Five area government officials are among 40 people named to take part in a new initiative promoting bipartisan leadership in Illinois.
Former Gov. Jim Edgar said the leaders will be part of his new Edgar Fellows initiative at the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.
Participants will take part in a four-day program led by Edgar focusing on working across party lines and regional lines to encourage cooperation, leadership skills and understanding in an effort to find solutions to solve Illinois' problems.
The 40 participants were selected from 200 nominees; including business leaders, city council members, mayors and legislators.
Area residents among the 40 participants include:
— State Rep. Jason Barickman of Champaign.
— Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer.
— State Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign.
— State Rep. Chad Hays of Catlin.
— State Rep. Chapin Rose of Mahomet.
Rose said legislative leaders who find themselves on different sides of issues due to ideology and geography can pursue common solutions to address the financial problems faced by the state of Illinois.
"No matter your background, the common ground here is in solving the state's budget crisis," Rose said.
"It is an honor to be selected to participate in this unique opportunity that will bring together some of the most talented and dedicated officials in Illinois," Barickman said in a written release. "I look forward to collaborating with all those involved to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing our great state."