As we head into the holiday season, I wanted to provide you with an update on news from both Springfield and back home on the issues we are facing and work we’ve done on behalf of the 20th District. Needless to say, the good news from Springfield is in short supply as the budget impasse continues to take its toll on service providers and local governments.
We as House members have remained in session since May, travelling to Springfield each week and month in hopes a budget breakthrough happens. I’ve done my best to work across the aisle on solutions to these issues, and remain committed to working with all sides on bringing about a compromise. As we saw last week, this is possible if we work together.
The House will reconvene on December 2nd. If prior to then you have any comments, questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact my office. And now we’ll get to some state and local updates.
Progress Made Last Week in Springfield
While the budget as a whole remains trapped in negotiations between legislative leaders and the Governor, small progress was made towards restoring funding for the State’s childcare and community/home healthcare programs through compromises that were struck with rank and file legislators.
Advocates and legislators including myself called for compromise to protect these programs in lieu of several pieces of legislation aimed at insulating these programs from any administrative action. I had initially supported legislation protecting home/community healthcare standards and was inclined to support a complete restoration of childcare funding for working families.
In the end the administration reached a compromise and agreed to reverse the many of these changes in exchange for not advancing the legislation, satisfying advocates across Illinois. I was pleased at the outcome of these negotiations and am hopeful this is the start of further negotiations that lead to a compromise on the budget.
O’Hare Noise Update
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission’s Fly Quiet Ad Hoc Committee met on Monday and heard two different proposals regarding nighttime flight paths. Under the city’s proposal, residents both east and west of O’Hare would see relief by limiting the airport to a pair of parallel runways. Members of the Fair Allocation in Runways coalition, or FAIR, argued that diagonal runways that send traffic north and south of O’Hare and are due for demolition should be used as the predominant nighttime runways. This proposal would also provide relief to residents east and west of O’hare.
The Suburban O’Hare Commission’s O’Hare Impact Legislative Committee I am on will be holding a conference call in December to discuss the progress of this year’s legislative proposals and how we can move forward on O’hare noise issues in Springfield.
Our Women’s Legislative Advisory Group
I recently had the pleasure of bringing together the fall meeting of my women’s advisory group. Several times a year, the group gathers for a conversation about the issues important to our area and discusses legislative ideas that could potentially be drafted. The meeting began with a budget update before beginning the group discussion. Also discussed was my legislation aimed at expanding health coverage to 3D mammograms, an issue discussed by the group in the past.
If you or anyone else would like to engage in this or any of my other advisory committees, please contact my office for information and/or upcoming meeting times. If you can’t make a meeting, but still have ideas for legislation or other initiatives that could benefit our area and residents, feel free to reach out at any time!
Local Charity Recognized
AT&T presented a check for $75,000 to "Avenues to Independence" last week. I am proud that my recommendation at the request of AT&T played a small part in this tremendous charity’s success in being awarded this donation.
“Avenues” is a non-profit organization that provides homes, jobs and community living programs to Chicago area adults with physical, intellectual, and other developmental disabilities. The check was presented with AT&T Pioneers, a group of current and retired telecom workers that volunteer to help in our communities. The contribution will support their computer and workforce training for up to 170 people with developmental disabilities working towards gaining employment.
As we approach the kickoff of the 2015 holiday season, I would like to encourage you to take time to give thanks by supporting the many food pantries, churches, non-profits and other organizations preparing meals for those who are hungry throughout our communities.
After Thanksgiving, many local pantries will need to be replenished. With this in mind, I will be assisting two local food drives during the holiday season. From Sunday, November 29th- Saturday, December 5th you can donate at Ada’s located at 6165 N Northwest Hwy. Also from Sunday, December 6th- Saturday December 12th you can donate at Happy Foods located at 6783 Northwest Highway.
For almost 20 years now the Turkey Trot has been in Edison Park on Thanksgiving morning. This 5K benefits Imerman Angels, a charity that provides one-on-one support to cancer patients by pairing them with cancer survivors who understand their needs. The idea being that no one should ever have to face cancer alone. I have been proud to sponsor this event every year, and you can sign up to participate here.
In closing, if you have any questions or comments about any of the items discussed in this newsletter, or would like to discuss any other issues facing our area, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or contact my office at (773) 444-0611.
Thank you for the honor of serving you as State Representative.