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CHAMPAIGN – With less than a month before the U.S. Census Bureau wraps up its counting efforts, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging Champaign County residents to fill out the census if they have not done so, or risk costing their communities vital federal funding over the next 10 years.

“The goal is to get an accurate count of how many people live in a community so we don’t miss out on funding for critical public services,” Bennett said. “Whether it’s on paper, online or on the phone, please fill out the 2020 Census as soon as possible to ensure Champaign County gets its fair share.”

Across Champaign County, participation in the 2020 Census is lower than in the 2010 Census. Only 63% of Champaign residents have completed their census forms this year, as opposed to 70.7% of residents in 2010. In Urbana, just 65.2% of residents have been counted—a decade ago, 67.9% of residents responded. Rantoul is also below target level, with only 62.4% of residents having completed their census forms, versus 68.7% of residents in 2010.

Residents can complete the census for their household at Higher self-response rates mean fewer individuals are likely to receive visits from census surveyors to be counted in person. This year, census surveyors are putting their and their families’ health at risk of COVID-19, and limiting visits may mean saving lives.

“Health care, schools, and roads and bridges are all impacted by the 2020 Census,” Bennett said. “I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to participate.”

To see response rates across Illinois and the nation, visit


State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) meets with Chris Knight, owner of The Blind Pig, in Champaign on Aug. 26, 2020.

CHAMPAIGN - As part of a district-wide tour of local businesses, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) visited The Blind Pig in Champaign on Wednesday to tour the brewery and address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the business.

“Small businesses are feeling the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Champaign staples like The Blind Pig are no exception,” Bennett said. “It’s clear that the staff at The Blind Pig are taking the restrictions seriously and making efforts to safeguard our community. If we want to help our local businesses during this difficult time, they need our patronage.”

During the tour, Bennett met with owner Chris Knight and heard about the brewery’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knight is leaning on the community for support and encourages patrons to purchase gift cards and continue to drink “the beer of Champaign.” The Blind Pig is now open every day of the week and is working hard to safely serve customers under new guidelines.

“I appreciated hearing firsthand from a long-standing member of the Champaign business community so we can navigate this crisis together,” Bennett said. “We owe it to them to show our support and get them the help they need to keep their doors open.”

Bennett hopes to visit more local restaurants, retail shops and businesses that provide personal services, like spas and salons, in the coming weeks.

Interested businesses can schedule a tour by visiting All tours will be in compliance with the state’s public health guidelines and restrictions, including wearing a mask and social distancing.

84CA64B5 39BD 498B BAE7 5859CFFEEB67CHAMPAIGN – Building on the state’s commitment to support science and technology, the University of Illinois has been selected to receive federal funding for two research institutes focused on artificial intelligence, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Wednesday.

“Researchers at the University of Illinois are addressing some of the most complex and exciting challenges of our time,” Bennett said. “I’m proud to see their work recognized, and I have no doubt that these institutions will drive discovery and innovation for decades to come.”

With these investments, the National Science Foundation will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. In addition, the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability will advance AI research in computer vision, machine learning, soft-object manipulation and intuitive human-robot interaction to solve major agricultural challenges.

The funding comes from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Each of the new institutes will receive about $20 million over five years.



 CHAMPAIGN – To help save homeowners money on their utility bills, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is hosting a free virtual clinic with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. 

“This clinic will give people the opportunity to learn how to reduce their utility bills,” Bennett said.  “With so many people struggling, I’m glad to be able to connect them with available resources to help them save their hard-earned money.”

Starting Aug. 25 at 9 a.m., residents will be able to register for a virtual one-on-one consultation with a CUB professional to discuss lowering their electric, water, gas, phone, cable and internet bills. After registrants have selected a time slot, they will receive details for a private video call with a CUB representative.

During the clinic, the representative will evaluate participants’ bills to determine if they are signed up with an alternative supplier or paying for unnecessary products or services. CUB will also let participants know if they are eligible for money-saving programs, like financial assistance, and share information about energy efficiency programs.

Senator Bennett encourages residents to take advantage of this free clinic to keep their utility usage and costs in check.

For more information on the program, visit or contact Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.


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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