Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park mayors encourgaged by Washington, D.C. visit

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod and Hanover Park Mayor Rod Craig report being pleasantly surprised to find that the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government remain focused on the needs of their constituents during their visit to Washington, D.C., last week.

The two experienced Northwest suburban mayors were in the nation's capital for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 88th Winter Meeting, which they called the best they've attended.

"I came away with a good feeling about what's going on in Washington," Craig said. "I felt like it was one of the better visits I spent there."

Common to both mayors' mutual enthusiasm was the focus on infrastructure investment they heard from congressional staffs, both of Illinois' senators and President Donald Trump.

"There's a realization that it's been neglected and needs to be done," McLeod said.

He added that he's been doing his job long enough to tell the difference between politicians making empty promises and the seriousness he heard last week.

Craig said rising poverty in the Western suburbs, including Hanover Park, is creating a need for a pathway to jobs, and a western access to O'Hare International Airport is one way it might be provided.

He was further encouraged by the support for that idea he heard from new Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with whom he and several others shared a visit with U.S. senators Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates and Dick Durbin.

"She was far more receptive than I've heard in the last bunch of years," Craig said of the new mayor.

McLeod said he too was very impressed by his first meeting with Lightfoot. He said he admires both her approach to her new job and what her election as a gay woman means for society.

Having helped raise a stepdaughter who is deaf and gay, McLeod said he always was infuriated that her sexual orientation often seemed a greater obstacle than her physical disability.

"That burns me to this day," he added.

Craig said he got the same positive message from Trump regarding infrastructure investment during a visit to the White House. The president made no reference to his impeachment, Craig added.

"I wish I'd had a tape running, because he was pretty darn good," he said.

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