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Holmes responds to consolidation task force report

holmes locgovs mrCalls for review of unfunded mandates on local government

CHICAGO — State Sen. Linda Holmes, a member of the Lt. Governor's Task Force on Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner's Monday unveiling of the task force's findings.

"It is unfortunate Gov. Rauner has chosen to inject highly politicized items like repealing prevailing wage and making collective bargaining optional for local governments into the discussion of these other common sense approaches to spending reductions," Holmes said. "I worked with Lt. Governor Sanguinetti to put forth a number of other proposals that could benefit taxpayers, such as granting the power to consolidate units of government with careful local input and examining the unfunded mandates state government imposes on local government. These other items reflect the governor's continued insistence on an anti-union and anti-middle class agenda."

Holmes was one of several members of the task force. She has repeatedly voiced her support for more government consolidation powers to be given over to local governments with proper oversight and taxpayer input. She voted against the task force’s recommendations on the prevailing wage repeal and collective bargaining changes.

Unfunded mandates are laws or rules that require local units of government to perform services or meet regulatory standards, but do not provide the funding to do so. Holmes, D-Aurora, will file legislation that would review such mandates on local government.

The commission's full report can be read here.

As road, gaming funds pass, Holmes calls for MAP grants funding

holmes 120715Authorization passes Senate, will head to governor

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement after voting Yes today on an authorization that will release funding for the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, winter road maintenance funds and gaming revenue to local governments.

The vast majority of funding in question is either federal pass-through dollars or the local shares of motor fuel and gaming taxes to which municipalities are already entitled.

“Today, we were able to ensure that funds that rightly belong in our universities and local governments are put to use,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “Yet, thousands of students throughout the state are still waiting for Monetary Award Program grants. Inaction on the part of the governor is putting the college educations of these students in doubt. I call on him and on my colleagues in the General Assembly to approve these vital funds.”

Besides releasing motor fuel taxes that help local governments buy road salt and authorizing federal money for state community colleges, the funds released today would:
•    reimburse lottery winners who have gone unpaid.
•    ensure Driver Services Facilities continue operation.
•    provide the Attorney General’s Office with funding for victim advocacy and support for domestic violence survivors, among other programs.
•    fund domestic violence shelters, 911 services, breast cancer research and veterans’ homes throughout the state.

Senate Bill 2039 passed the Senate 53-0 after it passed the House with near-unanimous support last week. It awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature to take effect.

Holmes hosts Aurora Latino business, social service leaders

holmes latino councilSenator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) called a meeting including State Reps. Stephanie Kifowit and Linda Chapa LaVia and Latino leaders in the Aurora area to discuss everything from access to social services to the challenges facing prospective Latino-owned small business.
 
In a wide-ranging talk hosted in Sen. Holmes' Aurora office, the group's conversation touched on affordable housing shelters, assistance to the elderly, programs that support small business owners. They discussed lack of Latino management leadership in local non-profit organizations and how to build the Latino business community.
 
Participants included representatives of the Aurora-based Foundation for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, Waubonsee Community College, the Hispanic Advisory Board of Aurora and Rush Copley Hospital.

West Aurora School District announces new campus: Holmes

holmes newschoolDeal provides new early childhood, administration, job training centers

AURORA — West Aurora School District 129 today announced its proposed new West Aurora School District Campus – a 15-acre site near the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Edgelawn Avenue on Aurora’s west side.

“The unique partnership demonstrates how high quality education offerings affect economic development and quality of life in the community,” said District 129 Superintendent Jeff Craig. “Most certainly, this investment from the District, the City of Aurora and Advocate Health will benefit West Aurora School District for generations to come.”
 
The campus will be home to the district’s new Early Childhood Development Center, new district administration offices, and a new technical training center.
 
The agreement comes 14 months after a capital needs referendum that identified early childhood and post-secondary training as areas to expand upon, Craig said. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, assisted the district by bringing together representatives of Advocate and the school district.

“This is the result of government, business and school districts working together,” Holmes said. “Dreyer has been a member of the community for nearly a century and this is an investment in the community that will enrich education for generations of students to come.”
 
Advocate Health Care will donate part of what is now the Dreyer Medical Clinic building at 1870 W. Galena Boulevard to house the district’s new Early Childhood Development Center. West Aurora Schools will purchase the facility for just $600,000. More than 1,000 students and their families will benefit from the center that will replace the Todd Early Childhood Center.
 
“Advocate Dreyer has been an important part of the Aurora community for nearly 100 years and we are so pleased to build on our partnership and donate our building for such a worthy cause,” said Donna Cooper, President of Dreyer Medical Clinic and Chief Operating Officer of Advocate Medical Group.
 
Advocate will begin the transition process to its new facility next spring. The new Early Childhood Development Center is expected to open for the 2018-19 school year.
 
The West Aurora Board of Education also approved the purchase of the building immediately south of the clinic at 1877 W. Downer Place to house the district’s central administration. The current administration building is nearly a century old and in need of $800,000 in repairs. The move will place the district’s headquarters more conveniently.
 
“This facility will enable more interaction with district administration and staff, students and parents,” said Craig. “We are being more cost efficient by transitioning into existing facilities as opposed to building brand new or investing in our current aging infrastructure.”
 
The district expects to be fully operational in its new headquarters by the start of the 2016-17 school year.
 
The City of Aurora will provide a $150,000 tax rebate to Advocate Dreyer, offsetting part of West Aurora Schools’ purchase of its new property. In exchange, the City will secure the current River Street administration building and seek redevelopment opportunities.

“This is a win-win-win for all involved because we know all too well the difficulties of repurposing medical buildings and special-use facilities like the current District 129 headquarters,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “As a major employer, District 129 will provide immediate economic stability to the West Galena corridor, as the City works to put the current building back on the tax rolls. We are here today because District 129 parents and taxpayers chose to invest in Aurora’s most important resource – our children.”  
 
Finally, the school district announced the construction of a new technical training center on the campus that will provide opportunities for students to pursue dual credit classes, job-ready training and career certifications as a part of the Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Training available includes Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, and Health Occupations services.
 
This component is a result of many years of research and planning on the citywide Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Currently, West Aurora students are traveling nearly two hours each day to a training center 19 miles away in Maple Park.  Groundbreaking for the tech center on the southwest corner of the new campus could happen as early as next summer.
 
Complete plans for the proposed West Aurora School District Campus are available at www.sd129.org.

Sen. Linda Holmes

holmes-15

42nd District

Years served:
2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Executive; Labor; Local Government (Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Linda Chapa LaVia
Stephanie A. Kifowit