State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) stood alongside local and state elected officials, community advocates, and area residents at a special ceremony this week in Pembroke Township to celebrate the community’s vision for the future and efforts to advance economic opportunity. A key portion of that celebration included a ribbon cutting, to note the progress of natural gas service to the community. This was years in the making and something that Rep. Haas was instrumental in making a reality: Haas backed the bill in the Illinois House to bring natural gas to Pembroke Township, an area in her legislative district that has been historically underserved—going without a safe or reliable energy source.

Local, state and federal lawmakers have worked together over the last few years with Nicor Gas, facilitating the natural gas service and the necessary financing for the project in Pembroke Township. Incredible progress has already been made, as construction for the natural gas infrastructure is underway.

Without access to natural gas, residents in Pembroke have been forced to heat their homes and cook with wood, propane gas or electricity, which has caused a significant financial burden for many. Haas sees the legislation to provide natural gas energy as a tipping point of economic growth that will lay the groundwork for significant development and economic opportunity for years to come.

“I am honored to celebrate this incredible and long-awaited milestone,” said Rep. Haas. “This is a monumental moment and one that took an incredible amount of work, coordination, and bipartisan support to accomplish. As a lifelong resident of this county and having grown up as a neighbor to this community—I’m aware of how long this area has been waiting for some of the basic things most of us take for granted every day: an affordable, reliable, and safe energy source. I’m proud that I was able to play a role in making this a reality.”

The initial legislation that Haas backed in the legislature, HB3404, passed in June 2021 after significant bipartisan support.