After years of service as the treasurer of the Illinois Legislative Fire Caucus, State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) has been tapped to Co-Chair the 'Fire Caucus' for the historic 100th General Assembly.

This is a bi-partisan, bicameral group that works with the Illinois Fire Services Association made up of 13 major fire service organizations representing more than 42,000 career and volunteer fighters and EMS (Emergency Management Services) service in rural, suburban and urban areas across Illinois.

"Through this 'Fire Caucus' partnership," explained Rep. Cavaletto, "we join with fire chiefs from around the state to promote good public policy that impacts not only fire protection for Illinois residents, but also impacts the working conditions for our firefighters."

"For those of you familiar with my advisory groups that I have convened over the years, this is the same kind of group, only at a state-wide level," explained Rep. Cavaletto, who also serves as the Republican Spokesperson for the Fire & Emergency Services Committee in the Illinois House.

In addition to an on-going conversation about potential legislation, the Fire Caucus sponsors and annual legislative breakfast at the Capitol for all legislators and governmental affairs professionals interested in fire safety to come together and discuss issues of mutual concern.

The State Journal-Register reports that more than 70 food, beverage and agricultural vendors are expected for the 19th annual Illinois Products Expo at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield this weekend.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Orr Building. Food samples are free, and the $5 admission includes five beverage tastings and a glass of wine. Children 10 and younger are admitted free.

This year's theme is "Taste of Illinois Agriculture," including fresh meats, pizza, sauces, homemade jams and jellies, ice cream, gourmet seasonings, as well as non-food products such as soy candles, soaps and lotions. The Illinois Wine Garden will once again be featuring Illinois wine samples, and sales by the glass and bottle.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture also sponsors the "Buy Illinois Challenge," which asks consumers to spend at least $10 a week on Illinois products.

"The Buy Illinois Challenge is a great tool to generate consumer and business awareness of Illinois-made products," Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said in a statement.

Poe pointed out that Illinois is the nation's top food-processing state with annual sales of $186 billion. Nearly 2,400 food-processing companies employ approximately 71,000 people in Illinois, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Additional expo information is available at Additional information on the Buy Illinois Challenge is at

You can hear my comments from the Illinois House Chamber after the joint session today
where Gov. Rauner gave his third budget address since being elected.

You can review the proposed Illinois Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 by clicking HERE.

Historic Vandalia Statehouse - Lincoln served here.
Lincoln Home in Springfield, IL


Illinois soon will give visitors a chance to donate online to free-admission historic sites such as Abraham Lincoln's Tomb and the Old State Capitol.

The State Journal-Register reports that such sites have relied on suggested donations from visitors but they haven't had a way to pay online.

The new electronic payment system is expected to be operating in a couple of weeks.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency collected more than $494,000 in donations at 22 historic sites last year.

Ryan Prehn of the agency tells the newspaper that Illinois is behind other nearby states in offering an electronic payment option. He says the online donations will go toward outstanding maintenance. Illinois has gone years without a capital budget for infrastructure improvements.

Thank you to the eleven Walmart stores in the area (Carlyle, Centralia, Godfrey, Highland, Jerseyville,  Litchfield, Mt. Vernon, Pana, Salem, Shelbyville, and Vandalia) who joined forces to raise $3,000 to donate towards the window project at the Historic Vandalia Statehouse where Abraham Lincoln served as a State Representative. This $3,000 will help repair one of the thirty-three windows.

The Vandalia Walmart store manager, Cheryl Pollard, invited the Walmart Regional Market Manager, Cynthia (Cindy) Humerickhouse, to the annual Christmas reception at the Statehouse in December where she learned about the efforts of the Vandalia Historical Society to repair the 33 windows to stop the water damage leaking in through the old windows. Ms. Humerickhouse then brought the idea to her stores in the region to work together because the Vandalia Statehouse is an educational and historical site that attracts visitors from around the country and world. Recently, the Canadian Consulate General visited the Statehouse for a tour while visiting the Patoka Tank Farm in Marion County.

Rep. Cavaletto on the Illinois House Floor.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) has been named to seven committees in the Illinois House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly. Three of those committees he will be the Minority Spokesperson and will serve as the lead Republican. The committees Rep. Cavaletto is assigned to include:

Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education

Cost Benefit Analysis

Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing (Minority Spokesperson)


Environment (Minority Spokesperson)

Fire & Emergency Services (Minority Spokesperson)

Government Transparency

“I am honored to be assigned to serve on these committees and appointed as spokesperson to three,” said Rep. Cavaletto, who is beginning his fifth term in the Illinois House. “I have also been asked to co-chair the bi-partisan “Fire Caucus” this session which organizes an annual meeting for fire chiefs from around the state to come to the Capitol to discuss public safety ideas and potential legislation,” Cavaletto added.

The Illinois House currently has forty-five standing committees and 11 special committees. If people are interested, they may keep up with activities of the legislature by going to my web page ( or they may track the status of legislation and watch or listen to live debate by going on-line to the General Assembly web site at

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) attended the 19th Annual Industry Awards & Installation of Officers for the Home Builders Association of Greater Southwest Illinois. The association was established in 1998 when the HBA of Southwest IL merged with the Home Builders Association of Madison County.

Home Builders Association (HBA) is a professional organization of more than 250 builders, developers, remodeling contractors, specialty trade contractors, and associate members. In order to assist the consumer in new home purchase or home improvement decisions, the HBA provides information about builders, remodelers, developers, and affiliated companies that have agreed to abide by the HBA Code of Ethics, to use accepted professional and business practices, and to meet or exceed local, state and federal standards and regulations.

“When the turnaround in our economy takes off, there will be a need to build more new homes for the new workers in our state as well as a great number of remodels and upgrades to existing homes,” said Rep. Cavaletto. “I applaud the work of the Home Builders Association to set standards and a code of ethics to build quality homes in Illinois,” Cavaletto added.

Jim Heberer with "Coach" Cavaletto.
While waiting to give his remarks, Rep. Cavaletto noticed someone staring at him from across the room. He didn't recognize the man and wasn't sure what to expect when the man approached him after he'd made his comments.

"I wasn't sure what to expect when this guy came up to me and said I KNEW IT WAS YOU!, Rep. Cavaletto, described jokingly. "It was a former high school basketball player from Mascoutah Community High School who took the final shot in a game against my team at the time, Mater Dei Catholic High school in Breese. That potential winning shot missed, Mater Dei won the game, and went on to the Illinois State Tournament where we finished 4th in the state in 1974," remembers "Coach" Cavaletto.

The former basketball player was Jim Heberer who now is the Residential Loan Officer at Associated Bank in Fairview Heights.

"I've always felt that playing team sports like basketball teaches young people communication and leadership skills that they will use for the rest of their lives," added "Coach" Cavaletto. "Jim is a prime example of how he uses that skill set to help people realize the American Dream of home ownership in our area," concluded Cavaletto.