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Local leaders share need for state to invest in construction, jobs (VIDEO)

Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez and Sen. Omar Aquino

More than two dozen community agency leaders turned out at a recent forum to tell local senators that the state is overdue on a new program that puts people to work building up our communities.

It’s been nearly a decade since the state last invested in roads, bridges and school construction.

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez and Senator Omar Aquino hosted the town hall and workshop to make sure local agencies know how to apply for state funding and assess the local needs as support grows across the state for a new, state-sponsored construction program.

“We wanted to make sure we expanded what people knew about the capital bill, that it goes into infrastructure, it goes into brick and mortar stuff, and how we’re going to be creative in making sure that we’re getting equitable dollars in our districts,” Aquino said.

Over 30 local community agencies ranging from health, social service, the arts and afterschool programs gathered at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture for the Oct. 24 event.

“The two-year budget impasse hurt many organizations out there, so now we want to make sure we engage them so that we will be able to start doing some new things,” Martinez said. “I think the most important thing is our civic engagement, so our constituents can see that we’re working for them and we’re ready to respond to their concerns.”

Speakers included Becky Locker, Director of Policy and Budget for the Illinois Senate Democrats; Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council; Colleen Smith, Legislative Director for Illinois Environmental Council and Representative Luis Arroyo.

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