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From left to right, John Holton (Director of the Illinois Department on Aging), Sen. Collins and David Vinkler (AARP)

 

"Our seniors must be given the opportunity to age with dignity and grace."

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) received the Legislator of the Year Award from AARP at a luncheon held today during the Governor's Conference on Aging. AARP's Manager of Outreach and Advocacy, Nancy Nelson, cited Sen. Collins' leadership on such efforts as nursing home reform, homestead exemptions and assisting low-income seniors with utility bills.

"I accept this award with gratitude and humility and with an awareness of the work left to be done," Sen. Collins said. "I stand here with a community of caregivers and advocates dedicated to helping all senior citizens, regardless of race or region. Our seniors must be given the opportunity to age with dignity and grace."

Since entering the Senate in 2003, Sen. Collins has sponsored many pieces of legislation protecting senior citizens from fraud and exploitation, including in nursing homes. Although she helped secure passage of landmark nursing home reforms in 2010, she continues to work for further improvements in the quality of long-term care, especially for low-income and minority seniors. Sen. Collins was instrumental in making sure low-income seniors could continue receiving property tax relief, and she sponsored a 2003 law prohibiting utility companies from disconnecting service to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) customers — many of them seniors on fixed incomes — during the winter months. Sen. Collins was one of only a handful of senators to vote no on the "Smart Grid" utility rate hike legislation because of its cost impact on the elderly.

"At a time when budget cuts have shredded the safety net on which many senior citizens rely, it is more important than ever for public officials to speak up for our vulnerable and valuable elderly neighbors," said Sen. Collins, a vocal critic of reductions such as the elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx prescription assistance program. "We have a long way to go, but we owe our seniors our total engagement on these critical issues."

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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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