- Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 09:09 AM
As many of you remember, last summer was the first time in nearly three decades that the Combined Veterans Association of Illinois did not run the beer tent at the Du Quoin State Fair. The CVA lost its vendor title because of changes made to the State Procurement Code. The procurement code requires the Illinois Department of Agriculture to obtain at least three quotes from vendors, and reward the contract to whatever group gives the state the most money. The CVA provided a bid last summer, but didn’t get it.
The beer concessions were the CVA’s biggest fundraiser, and the lack of funds hurt several veterans’ organizations in Southern Illinois. The concessions from the beer tent sales were used to help run its organizations and make contributions to charitable causes such as college scholarships for children of armed service members, The Women’s Center in Carbondale and the Anna Veterans Home.
As a major promoter of health care and programs for veterans, I decided to sponsor legislation that would help the CVA get its contract back. So last week, I introduced Senate Bill 1561. The bill is aimed at protecting service organizations, like the CVA, from being out bid and losing their fair contracts. The bill would exempt State Fair contracts between non-profit service organizations and the Illinois Department of Agriculture from the Illinois Procurement Code. This would allow the vets to continue their contract with the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture without requiring the department to receive bids from at least three vendors.
There are times when providing a valuable, charitable service to our communities trumps the need to make a profit. I believe this is one of the situations. We need to ensure that the CVA and its associated organizations have the necessary funds to continue their great charitable work in Southern Illinois. I urge you to reach out to other local legislators and encourage them to stand with Southern Illinois veterans by supporting this bill