To the Editor:
Wow! Newly re-elected 14th District Rep. Lauren Underwood was apparently MIA when $900,000 in federal grant money became available for restaurants in McHenry County affected by COVID-19.
Shame on her! Page 7 of the Nov. 13 Northwest Herald clearly shows a mess that ultimately should be put at Underwood's feet. Why? Because her job is to bring home the bacon. Part and parcel of that are to be astutely aware when any federal grant money becomes available for her constituents.
In this case, $965,000 in free funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. What should have happened is that she should have alerted Jack Franks that this huge pool of money would become available Jan. 1. Jack's heart for the county would have triggered an immediate application for the $900,000. Didn't happen, because Underwood didn't know (too busy campaigning?). So Jack didn't know either.
By the time County Board Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala found out about the $965,000, the funds had been mostly intercepted by Woodstock ($300,000) and Crystal Lake ($600,000), leaving only $65,000 left for the rest of the entire county's roster of small business restaurant owners.
Shame on Underwood's gigantic dropping of the ball! Shame on the city of Woodstock and the city of Crystal Lake for hoarding this badly needed pool of free money. Cheers to Mike Skala and his original fair-minded and good-hearted plan to have used these funds more evenly across the whole of the county. That plan was torpedoed by an unprepared/unaware Congresswoman Underwood's Office.
Chalk it up to a freshman congresswoman mistake? We'll see. Oh, Lauren, by the way, congratulations on your re-election. Do a better job as a sophomore!