Online Staff Report
Leaders from Rockford met face-to-face with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) July 29, urging him to sign Senate Bill 0744, which would clear the way for a casino in Rockford. The meeting took place this at the Governor’s Office in Chicago.
Attendees included Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I), Rockford City Administrator Jim Ryan, Regional Director of Government Affairs Mike Dunn, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO John Groh, Rockford Area Economic Development Council President Janyce Fadden, First Rockford Group Founder/President Sunil Puri, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 364 Business Manager Darrin Golden, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 364 Business Agent Charlie Laskonis
“We appreciate that the governor gave us this chance to make our case directly to him,” Morrissey said. “The governor acknowledged our widespread community effort and our critical need for the jobs and economic development that underlie our efforts.
“We also heard firsthand the governor’s concerns regarding the integrity and size of the gaming system in Illinois,” Morrissey added. “We stressed the fact that we agreed that the system must have integrity and that the Rockford market would protect the state’s interest by capturing gaming revenue that’s currently being lost to Wisconsin and Iowa.”
During the meeting, the team stressed the role a casino would play in furthering economic development. It’s estimated a casino would create up to 1,300 new jobs and generate $7 to $12 million in local revenue. That money could be leveraged to spur additional economic growth.
The governor and his staff were also presented with information about the groups, organizations and individuals that support the Rockford Casino Coalition.
The Rockford Casino Coalition was formed in support for the gaming expansion bill (S.B. 0744) and encourages Quinn to sign the bill. The coalition’s founding partners represent more than 1,500 organizations and their 60,000 employees.
For more information, visit the coalition’s Facebook page or www.rockfordcasinocoalition.com.