The Honorable Richard Durbin visited Argonne National Laboratory on Monday, Feb. 28. Photo: Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

During the last week we have had two important visits by our legislators. Last week the Honorable Randy Hultgren visited the laboratory and spent an hour with senior managers hearing about our contributions to science and our plans for the future. We appreciated his visit very much in this season of great uncertainty. Representative Hultgren explained his support and enthusiasm for the work we do here at Fermilab. He also explained the difficult fiscal situation for the nation and the fact that cuts will have to be made in many programs. He was eloquent in expressing his commitment to our long term success and he plans to visit again later this month. He has expressed this support for Fermilab in other venues as well.

Yesterday I had the privilege to participate in the Honorable Richard Durbin’s visit to Argonne National Laboratory. Eric Isaacs, director of ANL, Bob Zimmer, the president of the University of Chicago and senior managers from Argonne, Fermilab and the DOE Chicago Operations and Argonne site office hosted Senator Durbin. We were able to explain the broad range of science carried out by our two laboratories. Senator Durbin explained his support for science, for technological innovation and the roles that the two laboratories play in Illinois and the nation. He explained his position that a much broader approach to getting our fiscal house in order is necessary, where all aspects of government expenditures have to be on the table and the transition towards a more balanced budget must be done without causing irreparable damage.

About a month ago I visited the Honorable Mark Kirk in Washington, DC. He expressed his support for the science we do at Fermilab. Senator Kirk is quite familiar with Fermilab and a very enthusiastic supporter. I always remember running into him in Wilson Hall one Saturday some time ago, when he had brought a bus full of students from his district to learn about Fermilab!

We are very fortunate that our two Senators and our representative, as well as the representatives of other districts in Illinois, understand the importance of a healthy Fermilab and healthy ANL for the good of Illinois and the nation. They are committed to our success and we must continue to give them good reasons for that support.