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Local

State representatives talk openly about bipartisanship

Four of Illinois' House of Representatives, Maurice West II (D-67), Lance Yednock (D-76), Keith Wheeler (R-99) and Jeff Keicher (R-70) sat and talked Monday evening in front of NIU students in the University Suite room of the School of Public and Global Affairs building. Scot Schraufnagel, NIU's Department of Political Science chair, mediated the meeting.
Four of Illinois' House of Representatives, Maurice West II (D-67), Lance Yednock (D-76), Keith Wheeler (R-99) and Jeff Keicher (R-70) sat and talked Monday evening in front of NIU students in the University Suite room of the School of Public and Global Affairs building. Scot Schraufnagel, NIU's Department of Political Science chair, mediated the meeting.

DeKALB – Four representatives across the political aisle met with each other Monday evening and it was not what a lot of people probably would have expected.

The meeting at Northern Illinois University’s School of Public and Global Affairs was civil. It was calm and it was positive.

As an NIU alumnus, Jeff Keicher (R-70), said before the meeting with three other Illinois representatives that the point of the meeting was to show a behind the scenes look to the NIU students at what the process of governing looks like. He said it was a great way to give back to the students.

All four of the representatives, Keicher, Keith Wheeler (R-99), Lance Yednock (D-76), and Maurice West II (D-67), spoke about working together to move Illinois forward.

“This is what governing is supposed to look like,” Wheeler said after the
meeting.

He said that while he worked hard with former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, he’s been working just as hard with current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He said building personal relationships is important to make a difference in the long run. The key is to talk about the bill and to talk about the idea. Address the idea, not the person. Character assassination serves nobody.

West, like the others, brought up the fact there are currently 74 Democratic representatives versus 44 Republican representatives in the Illinois House of Representatives. His point was despite the divide between the number of “blue,” versus “red” – the colors that represent Democrats and Republicans – that the two sides have to work together.

“There’s too much at stake to do blue versus red,” he said.

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