Illinois legislators want to expand Lincoln heritage area

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Illinois’ congressional delegation want an expansion of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area that would include all the sites of his famed debates with Stephen Douglas. The office of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he, Sen. Dick Durbin and five representatives are introducing a bipartisan bill in the House and Senate to expand the heritage area. It currently covers 42 Illinois counties, and the expansion would add Livingston County and the cities of Freeport and Jonesboro. Kirk’s office says the expansion would also mean all of the sites of Lincoln’s legal career within the Eighth Judicial District of Illinois would be included in the heritage area. Lincoln and Douglas participated in a series of seven debates in 1858 as part of a U.S. Senate campaign. Lincoln lost the race.