Working for Illinois Caucus

House Downstate Democrats work for the good people of Illinois

State Rep. Karina Villa opens district office in Batavia

BATAVIA- State Rep. Karina Villa (D- West Chicago) is inviting residents to learn more about the services her district office can provide in an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the office, 106 W. Wilson St. Suite 13, her office announced in a news release.

“It is important to me that my neighbors know I am readily accessible to them, that I’m here to help them cut through red tape and navigate state services,” Villa said in the release. “Even if it’s just to voice their concern about a bill or relay their thoughts about the direction our state is headed, I want everyone to feel welcome in the office.”

Villa’s office grand opening will give residents the opportunity to personally meet her and share their thoughts about issues facing the state. Villa’s office staff is committed to helping members of the community with available resources from the state or answering specific questions they have, according to the release. �

In order to further help residents connect with services and share their thoughts, Villa will host regular satellite office hours throughout her district to be announced next month.

Villa represents the state’s 49th district, which includes parts of Batavia, St. Charles, Geneva and South Elgin. Her office will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and can be reached at

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Politics,Region: W Suburbs

via Kane County Chronicle

January 20, 2019 at 05:37AM

State Rep. Fred Crespo moves up in Democratic leadership in House of Representatives

Democratic state Rep. Fred Crespo will serve as assistant majority leader of the House of Representatives, officials announced Friday. “I look forward to continue advocating on behalf of the communities in the Northwest Suburbs in my new post,” Crespo said. “There’s a lot of work to be done to move our state forward and it must be done in a bipartisan way.” Crespo represents the 44th House District, which includes portions of Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Schaumburg, Hanover Park, Bartlett and Elgin.

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Feeds,Region: AH,Local,Region: Suburbs,City: Arlington Heights,Suburbs

via > Local News

January 18, 2019 at 04:56PM

Woodland District 50 seeks to fill school board seat vacated by newly sworn-in state representative

Woodland School District 50 is looking for a new school board member to replace state Rep. Joyce Mason, who took her seat in the Illinois House this month.

Mason, a Democrat from Gurnee, unseated Republican Sheri Jesiel in the 61st District race in November.

Mason’s replacement would serve the remainder of her Woodland term, which expires in April 2021, according to a district news release.

Applicants can submit a letter of interest detailing their qualifications to board recording secretary Laura Campanella at or the district office, 1105 Hunt Club Road in Gurnee. The deadline is 4 p.m. Jan. 23.

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Region: Lake County,City: Waukegan,Local,Region: Suburbs

via Lake County News – Lake County News-Sun

January 18, 2019 at 03:21PM

State Rep. Connor wants to focus on helping families, end gridlock in new term

John Connor
John Connor

State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, began a new term Wednesday by urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to move beyond the partisan gridlock and work together to improve the lives of all Illinois residents.

“This new General Assembly is an opportunity to move beyond the paralyzing games we faced under Gov. [Bruce] Rauner,” Connor said in a statement. “I am focused on passing legislation that will move Illinois forward by investing in our schools and lowering the property tax burden on families throughout our community.”

Connor said the General Assembly should act to protect health care, prepare for the jobs of the future through education and training, and put the state back on sound financial footing by continuing to shorten the time in which state bills are paid to avoid millions of dollars in interest payments down the road.

His legislative agenda for the 101st General Assembly is centered on feedback he received from his constituents. Connor said he intends to work on legislation that will lower the tax burden on local families and continue to fight against the privatization of water systems in his district. He also is interested in Will County’s plan for another bridge to the Lockport area.

Connor also wants residents to reach out if they have concerns about legislation or state services. He plans to host community events and regularly walk door-to-door to hear directly from residents about the issues that matter to them.

Connor’s office can be reached at 815-372-0085 or He recently moved his office to the Crestlake building in Crest Hill.

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via | The Herald-News

January 17, 2019 at 07:08AM

State Rep. Bristow to partner with Treasurer’s Office to help residents find unclaimed property |

ALTON – State Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, is collaborating with the office of the Illinois State Treasurer to host an I-Cash event to help residents find lost or unclaimed property on Tuesday, January 22, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the History Room of the Six Mile Regional Library, located at 2001 Delmar Ave. in Granite City.

“Many people don’t even realize that they may have unclaimed property waiting for them in the treasurer’s office. If someone fails to collect a payroll or is owed a refund and does not collect it, these funds are held by the treasurer’s office until the rightful owner can claim them,” said Bristow. “To aide in this process, I am hosting an I-Cash event to help my constituents find any unclaimed property they may have.”

A representative from the Illinois State Treasurer’s office will be available to help residents search the state’s ICash system for unclaimed property owed to them by the state. The State Treasurer’s office holds $2.9 billion in unclaimed property, which can include checking and savings accounts, uncashed wage and payroll checks, uncashed stock dividends and stock certificates, insurance payments, utility deposits, customer deposits, accounts payable, credit balances, refund checks, money orders, traveler’s checks, mineral proceeds, court deposits, uncashed death benefit checks and life insurance proceeds.

“This program is a quick and simple process for anyone to check if they have unclaimed or forgotten property, and reservations are not required,” continued Bristow. “If you are unable to attend, you can check if you or any member of your family has unclaimed property in the Treasurer’s Office by visiting”

For more information, please call Rep. Bristow’s constituent service office at 618-465-5900 or email

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January 17, 2019 at 07:10AM

Democratic control in the Illinois statehouse: What it means for 2019

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois- We are having Breakfast With…Illinois State House Rep. Mike Halpin Thursday, January 17 on Good Morning Quad Cities. We’re having it at the City Limits Saloon & Grill.

Halpin is the Democrat representing the state’s 72nd district, which covers much of the Illinois Quad Cities. Halpin recently won re-election to his second term in office, as did many members from his same party.

Democrats now hold a super majority in both the state house and the state senate. Democrat J.B. Pritzker won the Governor’s race.  The billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel chain defeated first-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in November. Pritzker was sworn into office Monday, January 14.  

We’ll ask Halpin about the issues he wants to see addressed in the new legislative session. We’ll also him about the possibility of passenger rail service or Amtrak coming to the Quad Cities.

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Region: Northern,City: Quad Cities,Feeds,News,Region: QC


January 17, 2019 at 04:10AM

Newsradio WJPF interview with Jerry Costello II

Newsradio WJPF interview with Jerry Costello II

January 14, 2019
Robert Thies

Illinois State Representative Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) joins The Morning Newswatch.

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via Audio Episodes – WJPF News Radio

January 14, 2019 at 07:52AM

My View: I’m proud of what was accomplished during my years as state rep

As I end my time in the Illinois General Assembly, I want to thank all the residents of the 67th District and all the individuals in northern Illinois who have gotten to know me and have become supportive of me over the last four and a half years. I am eternally grateful for the chance that I have had to serve our community and our region in our state Capitol. It is, admittedly, bittersweet to leave office during the height of diversity in public office. In 2014, I became the first black woman to represent this entire region in Springfield. During my time in office, you and I have worked together to accomplish some pretty amazing things for our district.

One great feat was the extension of the River’s Edge Historic Tax Credit. This particular credit will allow for the development of downtown Rockford and surrounding areas to continue; this type of investment also helps in removing blight and despair from riverfront cities like Rockford, Aurora, Elgin, Peoria and East St. Louis. It has been responsible for the revitalization of old manufacturing buildings such as the one that the Prairie Street Brewhouse now occupies and the upcoming Amerock Embassy hotel.

In addition to that specific piece of legislation, as vice chair of the Human Services committee, I worked tirelessly to support human services funding and programs in our region and the entire state; in May 2017, I passed the first standalone appropriations bill for funding to domestic violence shelters with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Over 6 million people across the country have viewed my impassioned speech about working class families needing child care subsidies to continue working and complete educational goals. Thousands of advocates joined in the fight to make sure that the child care assistance program was fully restored after devastating changes to the program in 2015. Now, working parents are able to receive child care subsidies while they attend college or other job training programs. Additionally, low-income workers are able to access safe and affordable child care.

In addition to strengthening the child care assistance program, I created the Foster Children’s Bill of Rights to help to protect the most vulnerable children in our state. Each youth in care in Illinois must be informed of their rights; the Bill of Rights is published in four languages.

As the daughter of a veteran, I worked to expand veteran discounts throughout the year and supported the Secretary of State’s driver’s license designated for veterans. In the face of so many instances of police abuse of power, I worked to require law enforcement receive training on uncovering implicit racial bias. Similar training is also now required of educators throughout the state in the hope that we can begin to address the disparities in school discipline and academic outcomes for students of color.

I joined a coalition of women’s reproductive health advocates to create model legislation, the Learning with Dignity Act; this act provides that feminine hygiene products be in the restrooms of our schools, at no cost to the students, just as we provide toilet paper, paper towels and soap.

Before #metoo began to trend, I fought for survivors of sexual assault. And as the movement grew, I introduced legislation to address sexual harassment in Springfield. I became an outspoken advocate for change with my work appearing in Teen Vogue, recognized by Nation Magazine, and the State Innovation Exchange (SIX).

There’s so much more I wish I could share. But I’d like to leave you with three things I learned that are extremely important.

• Be willing to look for and find your voice. Once you find it, don’t allow anyone to take it from you. It is that voice that allows for you to push and advocate for the things that your district needs. And if you’re not a representative or other elected official, it is that voice that helps push forward the polices that you want to see enacted.

• The proverbial aisle is just that, an aisle. You can go speak with individuals on the other side, build consensus, and find ways to work with the other side to find solutions to problems and better our state.

• Time is figurative. Things can move very slowly in Springfield, or they can move quite quickly but the most important thing is to be prepared and ready to take on the opportunity to leverage the opportunities to improve our state when they are presented.

Again, I thank you for the opportunity to serve. I look forward to being in Rockford full time to focus on my family and community organizing. Indeed, it has truly been an honor.

Litesa Wallace retired from the Illinois General Assembly Jan 9. She joins the City of Rockford as deputy manager of Program Management and Operations-Department of Human Services helping to oversee the Community Services and Head Start divisions. She is the author of "Silenced: Memories, Musings, and Speeches of a Black Woman in Illinois Politics" and the principal consultant of the Wallace Institute for Learning and Empowerment (



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via Rockford Register Star

January 14, 2019 at 06:59AM

Crosby: ER nurse from Aurora partners with state legislator on bill to prevent hospital violence

Sonja McCarthy had no idea the day state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) made one of her routine “constituency outreach” stops at her Aurora home in the summer of 2016 that the two would end up working together on a bill to reduce workplace violence.

McCarthy, an emergency room nurse who had just gotten off her overnight shift at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove — and, like Kifowit, a fellow Marine — was awakened by that late morning knock on her door. But the two women quickly fell into a passionate conversation when her state rep asked what issues were of most concern.

McCarthy knew a lot about workplace violence. Not only had she run into it time and again as a level one trauma nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan for 13 years, she was a founding member of the group’s committee to address an issue that was starting to be recognized as a critical problem in the industry.

The conversation went well. And because of this meeting, Kifowit was instrumental in passing a bill that would raise the penalty for assaulting a healthcare worker to a felony.

While hospitals statewide already have or are working to comply with the new law, the consensus is there is no way you can stop violence from happening. As one official noted, when you have hundreds of patients in a building with thousands going through the ER a year, “things are going to happen.”

But the idea is to continually work toward updating policies, reviewing them and giving employees as much feedback as possible to assure them they will be kept as safe as possible, officials insist.

McCarthy, who estimates she’s put “thousands of hours” into this issue, hopes to one day train others in how to recognize pre-violence indicators and de-escalate situations, as well as work with hospitals on appropriate documentation that, for example, would more quickly denote a patient’s history of violence.

While attacks, particularly verbal assaults, are still under-reported, likely because there is still fear among workers that speaking out could jeopardize their careers, McCarthy is encouraged by “significant progress” in defining the problem.

And, while she recognizes there “is still work to do when it comes to how best to report and track the violence,” she describes it “as such a proud moment” when this bill became law.

“We no longer consider it part of the job … that it’s not OK if this person is violent towards me,” she said. “I really do see how far we have come.”

Twitter @dencrosby

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City: Aurora,Region: W Suburbs,Opinion

via Beacon News Opinion – Aurora Beacon-News

January 13, 2019 at 07:12AM