Daily Egyptian

Sheila Simon, Sen. Dick Durbin talk budget impasse, early voting at SIU

U.S.+Sen.+Dick+Durbin%2C+left%2C+and+State+Senate+candidate+Shelia+Simon+laugh+during+a+Simon+campaign+stop+at+Morris+Library+in+Carbondale.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, left, and State Senate candidate Shelia Simon laugh during a Simon campaign stop at Morris Library in Carbondale. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, left, and State Senate candidate Shelia Simon laugh during a Simon campaign stop at Morris Library in Carbondale. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, left, and State Senate candidate Shelia Simon laugh during a Simon campaign stop at Morris Library in Carbondale. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Daily Egyptian staff

Democratic candidate for State Senate Sheila Simon was joined Tuesday afternoon by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and a group of her supporters for a campaign stop at the university.

Passersby collected around Morris Library as more than a dozen Simon supporters rallied on the front steps to encourage SIU students to vote. Simon and Durbin spoke briefly about issues concerning the state of the public higher education system in Illinois, condemning Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner for the loss of funding at the state’s nine public universities.

Simon said the state has done a “horrible job” supporting higher education and she wants to be a part of “sending a message to Springfield” if elected.

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Shelia Simon, who is running for the 58th Illinois State Senate seat, speaks during a campaign stop at Morris Library in Carbondale. Simon was joined by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in encouraging students to take advantage of early voting opportunities. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Shelia Simon, who is running for the 58th Illinois State Senate seat, speaks during a campaign stop at Morris Library in Carbondale. Simon was joined by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in encouraging students to take advantage of early voting opportunities. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Durbin agreed, and said the Rauner administration has allowed cutbacks in social service programs to persist without passing a state budget.

“The first casualty you find is universities and university communities,” Durbin said.

Travis Washington, a senior studying Africana studies and speech communication, also spoke in front of the group, asking fellow students to exercise their right to vote.

“All I can say is, please vote,” he said. “A lot of people went through a lot to make sure we vote.”

The Daily Egyptian’s news desk can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3397.

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