Tom Bennett of Gibson City will be the Republican name on the ballot for the 106h House district this November. Bennett was a unanimous choice Sunday to replace Josh Harms of Watseka, who elected to withdraw from the race to return to teaching.
A selection committee chaired by Livingston County Republican Party Chairman John McGlasson made Bennett the choice following a meeting Sunday in Paxton.
Bennett was part of five-person race for the House seat in 2012. Bennett finished second to Harms.
Tom Bennett is the Republican chairman for Ford County. He's also a veteran member of the Parkland College Board of Trustees, now serving as Chairman. He's employed as IT Service Manager for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington.
Watseka alderman Bill Nutter is the Democratic challenger for the House seat in November.
Iroquois, Ford, Livingston County unemployment down again
The jobless rates in central-Illinois counties and throughout the state continue to decline. The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports it's another reflection of an improving economy.
All 102 counties in the state saw drops in jobless rates in June when compared to June 2013. This is also the third conservative month that IDES has reported similar drops for all metro areas in the state.
Spokesman Greg Rivara says "That's significant given how diverse the state is." Rivara said "It reflects the progress that is being made with people going back to work."
The unemployment rate and the number of jobs can often move in different directions because the numbers collected are from two different surveys, Rivara said. The Illinois jobless rate for June was 7.1 percent, down from 9.8 percent in June 2013, according to IDES. The national rate was 6.3 percent in June, down from 7.8 percent a year earlier.
Area counties and their June 2014 (June 2013) rates include: Ford, 6.2 percent (8.8); Iroquois, 6.1 percent (8); Livingston, 6.9 percent (8.8).
Meeting to replace Rep. Harms on ballot scheduled Sunday
The committee to select a replacement on the November ballot for State Representative Josh Harms meets this weekend. A Sunday meeting in Paxton finds five Republicans seeking the seat in the 106th House District making their pitch. The committee chairman says there's no guarantee a decision will be made at this meeting.
Livingston County Republican Party Chairman John McGlasson, chairman of the replacement committee, said the five applicants will be given 15-minutes time to address the committee, followed by a a question-answer period.
McGlasson confirmed five applicants have expressed interest in the job.
The applicants include former state senator and former Illinois House member Shane Cultra of Onarga; a former House candidate who finished to Harms in a five-person race, Parkland College Trustee Tom Bennett of Gibson City; Harms' legislative aide, Susan Wynn Bence of Watseka, who's an Iroquois County Board member; Livingston County Farm Bureau President Jason Bunting of rural Cabery; and Michael Mercier, a Watseka city council member.
Harms is a freshman lawmaker from Watseka. He recently announced that he was pulling out of the 106th House District race to return to teaching.
Democrat William Nutter, a Watseka city council member, is an announced candidate for the November election.
It started off years ago as a simple free night of musical entertainment. The city of Kankakee and its supporters rolled in a flatbed semi-trailer to serve as the performance stage at the downtown railroad depot.
Today, it's a two day event. The Merchant Street MusicFest. Last summer more than 20,000 people heard over 30 musical acts on three stages at the downtown Depot Park.
This weekend, Friday and Saturday, the MusicFest has shaped up to even bigger and better.
Bill Yohnka,one of the committee organizers, says the event has put the city on the map, drawing upwards to 20,000 people to the 2-day fun.
The musical festival runs Friday from 5 pm 'til Midnight. Then Saturday from 2 pm 'til Midnight. It's all downtown Kankakee at Depot Park.
Electric-filled stages, video boards, food vendors, and talented musical groups will all share stage presence.
Included among the groups is "Black Cadillac," a cover group with Momence roots.
There's the Earth Wind & Fire Tribute Band, "Shining Star."
The "Magnifiers," a young rock group of Clifton grade school and high schoolers.
Pembroke's Karl Outeen "Lil' Daddy Blues" and the "Number One Sons," of the Kankakee Farmers' Market and Gray Farms connection.
There's a lot more too. Yohnka says it's all about a local effort. And a lot of great sponsors do their part to make it happen.
The Merchant Street Musicfest remains a FREE event to the public because of the support of several local sponsors.
And 94.1 WGFA will be there. We're broadcasting Friday, beginning at 4 pm into the evening. Join us ! We'll visit with band members, food vendors, and maybe you, thousands of visitors expected at Kankakee's Merchant Street MusicFest Friday and Saturday.