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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Naperville’s Pulse in Springfield – Reflections of a public servant


This marks the final column I will write as your State Representative. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your voice in Springfield for the last six years.

As I prepare for the next chapter of my life, I have spent a great deal of time lately looking back at accomplishments, challenges, and the many friendships I have made during my time as a public servant.

My tenure in Springfield and the years spent on the Naperville City Council and Planning Commission before that have truly been a wonderful experience. As I represented the people of Naperville and Warrenville, I realize it was not possible to make everyone happy all of the time. But please know that every decision I made was thoroughly researched and examined through a lens of what would be best for the majority of my constituents. I stand by my voting record proudly, and have no regrets.

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It has also been an honor and privilege to have served for the last two years as Assistant Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. In this role, I was part of a 10-member team that set the House Republicans’ policy agenda and also our response to legislation from the other side of the aisle we viewed as damaging for our State and for those who live here. As a cohesive team, we worked hard to promote beneficial, fiscally responsible and economy-boosting legislation, and to stop reckless spending initiatives that were brought forward by representatives who believe the answer to every problem is to simply tax more.

I have been asked countless times over the last few months which pieces of legislation I would consider as my “crowning achievements.” While I am proud of every one of my bills that was signed into law, I must admit that my favorites are those that were the most difficult to pass, like bills that end “double dipping” of pensions for two different groups of state employees. Those bills received broad bipartisan support and addressed a loophole that allowed some employees to take advantage of our pension systems. I also look fondly at laws I passed that address specific local issues that were brought to my attention by local constituents.

Approval of my bills always required a willingness to reach across the aisle, so I spent a great deal of time cultivating relationships with both Republicans and Democrats. While it may not have always looked that way during fierce policy debates, those friendships served me very well as a lawmaker and will extend beyond my retirement from the General Assembly on January 13.

I walk away from the Statehouse knowing I did my very best to make Illinois a better place to live, work and play, and look forward with excitement to what the future holds for my family and me.

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Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli is a lifelong Naperville Resident and former Representative in the Illinois House of Representatives and Naperville City Councilman.


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