WATSEKA – State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs during a ceremony at the Iroquois County Fair.
“I am greatly honored by this recognition,” Bennett said. “There are over 90 county fairs across our great state and they are such a vital part of our communities. They are a chance to showcase the importance of agriculture and are a source of fun and entertainment for the entire family.”
The award came after Bennett helped spearhead an effort this spring to release millions in state funding for needed renovations at county fairgrounds, as well as funds for soil and water conservation groups and the University of Illinois extension. Each county fairground in the state will receive more than $54,000 for operations and facility rehabilitations.
“These funds stand to benefit local students in 4-H and FFA, as well as all those who visit a county fair and the businesses which depend on them,” Bennett said.
A study from the University of Illinois Extension earlier this year found that county fairs bring in tens of millions of dollars annually to the state’s economy and support 1000 non-fair jobs.