Our state has been rocked by challenges over the past year. Many of our friends and neighbors are hurting and suffering. We have lost cherished members of our community to COVID-19 and grown increasingly frustrated with present circumstances and limitations. I would like to share with you a few thoughts as we close 2020 and frame 2021 with the hopeful optimism we all have for its arrival.
The pandemic has impacted our community in ways we never imagined. The virus has not only taken lives, but shuttered businesses and community organizations. Many are scared. Many are fed up with being limited. Yet everyone agrees the tragedy has altered our lives. All of us long for a chance to gather with our friends and family; to do so with hugs, handshakes and a gentle smile that acknowledges we know what we’ve been through hasn’t been easy.
2021 will test our resolve to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together. As I have said early on, I wear a mask and I encourage others to do the same. I have no problem wearing a mask. All of us should wear a mask when we interact with others outside our household. To me, wearing a mark is an expression of caring and respect for our fellow residents. Caring for others has been a hallmark of being an American throughout our history. We must not allow that trait in ourselves to diminish under strain.
Illinois will receive an initial allotment of 109,000 doses of the vaccine. Those will go first to the counties with the highest death rate per capita, prioritizing the areas of most urgent need. Each of us will have a decision to make regarding the vaccine. I will get vaccinated as will my family after those with higher risk and priority are protected. I trust science and am amazed by science. We should all stand in awe of what scientific advancement has done in the face of this year’s adversity. I know any vaccine carries potential risks. I ask that you consider the upside to your friends, neighbors, small businesses, restaurants, schools, and our overall well being mentally and physically as you weigh your decision.
While 2020 is a year many want to end, I would encourage you to embrace the past year as an opportunity to reflect on how to handle adversity. Consider your path forward and embrace the opportunity 2021 offer each of us to become better versions of ourselves. You can act or be acted upon by the circumstances at hand. Your behavior is a function of your decisions, not your environment.
I believe in you. I have optimism that the coming year will see humanity tackle some of the most significant issues of our time, of all time. But we don’t get there without lifting each other up.
I wish you health and prosperity this holiday season and in the coming year; and I humbly thank you for the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.
State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) has represented the 70th District to the Illinois General Assembly since July 2018.