Cathy Stuehmeier

Cathy Stuehmeier

“I’m preparing to retire now. I own newspapers. I’ve spent about 57 years in media. I started with the Centralia Sentinel, which was a daily local newspaper. I spent seven or eight years with the Sentinel and learned a lot from the past ownership.”

“I was one of the first females to walk into the world of broadcast, especially local and small-town market. I ended up staying at a radio station for 17 years.”

“I remember the days when I would go to conventions as a sales manager at the radio station and walk into a room of 100 men at a seminar. I was looked at like, ‘What are you doing here?’”

“I spent 17 years there and the last few I worked as the general manager of the local radio stations, and also helped revive troubled stations. Then I left radio and I decided to start my own newspaper, mainly because I felt that the news was so negative and did not mention the many good things happening locally.”

“We opened The Shopper’s Weekly 35 years ago, starting with a circulation of about 6,000. Now, between two papers, our circulation has more than tripled in the U.S. So now we’re the No. 1 paper in Southern Illinois. We also publish monthly magazines.”

“As far as state retirements go, I don’t have a problem paying something for pensions. I believe if the government promises a state worker a retirement, they should fulfill that promise. What I have a problem with is how expensive pensions have become and the debt it has created for Illinois.”

“The taxes we pay in Southern Illinois are also insane. Small businesses are the backbone of this country and our economy. But what’s happening is they’re being horribly crippled by property taxes, and state taxes in general.”

“On top of that, our property taxes are horrendous in my area. I’m way past retirement age but I still scratch my head wondering how people can afford to retire anywhere in Illinois. I can tell you in Southern Illinois, people are suffering. I feel like the higher taxes are driving people out of the state.”

“Just paying more each year for pensions is not realistic. We should be looking at how to restructure things so we’re not promising what we can’t pay for in the future… so we don’t lose the whole ballgame.”

“I don’t worry so much about me. I’m way past retirement age. What I worry about are my children and their children. If we keep doing what we are doing, the state won’t be able to pay the people who have worked 30 years in the government the pensions they were promised.”

“The state of Illinois has suffered greatly and not just in one sector. People are leaving in record numbers, and I think that taxes are driving them out. I know we’re considering buying something in Arkansas. If you want to know why, check their tax rate. The difference is night and day.”

“Southern Illinoisans are hardworking, honest, down-to-earth people who simply want to work and do their jobs. They deserve to collect the pensions they’ve been promised. If we want to stop the state from going bankrupt in the future, we need reform today.”

Cathy Stuehmeier
Owner, The Shopper’s Weekly
Mount Vernon, Illinois

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