the process. Not surprisingly, the changes benefit the party in power. Tilting the playing field like this does not serve the people of Illinois well.

As a protest against this heavy-handed partisan power grab and the rotten process which produced it, I and other Republicans voted Present, but it sailed through on a party-line vote.

This is just another reason why so many people distrust elected officials.

Unemployment stands at 5% in Illinois

Illinois’ overall unemployment rate now stands at 5%, up from 4.3% at the same time one year ago.

Figures from the Department of Employment Security showed a slight increase in the total number of jobs compared to last year (6,071,300 in March 2024, compared to 6,056,100 in March 2023). The primary reason for the increase in the unemployment rate was the entry or re-entry of tens of thousands of Illinoisans into the job market, with some of them unable to find work. The unemployment rate is calculated by the percentage of those in the job market who are unemployed.

Broken down by metro areas within the state, the Quad Cities area stood at 4.6%, up from a 4.3% rate a year ago. The region with the highest unemployment was the Rockford area at 6.7% followed by the area around Kankakee at 6.4%. Locally we saw a similar phenomenon, with unemployment down slightly from last month, but up compared to one year ago.

The state operates a website at to help Illinoisans find job postings and opportunities which match their skill set.

Read with your child

One of the greatest gifts you can give to a child is the gift of literacy. Reading opens up so many doors and opportunities to a young person. The best way for a parent or grandparent to help open those doors is really very simple: read to your child.

Reading to a child has never been more important. One third of Illinois children are reading below their basic grade level. Third graders who do not read proficiently are four times more likely to drop out of high school, and low income students who do not read proficiently are six times more likely to drop out of high school. In large part this is because students who cannot read proficiently will experience difficulty in every subject in school and find it hard to succeed academically.

Parents play a crucial role in the process of teaching kids to read. That is why I am sponsoring a House resolution declaring next week as Read With Your Child Week in the state of Illinois. Next week, I encourage every parent, guardian or grandparent to set aside some time to read with your child. It’s a good opportunity to get into a year-round habit of sitting down with a good book. You’ll be glad you did!

It was an FFA Saturday

It was an FFA Saturday. I participated in judging and narrowing the field from 13 to 10 candidates of the 2024-2025 FFA State Officers at Lincoln Land Community College.

Our team judged officer candidates on impromptu speeches. They were given the following scenario, which they had two minutes to read and prepare: you went to Springfield to visit Representative Swanson to discuss FFA funding. Unfortunately he was tied up in committee and unavailable to meet. You decide to see if you can catch him in the Capitol hallways.

So the candidate entered a classroom where I was walking, simulating the Capitol. The candidate walked up to me which started their 10 minute conversation. I was amazed with the abilities of all the candidates and the professionalism of the current officers who planned the event. There were other events too for the candidates to complete.

Afterwards I traveled to Bushnell to attend Bushnell-Prairie City’s FFA Banquet. The students achieved many accomplishments this past year. Congratulations on your hard work.

I also had a great evening with the Sherrard FFA. Congratulations to the Weber Family for becoming Honorary Members of the Sherrard FFA!

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