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Southern Illinois state lawmakers react to events on Capitol Hill

  • State Rep. Dave Severin

    State Rep. Dave Severin

  • State Sen. Terri Bryant

    State Sen. Terri Bryant

  • State Rep. Patrick Windhorst

    State Rep. Patrick Windhorst

  • State Sen. Dale Fowler

    State Sen. Dale Fowler

  • State Rep. Paul Jacobs

    State Rep. Paul Jacobs

By Holly Kee
updated: 1/29/2021 1:23 PM

Southern Illinois legislators were quick to chime in over the past two days in the wake of what President-Elect Joe Biden called an "insurrection" in the nation's capitol.

Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), was in the House chambers on Wednesday when protesters stormed the Capitol. He took to Facebook shortly after he and other members of Congress were evacuated to let his constituents know he was safe.

"I wanted to let everyone back home know that I am safe. Americans cherish our right to free speech and peaceful protest. But what's happening in our nation's capital is not just unacceptable, it's un-American. Please pray for peace and the safety of our brave law enforcement officers and first responders."

On Thursday morning, Bost again took to social media to explain why he voted to not certify the electoral college results in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

"As a United States representative, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, no matter how difficult or divisive the issue at hand. And when it comes to certifying a state's electoral votes, the Constitution is clear: state legislatures set the rules for states in conducting their elections. However, that simply was not the case in certain states in 2020.

"Two states in particular, Pennsylvania and Arizona, faced objections in the House and Senate to their electoral vote allocations, prompting floor votes in both chambers. I voted to object to the electoral votes of both states because, in my belief, they failed to meet that constitutional standard. The deeply troubling scenes at the U.S. Capitol yesterday indicate the intense distrust that many Americans have toward the election process. If we have any hope of restoring that faith and healing the deep divisions in our country, our efforts must be rooted in constitutional principles and fair elections."

Phone calls to Bost's Washington, D.C. office were not returned by press time.

Local Illinois legislators also chimed in on the events of Wednesday.

"I am utterly disgusted by what occurred at our nation's Capitol building today," wrote state Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). "The violent actions perpetrated by these protesters were inexcusable and dangerous. Sadly, this underscores the reality that we have become a country deeply divided and polarized. Our right to freedom of speech is a fundamental principal that should be protected, but what happened today was not about protecting our Constitutional freedoms. Today was about extremists who took it upon themselves to incite violence and their actions are indefensible. As we reflect on today's baseless actions, my thoughts and prayers go out to those placed in harm's way."

State Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
"The events that took place in our nation's Capitol today greatly disturbed me. I have consistently supported anyone's right to protest in a peaceful way. Violence is never a proper response to political disagreement. To see our Capitol desecrated today by violent protesters saddens me greatly. I condemn violence in the strongest terms, and I pray for brighter days and a more united America going forward."

Republican state Rep. Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis also put his statement on social media.
"The violence on display at the United States Capitol during the constitutional proceedings of the United States House and Senate was shocking and disgusting. To place elected officials, staff, law enforcement, and now the National Guard in harm's way is inexcusable. I strongly condemn these attacks on our government.
"I believe in protecting the integrity of our institutions, and I believe the best way to do that is to peacefully protest, organize, and win in the arena of ideas. Americans have followed this practice and our nation has been preserved for more than two centuries, despite facing enormous challenges. We will persevere through our present challenges as a nation where the rule of law is followed and where we work out our differences not as enemies, but friends."

State Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) followed her fellow legislators.
"Many of you know I have no problem standing for the things in which I hold sacred and dear. I will continue to do so now and in the future. I know many southern Illinoisans were at the Capital today to show their support for Our President and our country. They like I, love this country and the rule of law. The events that transpired at the United States Capitol today will be a major test for our country going forward. Will we be a peaceful people, that work through our differences in thoughtful, peaceful ways? Or will we bend to the will of the mob on either side of the political spectrum? I believe peaceful protest and thoughtful debate and prayer are the only way to effect real, positive change in our society. Violence is not the answer. Placing our elected representatives, their staff, Capitol police, and now the National Guard in danger is an assault on our democracy that cannot stand. I condemn the violence perpetrated by protesters at the Capitol in the strongest possible terms."

Rep. Paul Jacobs (R-Pamona) posted this statement on his Facebook page.
"Watching the events unfold today at the United States Capitol saddened me greatly. I do not condone the actions of violent protesters storming our Capitol, placing elected officials, their staffs, Capitol police and first responders, and now the National Guard in danger. Cooler heads must prevail. We must understand who these violent actors are and bring them to justice. Conservatives are Constitutionalists. We believe in the right to peaceful protest. Conservatives do not storm buildings or riot and cause damage and mayhem. Please pray for our country and our leaders and legislators."