State Senator Dave Koehler is donating his food and lodging reimbursement for today’s special session of the General Assembly to the Community Foundation Wholesome Food Fund, which helps low-income families purchase healthy food at the Peoria Farmers Market.

“I’m disappointed that the governor chose to put taxpayers on the hook for thousands of dollars of travel reimbursements for today’s session of the General Assembly when he could have easily gone with a lower-cost alternative,” said Koehler. 

Koehler has a long history of refusing to take extra compensation at a time when the state is struggling to pay its bills.  He has voted to cut his own pay by nearly five percent for the past three years, and donated his food and lodging compensation to charity when former Governor Blagojevich called special sessions.

“This special session is ultimately about the state budget,” Koehler said.  “Legislators need to lead by example and show that we are willing to make the same sacrifices that so many families across Illinois have already made to cope with the tough economy.  That’s why I’m donating today’s per diem to charity, and I have voted to cut my own salary three years in a row.”

Koehler is donating $111—the amount of his food and lodging reimbursement for today’s special session—to the Community Foundation Wholesome Food Fund.  The fund was established to continue a program that allows low-income families to purchase twice as much food at the Peoria RiverFront Market.  The fund provides families who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) a matching dollar for each dollar they spend at the market, so if a family spends $25 of their own money, they can also spend $25 from the fund.

“I was a strong advocate of allowing families to use their LINK cards at farmers’ markets, where they get healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for a reasonable price,” Koehler said.  “That’s why I’m supporting the Wholesome Food Fund.”