(Top) A Democratic political contingent led by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (at podium) toured the Thomson Correctional Center Saturday morning, then had lunch and a press conference at Buck's Barn. (L to R) U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley from Iowa, U.S. Congressman Phil Hare (17th Dist.), Illinois Representative Pat Verschoore (72 Dist.), Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lappin, Durbin, Thomson Village President Duke Hebeler, and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.
During the day trip to the Illinois-owned prison targeted for Guantanamo detainees, the group spoke of the jobs that would be created. They also dismissed the "political fear-mongering" related to the maximum-security risks of a federal prison.
The senators, flying on an Air Force jet, were back in Washington D.C. for the crucial healthcare vote Saturday night. The straight party-line, 60-39 vote cleared the way for a full-scale debate that will begin after Thanksgiving on the sensitive healthcare legislation.
(Bottom) Local residents lending their support for the federal buy-out of the Thomson prison included (rt.) retired IDOC employee and former Mayor of Savanna Bill Lease. Director Lappin said the Thomson facility is at the "top of the list," due to the facility being a state-of-the-art maximum security facility, "because it has everything we are looking for."
To date, local support in the form of resolutions have been approved by the Carroll County Board, Carroll County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and the Carroll County Republican Central Committee in a close vote.