Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting Quincy and having a heartfelt conversation with Rep. Robin Kelly, who also is the Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Whenever I have heard Rep. Kelly speak on the House floor, she spoke directly to both my heart and my head. I knew instinctively that when afforded the opportunity to meet her, she would live up to this image I had long been developing about her—that she was both down to earth and simultaneously uplifting and inspiring.
It is not in my wheelhouse to have many expectations of others. It tends to set them up for failure, and myself for disappointment. Why do that to both yourself and others? It just doesn’t seem right.
Despite the unfairness of my high expectations, Kelly exceeded them.
She is direct, focused, compassionate, and dedicated to constituent services. I’ve never met a Democratic lawmaker who didn’t understand this most basic high priority. It is not easy to achieve in rural districts, either.
The latest redistricting actually increased the size of Kelly’s congressional district substantially. It was because of the closeness I had for all of the communities, individuals, and partners of our campaign that I had grown close to over the last few years that I asked her about how her expansion of constituent services down to Danville and most of Vermilion County was progressing. I know personally how many significant issues that her office will be grappling with for many years.
In fact, it was an answer at a county meeting back in 2020 by a candidate to a specific question that initiated that second campaign. A voter asked them what would be the first action they would take if they were elected to this office.
I was just there to observe and ask questions myself. My intentions always have been purely about helping people.
When this candidate responded with a flippant answer about upgrading their Hulu account to remove the nuisance of commercial interruption, I knew what I was going to do no matter how I felt at the time.
That voter asked me what I would do. My answer was simple. Provide the best constituent services. Even if we had to take the money out of my salary, we would make the office more accessible to more people.
Seeing Rep. Robin Kelly know exactly how many miles it was, and how long it takes for her staff to drive the extra distance showed her devotion to the people of her district. She is a role model for anyone looking to make a difference in their community.
I know I can be very tough on the Democratic Party of Illinois. They deserve to be held accountable. Kelly currently resides as the DPI Chair. They made a wise choice. She can’t turnaround this massive ship all at once or all on her own. Keep those realities in mind whenever I criticize the state party, because I am not considering her as part of the problems I am criticizing.
It is great to see her follow through on her promises to meet rural Democratic voters where we live, even though I drove 4 hours to get to Quincy. I was blessed to make that drive. It gave me an opportunity to see the diverse economy and geography of this new 15th District with fresh eyes.
Sometimes, it’s not all roses. Good people, like Robin Kelly, she makes it worthwhile.
I was happy to have some good conversations with people from Adams County, and learn a great deal about some curious history about Quincy as well.
Thank you, Rep. Robin Kelly, for all that you do, and Adams County Democratic Party, for hosting the event, and being so welcoming and hospitable.