Winners have been announced for the 5th Annual 69th District Photo Challenge Contest sponsored by State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford. The contest is offered each year to give Stateline area residents an opportunity to share their interest in photography with the public. Photo submissions can be of nature, architecture, or daily life in Illinois’ 69th District, which includes portions of Boone and Winnebago Counties. 

Winners have their photos displayed in Springfield for one year at Representative Sosnowski’s office in the Capitol Complex. This year’s winners are:

Sharon Thomas
Photo of Belvidere Park, Belvidere, IL

Elizabeth Carville

Photo of Espenscheid Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL
Rasha Abdullah
Photo of Belvidere Park, Belvidere, IL 
“Our annual photo challenge is a way to celebrate life and nature around the Stateline and recognize the talents of local residents who have a passion for photography,” Representative Sosnowski said. “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners and thank everyone who submitted their outstanding photos.”

For questions or more information, please contact Representative Sosnowski’s District Office at (815) 547-3436.
Today I had the opportunity to stop by and talk with Rockford Christian third graders on how government works in Illinois. Had some great questions and enjoyed speaking with all the students!



By Joe Sosnowski
State Representative, 69th District

Illinois is facing a mammoth pension crisis. The credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service released a report showing that Illinois’ unfunded pension liability has reached a staggering $250 billion. Put in perspective, that’s $19,531.25 in debt for every man, woman, and child in Illinois. This crisis threatens the retirement security of workers who have played by the rules and paid in their fair share over the years; and it threatens every Illinois taxpayer who is on the hook for somehow, some way, bailing the state out of a disaster decades in the making. Previous Governors, Democrat and Republican share in the blame for how we got here. However, finger-pointing doesn’t solve the problem or help us achieve a solution. 

Illinois can find a solution by looking at Arizona. Last month, Arizona voters approved a referendum to amend the state’s constitution in a way that will allow for needed reform to two of their major pension systems, following on the heels of a similar proposition they approved two years ago impacting just one pension system.  The voter-approved Arizona referendum is primarily aimed at reasonable reductions in annual cost-of-living increases (COLA). Instead of an automatic 4% annual increase, Arizona has adjusted the COLA to stay in line with the economy by tying it to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is a common-sense reform that Illinois would benefit from. Pairing this reform with a cap on maximum pension payouts (one proposal would cap pension benefits at $106K per year) would provide substantial savings to Illinois taxpayers on an annual basis while still ensuring a secure retirement for pensioners.