EAST ALTON — The Southwestern Illinois Employers Association hosted an intimate gathering for association members and Illinois elected officials, including Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sept. 15 at the Olin Center for Excellence.
Additional guests included U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) and Michael Bost (R-Illinois); state Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) and state Reps. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) and Avery Bourne (R-Litchfield).
Given the current climate in the Illinois legislature, SIEA believes it is critical for business leaders to be informed of legislation under review in Springfield and Washington, D.C. The forum served as an opportunity for them to hear directly from elected officials on the vital issues and challenges facing the state and the nation.
Opening the meeting, Rauner assured business owners that “your success is our success” while noting that “the southwest region should be much stronger economically, based on its location and infrastructure.” Rauner says his efforts to reform the state would promote a healthy business climate and strengthen the economy throughout the state, particularly in the southwestern region.
SIEA is a nonprofit association of employers throughout southwestern Illinois. Its membership includes diverse businesses and nonprofit agencies throughout the region. SIEA actively promotes the collective interests of employers in the local, state and federal political arenas and serves as a government relations consultant to its member organizations. According to Executive
Director Mike Walters, many employers don’t have the expertise or staffing resources to promote their interests in Springfield and in Washington, D.C.
“SIEA has served the business community as a proven, cost-effective resource for government relations for more than 30 years,” Walters said.
The forum’s intimate setting allowed association members the opportunity to be updated on matters of Illinois government. Elected officials fielded questions and took note of concerns that members expressed about their businesses, and for the region as a whole. More than 20 local businesses participated in the forum.
The event showcased the benefits of membership in the association. Member Dwight Werts, owner and president of Werts Welding & Tank Service, thanked SIEA for hosting.
“The direct contact we had with elected officials is critical for my company,” Werts said. “Hearing first-hand how elected leaders are supporting legislative change which would allow Illinois businesses to compete with out-of-state companies is encouraging. I hope this event becomes an annual SIEA tradition.”
The association is frequently called upon by Springfield legislators for its expertise in business and economic issues. According to senator
“SIEA keeps legislators updated and provides us with ample opportunities to directly engage with employers in the southwestern region,” Luechtefeld said. “The mutual respect and trust we share is invaluable. When I hear from Mike Walters, I am always confident that he is faithfully representing member organizations — their concerns, their needs, and their desire to be productive and successful businesses for the state of Illinois.”
Upcoming events sponsored by the association include the annual dinner meeting Nov. 5 and Executive Board meeting Dec. 1.
“SIEA is eager to welcome and serve any business or organization that provides employment opportunities in the Southwestern region,” SIEA Board President John Keller said.
Information about the benefits of membership and an opportunity to meet and mingle with current members will be available at the Nov. 5 dinner meeting. For information, contact Executive Director Mike Walters at (618) 254-0676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.