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The Majority Report 01/19/18 - Trotter resigns, wants to give others the chance to serve


Trotter resigns, wants to give others the chance to serve

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Donne TrotterSenate Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, a Chicago Democrat, is stepping down from the Illinois Senate after 30 years of service to the General Assembly and the people of Illinois.

“I cannot say when the best time is, but I feel this is the right time to go forward and search out different opportunities, and to more importantly give others the chance to serve,” Trotter said in announcing his resignation, which was effective Friday.

“Throughout my career, I have tried to pass along the wisdom I’ve gained over my years of service. My own career was never my only focus. I also wanted to ensure the success of those who I knew would follow in my footsteps someday.”

Trotter first was elected to the Illinois House in 1988 and served there until 1993, when he joined the Illinois Senate. He has served as assistant majority leader in the Senate since 2013.

The Illinois Senate Black Caucus released a statement thanking Trotter for his service and praising his wealth of institutional knowledge and his dedication to ensuring every Illinoisan has access to quality health care, education and general wellness.

“Senator Donne Trotter has been the consummate example of dedication to not only the citizens of the 17th District, but to the great people of this entire state,” the statement read. “His 30 years as a member of the General Assembly, and specifically his 25 years as a member of the Illinois Senate, have shown the Senator’s passion for public service.

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said she will miss Trotter, his support and his passion for serving the public.

“It has been an incredible journey working alongside my dear friend and colleague, Leader Trotter, for 20 of his 30 years of service,” she said. “He was the seasoned appropriations chairman and public health enthusiast when I arrived and always showed me leadership, expertise and commitment. He helped to lay the foundation for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and his legacy will continue on for generations to come.”

Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said she knew Trotter long before she became a legislator.

“When I worked for the Human Resources Development Institute, he was our go-to guy for legislation and funding purposes. When I later became a colleague, Senator Trotter and I worked together on many issues to address behavioral health and other social services,” she said. “He was a great advisor, and his institutional knowledge will be greatly missed.”

Senate President John Cullerton said Trotter is a unique individual and that he will be missed in the Senate.

“I will miss his leadership, his counsel, his wisdom, his calm, his experience and to top it all, his fantastic sense of fashion,” Cullerton said. “I wish him nothing but the best, and I am honored to have worked with him and to consider him my friend.”

Trotter, whose professional background includes being a senior hospital administrator, said he is proud of being a strong voice for health care, education and budget matters, all of which are of great importance to the people in the district he represented. The district encompasses parts of Chicago and Will and Kankakee counties.

“It’s a very diverse district, including urban and rural areas. We haven’t been able to accomplish everything, but we’ve certainly made a measurable difference in our communities and statewide,” he said.

“I had the great privilege of being able to sit at the table during all policy negotiations, especially the budget. I’m thankful for the voices back home who helped me to articulate the needs of our district and the state at large.”

Read more reaction to Trotter’s resignation.


Senators plan to connect schools to high-speed internet

Senators Andy Manar of Bunker Hill and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Shorewood

Illinois school districts that have not yet been able to afford the cost of installing reliable high-speed internet soon will be able to do so under a plan being advanced by a bipartisan group of state senators.

A proposal introduced by Democratic Senators Andy Manar of Bunker Hill and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Shorewood and Republican Senator Sam McCann of Plainview sets aside $16.3 million in the upcoming state budget to help school districts foot the cost of installing fiberoptic cable for high-speed internet.

The money would be matched nearly three to one by the federal government to cover the installation costs, which often are cost-prohibitive for school districts in hard-to-reach areas of the state. Costs can range from $75,000 to more than $420,000 per school.

About 100 Illinois school districts currently do not have high-speed internet through fiberoptic infrastructure. Fiberoptic is faster, more reliable and more cost effective over the long term.

“There’s federal money on the table that we can take advantage of, and we want to make sure we do that on behalf of school districts that can benefit from this state-federal partnership,” Manar said. “Rural schools need to be a priority in Illinois. The digital divide is another example of the inequities among school districts that we have to work to address.”

When schools lack high-speed internet, students are unable to take advantage of such routine modern classroom activities as streaming educational videos, participating in online testing, browsing the internet, playing educational games and engaging in remote learning.

“Technology in school plays an impactful role in the inequalities we see in our schools. Students lack quality learning experiences simply because of their ZIP codes,” said Bertino-Tarrant, chairwoman of the Senate’s Education Committee.

Read more.


Senator continues to seek answers on Legionnaires’ outbreak

Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) continues to look for answers regarding an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

This week he requested the release of any documentation of correspondence from key government agencies pertaining to the outbreak.

“Committee members left the hearing with a lot of unanswered questions last week,” Cullerton said. “There is a weakness within the current process; our hope is that additional examination will help guarantee our veterans are receiving the state’s best.”

Read more.


In case you missed it


Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Panel planned to help reduce utility bills in winter | Fox Illinois TV, Champaign

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Rauner’s veto creates uncertainty for Will County schools | Chicago Tribune

Senator Toi Hutchinson, Chicago Heights: Revisiting the foundation of Dr. King’s legacy | Kankakee Daily Journal

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: State earmarks library grants to benefit Riverbend-area school districts | The Telegraph, Alton


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