Those were the words of Decatur State Rep. Weber Borchers while presenting his bill to make the monarch butterfly the state insect in 1973.
He had been invited to a third grade elementary school class assembly in which students made the case for naming the monarch the state insect.
“There were 300 beady little eyes looking at me. What was I to do?”
So, he committed to introducing the bill to accomplish that.
The day of the vote, students came to State Representative offices with the tops of cottage cheese containers containing a colored monarch butterfly with a string attached.
To understand the totally unexpected nature of Borchers’ sponsorsing such a bill, one needs to know he was probably the most conservative member of the Illinois General Assembly.
A World War I Veteran, he was the University of Illinois first Chief Illiniwek.
His large home had suits of armor.
I remember the Middletown High School playt “Harvey” when I think of Weber…especially the parts where the Veteran charges up the stairs.
He had someone video a Woodstock-style music festival near Peoria and used private rooms to share the X-rated results.
But, he had a compassionate side.
He had his legislative assistant visit nursing homes.
She would find the manager and ask to inspect the home.
If she was told she had no right to do so, the woman would say, “Alright, I’ll have the Representative send a Public Health Department inspector.’
That was enough for her to gain access.
She had a ten-point check list, which I have been unable to find.
Two items, however, provide an idea of the common sense information sought:
- Can urine be smelled?
- Is there water within reach of the patients?
Now comes the Illinois Environmental Council with a post about the Secretary of State issuing a monarch license plate.