Dem IL Congressional Candidate Pushing for Brookport Levee Repairs, Looks to Unseat Shimkus

Jun 17, 2014

Credit Lance Dennee

Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representative’s 15th District, Eric Thorsland told residents in Brookport he wants to see funds put into the village’s levee repairs.

Thorsland, a University of Illinois research engineer, said a small investment in infrastructure projects such as the levee and interstate bridges would employ residents of communities nationwide, stimulating the economy.

“It’s $300,000, which is probably the bill for coffee for a week in the House of Representatives. It’s not a lot of money and would make a world of difference to this community,” he said. “The only people who are going to be sad about it are the people who sell flood insurance.”

According to a report by the Associated Press in 2013, the 6 mile long Brookport earthen levee has inoperable pumps and deteriorating pipes.

The 70-year-old levee and floodwall protects about 1,000 residents in Brookport. In 2011, it held back the Ohio River when it crested at 57 feet.

Thorsland, from Mahomet near Champaign, is running against Republican incumbent John Shimkus, of Collinsville. He says his opponent passed a bill to fund levee repairs but did not attach money to the bill. Shimkus was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996.

The 15th district encompasses 33 counties running just north of Rantoul along the Indiana state line south to Brookport crossing the state from north of Mt. Vernon nearly to Edwardsville. Danville is the largest city in the District.