Springfield ─ Yesterday, I voted in favor of SB 2822, which requires the state to give $215.2 million to the pension fund for fiscal year 2017. The importance of this bill cannot be overstated. The future of over a quarter of a million students will be affected by the passage or failure of this bill. A learning environment fraught with uncertainty is detrimental to the prospects of the children and in turn the state.

Educators are the unsung heroes of society. My love of reading and writing was ignited by passion of educators in Chicago. They inspire innovation, mentor creativity and open doors of opportunity for children.  

The advancement of our state relies on the maintenance of our education system and teachers are an integral part of it. They assist in the cultivation of young minds and push students to reach their potential. After years of public service, they deserve a reliable pension.

The needs of Chicago public school teachers have not fallen on deaf ears, but the efforts of the Illinois Senate will be in vain if the House does not follow suit in supporting the fundamental needs of educators. Educators invest in our students and we should invest in our teachers as well. As senator of the 16th District, I support this bill.

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“This Veterans Day, we salute the courageous men and women who have bravely served our country. Every day, people risk their lives to protect the freedoms that we as Americans hold dear. This holiday, let us make a concerted effort to applaud and thank our Illinois veterans, as well as, our veterans nationwide. Their service and sacrifice have sustained us as a strong and free democracy.”    

 veterans day

Last November, two-thirds of Illinois' voters agreed that if you work full-time, you and your family should not live in poverty. We in the Senate heard the message loud and clear, and in December, we responded, passing the minimum wage increase I co-sponsored. Unfortunately, the House declined to vote on the measure last year, and it died. We have reintroduced the minimum wage increase in the new legislative session, and last Thursday, the Senate reaffirmed our commitment to giving relief to the working poor who have seen costs rise as their pay stagnates. Senate Bill 11 would raise the minimum wage from $8.25 now to $9 starting this July, $10 by 2017 and $11 by 2019. In contrast to the governor's call for a $10 minimum wage by 2022, our legislation will make a real, tangible impact on the lives of working families struggling to escape poverty.

The political realities are different today than they were in December 2014, and the rhetoric has been heated and divisive, but the needs of the working people of Illinois remain the same. During the debate on the Senate floor, I reminded my colleagues that the needs of the working poor and the wishes of the voters we represent ought to guide our consciences and our votes.

Minimum wage floor web

I am so grateful to the Simeon Alumni Association for declaring me an honorary member of its illustrious ranks. Over the summer, I worked closely with Simeon alumni, teachers, families and advocates to bring back the school's highly successful electrical program. Our young people deserve time-tested opportunities like this one.

Simeon honorary alumna web

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Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607


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