Latest News

Monster trucks in Ford County
I recently had the chance to visit with Tom Meents and his facilities in Paxton. It is an amazing operation. The visit helped me develop a whole new understanding of monster trucks. They have put together a great team with an impressive focus on safety and details to getting things done right. The facility features a training area where monster truck drivers can learn and excel at their craft. It is a wonderful example of a hard-working entrepreneur in east central Illinois!

Governor Signs Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission bill into law
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation on Tuesday creating the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission. I was an active co-sponsor of the legislation, appropriately numbered House Bill 66.

The commission will develop plans for celebrating the famous road’s 100th anniversary in 2026. Route 66 put Illinois on the national numbered highway network map in the late 1920s as the state became the first to pave the entirety of its share. The creation of the Route 66 Centennial Commission is exciting news for the Livingston County region, as we are the proud home of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum in Pontiac.

“Legislator of the Year” Award
I was honored this month to be chosen as the “Legislator of the Year” by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs (IAAF) during a ceremony at the Iroquois County Fair. The IAAF is the statewide association which represents all the county fairs in Illinois.

State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) will host a free senior resource fair in Pontiac on Wednesday August 15.

“I encourage seniors and their families to stop by our free event on August 15 to participate in health screenings and pick up information about resources available in the area,” Bennett said.

The resource fair will be at the Pontiac Rec Center, located at 900 N. Elm Street, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. In addition to the health screenings and resource information, there will also be free refreshments and a chance to register for a door prize.

For more information, contact Bennett’s Pontiac office at (815) 844-9179 or visit his website at The fair is being co-hosted by Health Alliance, the Pontiac Chamber and Pontiac Parks and Recreation.
WATSEKA – State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs during a ceremony at the Iroquois County Fair.

Patti Bellock named DHFS director
Gov. Rauner has named Patti Bellock as the new director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock has served in the Illinois House since 1999. She has established herself as one of the House’s leading experts on Medicaid as well as the health care and social services programs she will oversee as director.

Local fire departments receive state grants
The Office of the State Fire Marshal has announced that five local fire departments have received funding under the Small Equipment Grant Program. In all, more than 100 departments statewide were awarded a share of the $2 million in grant funds which were announced this week. The grant program is intended to help fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services with purchases of small firefighting or ambulance equipment.