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Illinois senators introduce CAIRO Act

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018  |  Article  |  Anna Gazette Democrat

Candidates--Federal (13) , Economic Development (35)
The Creating American Investment, Redevelopment and Opportunity, CAIRO, Task Force Act to form a cabinet-level task force was introduced Jan. 30 by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

The task force would be created to address the housing, health and economic crises in Cairo.

In introducing this legislation for the new task force focused on Cairo, the Senators said they are seeking to codify a September request to President Donald Trump that they said he has failed to act upon.

In that letter, they highlight the federal government’s role in exacerbating the problems in Cairo and call on his administration to fulfill a Trump-campaign promise to help rural communities across America like Cairo.

“The only way we can move Cairo and Alexander County forward is through a coordinated effort between federal, state and local officials focused on finding every possible way to help,” Duckworth said.

“While I’m disappointed that Donald Trump hasn’t found time to fulfill his promises to communities like Cairo, Senator Durbin and I aren’t waiting for him to act.

“The hardworking people of Cairo deserve better than broken promises, which is why we’re moving forward with a plan to create a comprehensive interagency task force that is focused on finding solutions to the problems the federal government helped create in Southern Illinois.”

“Cairo is ‘Exhibit A’ for mismanagement in Washington and locally. It is critical that the federal government does everything it can to fix this mess and promote the revitalization of this community,” Durbin said.

“Since President Trump has yet to respond to our request from September pressing him to convene a new task force to work on a strategy to address the housing, health, and economic crises facing the community in Cairo, Senator Duckworth and I are introducing the CAIRO Act in order to better coordinate federal and state efforts to address the public housing crisis in Cairo and increase local economic vitality.”

The CAIRO Act requires that the task force submit a report to Congress within six months of its establishment and each year after that outlines its progress.

On Jan. 30, Duckworth hosted Cairo Junior/Senior High School principal Lisa Childs Thomas as her guest for the 2018 State of the Union Address by the President to highlight what the senator said are Trump’s broken promises to rural America.

Since being sworn into the Senate in 2017, Duckworth has worked alongside Durbin to address the challenges faced by residents of the Elmwood and McBride housing developments, to hold those responsible for the crisis accountable and to  improve the Cairo economy.

Last year, Duckworth and Durbin visited Cairo to meet with local officials, to tour the city and to hear directly from residents.

Duckworth on Jan. 30 also introduced the HOME Act, which could help private organizations, as well as state and local governments, to invest in communities like Cairo. More information about the HOME Act is scheduled to be released soon.