Illinois’ July 2011 unemployment numbers show that the state’s unemployment rate jumped from 9.1 percent in June to 9.5 percent, with Illinois losing 24,900 jobs.

The State of Illinois cannot ignore the talent and ideas of its experienced citizen-leaders who can assist by identifying the appropriate measures to turn our state’s economy around, creating stronger businesses and more jobs in Illinois.

On Jan. 13, I filed House Joint Resolution 0083, and on March 17, the House adopted the resolution (it didn’t advance to the Senate), proposing to establish the State Financial Crisis Task Force within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The Civic Federation of Chicago has proposed some ideas regarding our state’s economy, but we need others to contribute, too. As the chairman of the House Small Business Empowerment and Workforce Development Committee, I have asked Governor Quinn to use this committee to hold an emergency hearing to bring state agency heads and business leaders to the table to strengthen efforts to create jobs in Illinois.

We need to bring the talent of Illinois to the table to work on a plan to improve the health of our state’s economy. Illinois should not wait for Washington to fix our state. Illinois is the home of presidents Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, and Obama; therefore, we can and should work to be one of our country’s leaders to help improve the national economy.

I urge Gov. Quinn to act now, and not wait for the General Assembly to come off recess, to help lead Illinois to solutions to create stronger businesses and create jobs in the Land of Lincoln.

La Shawn K. Ford
State Representative, Eighth District