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Sen. Durbin takes a moment for Meta in DeKalb

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Jenna Dooley
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DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes is joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin during a tour of the Meta Data Center on July 7, 2022

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday toured the Meta Data Center in DeKalb. Meta is the parent company of Facebook. His visit comes on the heels of several high-profile Illinois companies announcing that they are leaving the state.

Caterpillar recently announced it is moving its headquarters from Peoria to Irving, Texas.

Meanwhile, Illinois’ richest man, Ken Griffin, announced he is moving his hedge fund to Miami, Florida.

Speaking in front of the current construction site, Durbin says this project shows there is interest in investing in Illinois.

”At a time when some people are questioning the future of Illinois, I say, ‘Come to DeKalb and see what’s happening here,'" Durbin said. "Major companies are making a decision, Meta in this case, that really endorse who we are."

A spokesperson says the data center will go online next year, but construction will continue for a few more years.

The total investment for the project is around a billion dollars.

Durbin on calls for Griner release

Speaking to reporters during his visit in DeKalb, Durbin says President Biden has tough decisions to make related to calls for the release of Brittney Griner. The women’s basketball star pled guilty Thursday to drug charges while being detained in Russia.

Durbin says each President must weigh national security when considering any potential prisoner swaps.

“I am not going to presume what President Biden is going to do," Durbin said. "I hope Ms. Griner can come home soon, but the president has to make that hard decision.”

Griner was arrested in February after authorities allegedly found cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.

If convicted, the Olympic medalist faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

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Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.