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Veterans

  • State Senator John Mulroe speaks while Gov. JB Pritzker and others attend the topping off ceremony of the newly-renovated Chicago Veterans Home in Chicago, March 15, 2019.“This day should have come sooner.”

    CHICAGO – State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) released the following statement today after attending the topping off ceremony of the Chicago Veterans Home after long delays in the project’s completion.

    “This marks a major step forward in our efforts to provide the best care possible to the men and women who served our country,” Mulroe said. “This day should have come sooner, but rather than focus on the past, I want to look forward to seeing this facility's completion.”

  • bennett 030519SPRINGFIELD – Spouses and children of veterans and active duty service members will soon be able to take advantage of the military service discount program under a bill introduced by State Senator Scott Bennett.

    Bennett (D-Champaign) sponsored Senate Bill 1468, which would expand the eligibility for voluntary discount programs currently offered by businesses to veterans and military personnel to include spouses and dependents.

    “Making sure all veterans and service members can take advantage of their military discount is one small way we can express our gratitude for their service,” Bennett said. “Enhancing this discount program to include their families honors the commitment that our brave servicemen and women and their families make to our country.”

    Currently, the military discount program is only extended to veterans and military service members.

    Senate Bill 1468 passed out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

  • hastings 022119SPRINGFIELD – Veterans would receive veteran-specific care upon entry to medical facilities thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ Senate Resolution 56, which was adopted today.

    “Most healthcare providers do not conduct a standard military inquiry upon a patient’s visit,” Hastings said. “Many of our veterans face challenges to their physical and mental health that are particular to their situation. To give them the best possible care using veteran-specific practices, healthcare providers should be aware of their veteran status.”

    SR 56, an initiative of the Aging Veterans Council, would require healthcare providers to ask their patients if they or their spouse has ever served in the military. In addition, all staff responsible for the patient would be made aware of their status and would be provided education on best practices for veteran-specific care.

    “Only 16 percent of veterans receive their health care from VA clinics. This leaves 84 percent of veterans being cared for by healthcare providers who are not necessarily aware of their veteran status or familiar with the best practices for treating them.”

  • powmia r

    SPRINGFIELD – Legislation inspired by a Peoria-area veteran advanced out of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1127, which requires airports in Illinois to fly the POW/MIA flag.

    “Honoring our veterans with public displays is crucial for younger generations to understand and remember their sacrifices,” Koehler said. “This legislation is just one small step we can take to show our veterans that we have not forgotten them.”

    The idea was brought to Springfield by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

    The measure now goes before the whole Senate for a vote.

  • sims 060418CHICAGO—State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order for a full audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs’ (IDVA), health, safety and security procedures in response to one of the residents at the Manteno Veterans’ Home testing positive for Legionnaires’ Disease:

    “We have to do all we can to prevent a repeat of what happened in Quincy at the Manteno Veterans’ Home. These men and women have sacrificed so much for the people of this great state and country.

    “For that reason, I commend Gov. Pritzker. His swift action is exactly what we need—a fresh start. The lack of transparency in how the last administration handled the Legionnaires’ outbreak in Quincy was despicable. I join the governor in his commitment to treat this situation with the urgency it demands. I just sent a letter to the director of the Manteno Veterans’ Home this week requesting detailed information on how the case of Legionnaires’ disease is being handled and what protocol is being taken.

    “We have an obligation to protect our heroes as they have protected us, and this means collecting as much information as possible so we can be transparent with them, their families and the public and take all necessary precautions to protect them from any harm, particularly Legionnaires’ disease.”

  • castro 080818SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) commended Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision today to make a commitment to addressing a lingering health care crisis at the state’s veterans’ homes.

    “The Legionnaires’ outbreak was a public health crisis, but the previous administration’s behind the scenes scheming, secrecy and lack of communication with the very families affected made it even worse,” Castro said. “This executive order gives us a fresh start and an opportunity to renew our commitment to providing quality care for veterans. We owe it to them and their families to ensure type of health crisis never occurs again.”

    Pritzker issued an executive order today instructing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a report in the next 120 days examining the strengths and weaknesses of Illinois’ veterans’ homes and determine what efforts can be made to ensure that the brave men and women who served our country receive proper care.

    The order further directs veterans’ homes to develop procedures for communicating with families to ensure that they are no longer left in the dark about the care their loved ones are receiving.

    Senator Castro was named chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee this week and plans to continue working with the new administration to protect veterans.

    “I look forward to collaborating with Gov. Pritzker on this issue and others facing Illinois veterans,” she said. “We need to work together to provide our country’s heroes with the treatment they deserve when their service has concluded.”

  • tc 052918MANTENO— State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is praising Gov. JB Pritzker’s move to protect Illinois’ veterans.

    On Friday, Pritzker issued an executive order to examine and get to the bottom of the Legionnaires’ crisis in the state’s veterans’ homes.

    Pritzker’s administration is directing the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to issue a report 120 days that will provide a comprehensive review of weaknesses, strengths and opportunities for improvement of policies, protocols and procedures related to ensuring the health and safety of residents and employees at Illinois veterans’ homes.

  • jbt 041118 3PLAINFIELD – Illinois veterans are taking advantage of a program championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) to provide veterans with the tools to launch new businesses.

    Due to a loan from the Illinois business program, Captain Jon Glass, an Army combat veteran paratrooper, recently purchased the iconic Glenwood Oaks restaurant in Glenwood.

    “Veteran-owned businesses are important to our state’s economy,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new program will help our veterans get their businesses off the ground by equipping them with the tools to be successful.”

    The Illinois veterans’ business loan program allows the Illinois Finance Authority to offer an increased number of low-interest loans to veterans to create new businesses.

    “Our military veterans have worked hard to protect us,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Now is the time for us to honor their sacrifices.” 

    Captain Glass is currently the head chef at the Glens restaurant in the northern suburbs. He is married with five children and is active in his church community.

    Bertino-Tarrant’s Senate Bill 324 launched the program through the Illinois Finance Authority, which now allows veterans to apply for and receive business loans.

    She worked on developing this loan program with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

    Bertino-Tarrant urges veterans to visit www.il-fa.com to learn more about this veteran loan program or contact her Plainfield office at (815) 254-4211 for more information.

  • mulroe 112618SPRINGFIELD – State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) released the following statement on news that funding will be released for a $20.5 million renovation project at the Chicago Veterans Home.

    “Caring for the men and women who fight for our freedom is a sacred duty, and we have seen what happens when we neglect it,” Mulroe said. “The improvements and equipment replacement planned as part of this $20.5 million project will ensure the Chicago Veterans Home can continue serving the people who so selflessly served their country.”

  • vets home 030918SPRINGFIELD – Despite a veto from Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) lead the charge in the Illinois State Senate to help provide justice to the 14 families who lost loved ones to a Legionnaire’s disease epidemic at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    Hastings’ Senate Bill 2481 would remove a $100,000 cap for state payouts in civil litigation. The measure will allow families greater restitution for the loved ones who died as a result of state negligence and mismanagement. The Illinois Senate overrode Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2481 with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

  • Sen. Tom Cullerton Certificate of RecognitionWASHINGTON, DC – The United States Department of Defense recently recognized State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for his leadership in shaping policies that positively impact the lives of service members and families in Illinois.

    “I’m honored to receive this prestigious designation for my efforts to better the lives of our military personnel, veterans and their families,” Cullerton said. “Our nation’s heroes have served our great country with honor and respect and have made countless sacrifices to protect our freedoms. The new laws we passed this year serve as a small token of appreciation for all they do to keep us safe.”

    Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He continues to use his military experience to implement commonsense legislation that makes resources easily accessible for Illinois’ veterans.

  • Sen. Tom CullertonNew law will create alert system for missing veterans

    VILLA PARK – A new law to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans will take effect Jan. 1, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

    Cullerton’s House Bill 4212 expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system known as the Silver Alert to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service. It was signed into law on Friday.

    Per the new law, the public would be notified when a high-risk veteran goes missing. The alert would be similar to Amber Alerts, which are already used by the state to locate missing children.

    “Our veterans have put their lives in harm’s way to protect us. When our heroes return home, we need to find ways to look out for them,” Cullerton said. “This new law will help us save lives.”

    The effort is the latest in a long line of veteran protections put in place by Cullerton.

  • tc 051518SPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois currently does not have a procedure in place to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans, but State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to change that.

    Cullerton passed House Bill 4212, which expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system - also known as Silver Alert – to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service.

  • tcullerton 022118SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) joined a group of bipartisan legislators to help institute swift and effective remedies at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    Cullerton joined House and Senate democrats and republicans in reiterating the General Assembly’s readiness to pass legislation to expedite the construction process to ensure the safety and well-being of the United States servicemen and women at the Quincy home.

  • tc 042018SPRINGFIELD- Two key department directors no-showed another committee meeting Thursday that was aimed at finding solutions to infrastructure problems that led to an ongoing outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    The bipartisan House and Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs adjourned without receiving a status update from the Illinois Director of Veterans Affairs Erica Jefferies and Director of Public Health Nirav Shah.

  • tc haine castro 031518

    Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to the governor’s press conference at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy today:

    “Another press conference, another plan, another contradiction and more waiting for our military veterans and their families as Governor Rauner tries to hide his mistakes and failures. Three years later and Gov. Rauner is still drafting plans but refusing to take any action.

  • vets presser 031318SPRINGFIELD – Three years after the initial outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, residents of that facility and others like it are still waiting for Gov. Bruce Rauner to be proactive in detecting and removing Legionella bacteria from state-run facilities.

    State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has taken charge in the governor’s absence, advancing bipartisan legislative measures this week to improve water management and notification requirements at state facilities.

  • jbt 030918PLAINFIELD – Veterans looking to start a new business in Illinois now have a new resource available thanks to legislation supported by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). 

    Last week, the Illinois Finance Authority released criteria for the loan program that allows veterans to apply and receive business loans for new companies. 

    “Our veterans come home with remarkable leadership skills and on-the-job training,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This program will give our returning heroes an outlet to channel their entrepreneurship spirit to create new businesses and generate jobs in our own communities.”

    Bertino-Tarrant worked on this program with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

    Nearly half of World War II veterans and 40 percent of Korean War veterans went on to own or operate a business, according to Syracuse University‘s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

    But now less than seven percent of returning veterans own their own businesses. Today’s veterans have fewer resources than their predecessors did.

    “Our veterans have made great sacrifices to serve our country,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s our duty to empower them to channel the life skills and training they received in the field as they transition back to civilian life.”

    Bertino-Tarrant urges veterans visit www.il-fa.com to take advantage of this resource or contact her Plainfield office at (815) 254-4211 for more information.

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