To the Editor:
Over the past 40 years, I have had the opportunity, on many occasions, to travel through every county in our state. I’ve driven on every state and federal highway, visited courthouses, schools, medical facilities, factories, and met with business, labor, and community leaders. If anyone has a yardstick by which to measure one county against another, I believe I qualify.
I grew up next door to Saline County. I lived there, taught school and coached, hunted, fished, and hiked there. I did business there, was a patient in both hospitals in Eldorado and Harrisburg, and represented the people for 15 years in the State Senate and Congress.
The recent USA Today article labeling Saline County as “the worst county in Illinois in which to live” is a total misrepresentation of the quality of life offered there. Saline County has good roads, including a four-lane highway running through it. It has relatively low unemployment considering the sizable loss of the coal industry. It has two excellent hospitals including a mental health facility. The county has quality schools with one of the finest community colleges in the state. It has good restaurants, good farmland, and some of the most scenic recreation areas in the state. It has the Forest Service Headquarters for the Shawnee National Forest. The county has a solid business community and an excellent labor force. The crime rate is relatively low compared to many other counties.
How can a county with these attributes be labeled so negatively by a set of metrics that doesn’t include any of these quality of life issues. It’s all tripe! Saline County is a good place to live!