pexels kaique rocha 331990DANVILLE – With the holiday season fast approaching and the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is reminding residents to shop small and support local businesses whenever possible. 

“Small businesses play a vital role in our economy, and it’s important that we promote and support them this holiday season,” Bennett said. “I encourage folks to think about the difference they can make in our community by supporting businesses where our friends and neighbors work.”

As people begin their holiday shopping, Bennett is reminding residents that supporting small doesn’t just mean shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Residents can support small businesses through online sales, ordering carryout from a locally owned restaurant or buying a gift card for a friend.

Additionally, if money is tight due to the financial concerns relating to the pandemic, people can still support local businesses by following their social media, recommending them to friends and leaving positive reviews.

“For every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays in the community. Small businesses have always been there for us, and now it’s time to give back,” Bennett said. “We can give these folks a hand up this holiday season by shopping locally.”

Bennett would also like to remind struggling small businesses that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has launched the second round of the Business Interruption Grant program, which will distribute $220 million to small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic, including movie theaters, event venues, hotels and more. Learn more and apply here.

cafe 843293

CHAMPAIGN – To help the many small business owners facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Champaign and Vermilion County businesses will receive aid through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program. 

“The BIG program is essential to small businesses who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bennett said. “I’m pleased to see so many businesses take advantage of this grant opportunity, and I would like to see more apply while funding is still available.”

In the district Bennett represents, 32 businesses received a combined $1,655,000. Each business received between $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“These grants are a great step toward recovery, but our small business community needs much more of our support,” Bennett said. “I look forward to working with governor’s administration to find more resources for our hurting businesses. On an individual level, it’s important to shop local, especially during the holiday season, because that money goes right back into our economy.” 

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO website.

DUI 090420DANVILLE – With Halloween only days away, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging motorists and adults to take extra precautions this year to keep everyone safe.

“While Halloween celebrations may be different this year, it’s still important to plan for a sober ride home, especially while children are trick-or-treating in the dark,” Bennett said. “If your Halloween festivities are going to involve alcohol, plan ahead.”

Illinois motor vehicle crash death rates are higher this year than last year. As of Oct. 23, 864 Illinoisans have lost their lives in vehicle accidents so far in 2020, according to information from the Illinois Department of Transportation. In an effort to keep motorists and pedestrians safe, law enforcement has increased its efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.

“I want everyone in our community to have a fun Halloween night, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices,” Bennett said. “A few preventive measures can mean the difference between life and death this weekend.”

Bennett also wants to remind those celebrating to practice appropriate social distancing, keep gatherings to a minimum and never substitute a Halloween mask for a face covering intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. For more guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, visit

07152019CW0043aCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) visited the Eden Park Illumination factory in Champaign on Tuesday to announce a $15 million investment to construct two new manufacturing training academies at downstate community colleges.

Bennett was joined at the event by Gov. JB Pritzker and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Erin Guthrie.

“Manufacturing is an important pillar in many of our communities and infuses new dollars into our economy,” Bennett said. “This is a critical investment that will help rebuild our economy as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Funding for the new training academies will be distributed by DCEO. The agency is seeking proposals from community colleges to provide cutting-edge training programs that will equip students for an array of high-paying skilled manufacturing jobs that require specialized training.

These academies are a key part of the governor’s five-year economic growth plan, providing training to Illinoisans pursuing high-demand jobs, including machinery mechanics and computer numerically controlled machine operators and programmers.

Applications for the grants will be accepted from community college districts or coalitions of community college districts outside Cook County and the surrounding collar counties.

For more information, visit DCEO’s website.


COVID19 Resources

COVID19 Updates

Business Tour

Newsletter Sign-up
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507