In 2002 Jody and I moved to his family’s farm in Ottawa to start Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, the first livestock Community Supported Agricultural venture in Illinois. I have learned so much in the sixteen years that we have run the farm, everything from website development to logistics management, chicken pen construction to database design. I've taught and mentored new farmers with an emphasis on encouraging more women to farm. I have spoken at and been a delegate to international and national farming and food conferences. I have participated in the grant-making process, helping the USDA to support beginning farmers, and served on the board of Slow Food Chicago, a nonprofit that works for "Good, Clean, and Fair Food for All". I am the co-director of our community's food pantry which is helping our community close the hunger gap.
Over the course of my diverse career, the most important thing that I have learned is the sentence that has become our family motto "There is always a solution." Solutions aren't easy. They are seldom perfect. Sometimes they are just a starting point. But they exist.
And that, ultimately, is why I'm running for Congress. Not because I think I have all the solutions, but because I passionately believe that they exist. When good people come together to do what is best for everyone, not just a narrow group of special interests, solutions can be found whether it is to provide better healthcare for everyone, better markets for our farmers, or security for DREAMERS. Finding solutions - that is what we do as Americans. And that is why I want to represent the people who live and work in the 16th Congressional District.
I'm Beth Vercolio-Osmund.
My roots run deep in the heart of the Illinois Valley. I grew up In Ottawa IL. My grandfather was a coal miner in Benld IL. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb with a degree in Special Ed. My first teaching job was in Sheridan, Illinois.
My Mom and Dad still live in the same house, not too far from the farm where Jody, my husband, and I and our three sons now live.
My Dad was a member of the Elevator Constructors Union Local #55 and worked for both the Otis and Montgomery Elevator Companies. But whatever company he worked for he had a fair wage, good medical benefits and a stable retirement plan. To this day when I get on an elevator I look down to see if it is an Otis or Montgomery.
I have worked as an Educational Consultant with a software company training teachers. I have been a professional skills trainer at Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm, teaching their accountants how to work more effectively with their clients.