Corn to Capitol: Bunting Serves Second Year as State Rep.
An unconventional pathway to Springfield did not falter Jason Bunting’s steadfast support for agriculture as a freshman member of Illinois’s General Assembly.
Former IL Corn Grower Association (ICGA) Director Jason Bunting helped pass two bills rooted in farming during his first year as the state representative for Illinois’s 106th district. This January, he introduced HB 4422, a bill allowing county governments to reinstate tougher regulations for wind and solar developments.
“I spent two decades coming down and sitting on the other side of the table advocating for agriculture issues and the rural lifestyle,” said Bunting. “I thought a person could just sit back and complain about what's happening in Springfield with the Capitol, or I can come down here and try and make a difference.”
Bunting was appointed to the General Assembly in early February 2022, following Senator Jason Barickman‘s resignation. Former Representative Thomas Bennett’s appointment to the Senate opened the seat Bunting filled in the House of Representatives.
A farmer and experienced public servant, Bunting’s route to office may have been atypical but his involvement in political affairs was not. Before his role as state representative, he served as the Highway Commissioner of Broughton Township, as a Livingston County Board member, and as the President of the Livingston County Farm Bureau.
Jason Bunting and his family from Emington, IL.
“I've always had aspirations to potentially come down to Springfield to represent the folks in my district, and I jumped at the chance,” Bunting said.
A strong voice for agriculture last year, Bunting sponsored HR0628, a resolution which named Farm Safety Week September 17-23, 2023. He joined forces with elected officials on both sides of the aisle to highlight the important role of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in a bill originally sponsored by Senator David Koehler.
“I jumped at the opportunity for the simple fact that I watched my mom and dad fight and advocate for soil water conservation districts for the last forty years,” Bunting said. “The legislation brings a public perception to the good work the Soil and Water Conservation Districts and our farmers do to preserve the soil and steward the land.”
Bunting meets with members of the Latino Caucus as an ICGA Director.
Spring session for Illinois’ General Assembly began on January 16, 2024, and is scheduled to adjourn May 24, 2024. Bunting said ethics reform, a review of the estate tax, and the role of local government will be key in upcoming months.
“There's a number of things that we need to work on,” Bunting said. “We need to actually reach across the aisle and find some common ground, and I think we can do it.”
“The addition of Jason to Illinois’s General Assembly is a breath of fresh air for rural America,” said farmer and ICGA President Dave Rylander. “Our connection to multiple former board members and many allies in the state legislature allows us to continue making leaps of progress for our farmer members.” As a representative, Bunting values hearing concerns directly from his constituents. A practice he said is well exemplified in numerous grassroots organizations. Bunting said it is important for associations to be politically active to accomplish legislative goals.
“In agriculture, we need a seat at the table,” Bunting said. “You know, the common analogy, if we don't have a seat at the table, we're on the plate. So, it's extremely important that our voices are heard.”
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Hear more from Bunting and what to expect in Springfield this year!