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Duckworth tours Cahokia Mounds, lock and dam, in Southwestern Illinois swing

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, on Thursday toured the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville and the Melvin Price Locks and Dam in Alton as part of a regional swing that concludes Friday with a Madison County vaccine clinic visit.

On Thursday, she met with the Mounds’ site superintendent, Lori Belknap (photo shown), to learn more about the history of the site and discuss designating Cahokia Mounds as a National Historic Park.

Duckworth recently helped introduce legislation to designate the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site as a National Historic Park to help preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources associated with the life of the Mississippian Culture, which is central to the heritage of many Native American nations and tribes.

“The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is of extraordinary cultural and historical importance to our state and to this country,” Duckworth said. “Making our national parks better reflect our nation’s people and history—and making these lands accessible to all—is long overdue. I’m glad I was able to tour the site today and learn more about its history, and I’ll continue working to make sure we properly recognize this site at the federal level.”

Duckworth is a co-sponsor with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) of the Cahokia Mounds Mississippian Culture National Historical Park Act, which would designate the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site as a National Historic Park. This would elevate the site beyond its current designation as a National Historic Landmark and offer additional protections for the ancient mounds in St. Clair and Madison counties.

Duckworth has been a longtime supporter of making public lands and national parks devoted to better reflecting the history and people of our country. Earlier this year she re-introduced legislation to designate the sites of the 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, Illinois, as a national monument, as well as legislation to designate the church that held Chicagoan Emmett Till’s pivotal funeral in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood as a national historic site.

Duckworth, who serves as chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, visited the Melvin Price Locks and Dam to tour the facility and meet with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ceres Barge Line and the Waterways Council Inc. Duckworth and the officials discussed the importance of safe and efficient inland waterway infrastructure, as well as dredging needs along the inland waterways.

“Inland waterways are crucial to our country’s agriculture and our economy,” Duckworth said. “I was pleased to tour the Mel Price Lock and Dam and learn more about the hardworking men and women who make transporting our state’s agricultural products possible. I’m proud facilities like this have a home right here in Illinois and I’ll keep working to support infrastructure throughout our inland waterways and help grow our local economies while creating jobs for Illinoisans.”

As a member of the EPW Committee, Duckworth worked to secure provisions last Congress within the Water Resources and Development Act 2020 Reauthorization, including authorizing the construction of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project.

Today, Friday, Duckworth will tour a Madison County COVID-19 vaccination site and meet with officials from the Madison County Health Department, Illinois National Guard and the American Legion to receive an update on the county’s vaccination efforts.

Duckworth and the officials will also discuss how federal and local entities can support each other in ensuring underserved communities are equitably vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as how government officials can reassure communities of the safety of the vaccines.


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