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Tom Cullerton urges residents to become involved in “Wall of Faces” project

vvmfVILLA PARK- When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was completed in the early 1980s, nearly 60,000 service members who had either died or were missing in action in the Vietnam War were honored.

Personnel records on many of those listed on the wall, however, were destroyed in a fire at a government facility in 1973. Since that time, the military and a host of organizations have been working to establish information on who these brave men and women were.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging Illinois residents to help give a face and name to these heroes.

“Our nation’s heroes made the ultimate sacrifice to fight for our freedoms and protect our democracy,” Cullerton said. “Every fallen solider was someone’s son, friend, child, parent or neighbor. They had dreams and served to protect our great nation. Now it is our turn to preserve their memory and honor their service to our country and state.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and its Wall of Faces project is collecting photos of every service member honored on the wall.  Cullerton says Illinois residents can visit www.vvmf.org/how-to-submit to learn how to submit pictures to the project and help honor our fallen.

Earlier this month, Cullerton passed a resolution urging Illinois communities to become involved in the Wall of Faces project.

Andrew Johnson, Vice President of the National Newspaper Association said, “It was awesome to witness how quickly the Illinois General Assembly acted to support a bill honoring Illinois’ Vietnam veterans.  Their actions in passing this resolution will ensure that Illinois’ veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Out of the 58,000 names on the memorial wall, fewer than 5,000 remain without a photo. More than 20 states have found every photo for their fallen service members.

“I urge residents across our state to work together to match names with faces of our fallen,” Cullerton said. “My hope is Illinois will become the next state to find a photo of each one. Our state is known for honoring and recognizing the accomplishments of our military men and women. I have no doubt our communities will work together to find photos of our Vietnam Veterans and give our fallen heroes the respect they deserve. ”

Senate Resolution 731 passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Cullerton urges Illinois residents and veterans organizations to reach out to his Villa Park office at (630) 903-6662 with any questions or concerns.

Tom Cullerton announces $15,000 grant for Wood Dale Public Library District

tc consol 020817WOOD DALE- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Par) is excited to announce students in Wood Dale Public Library District will soon have additional technological resources available to enhance their studies.

The Wood Dale Public Library District was awarded a $15,000 grant through the Secretary of State’s Project Next Generation program (PNG).

“Our children live in a digital world,” Cullerton said. “This grant will support Wood Dale Library’s mission to expand and upgrade learning opportunities for our students.”

PNG is an educational technology initiative of Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White that was established to help educate at-risk students and bridge the digital divide.

Cullerton hopes this will empower students to succeed academically and train to become the future leaders of Illinois.

The grant will help enhance technology training for local students by proving additional funding to pay start-up costs for after-school training programs and supplemental staff to educate and mentor children.

The Hechinger Report states 70 percent of teachers across the nation assign homework to be completed online, but more than five million families with school-aged children don’t have internet connectively at their home.

“This new grant opportunity will expand access and assistance for children to guarantee they have a predictable and productive environment to complete their studies,” Cullerton said. “This year, the General Assembly passed bipartisan school funding to ensure Illinois’ students have the proper resources to succeed at school; now let’s make sure they have the means to learn outside of the classroom.”

The Wood Dale Library District was formed in March of 1956 by local citizens. The library is open seven days a week. For more information area residents can visit www.wooddalelibrary.org or call (630) 766-6762.

Tom Cullerton battles big student loan lenders to lower college debt costs

tc 062717SPRINGFIELD- Illinois may soon have new protections in place to protect college students from crippling student loan debt, thanks to Villa Park Democrat Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton joined the Illinois Senate in voting to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights and prohibits predatory loan servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices towards students or parents.

“College debt has become unbearable,” Cullerton said. “For many, the American dream includes obtaining a college education. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to ensure our children are given an opportunity to succeed and graduate from college without crippling amounts of student debt.”

The Student Loan Bill of Rights would ensure students and their families receive clear information about funds they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

The legislation also aims to crack down on the student loan servicing industry that has made it increasingly more difficult and expensive for students and parents to repay educational loans.

In addition, Cullerton has been fighting to lower college education costs by championing legislation to cut bloated administrative severance packages and perks.

“Students should not be paying for hefty handouts to failed college administrators,” Cullerton said. “State funding and tuition dollars should be going toward educating our students and training them to be future leaders in Illinois and across our great nation.”

Most recently, Cullerton worked with the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission to investigate misuse and abuse at state community colleges and universities. Next spring, he plans to introduce new legislation to increase public transparency and input on severance packages and salaries for higher education administrators.

“Cutting administrative costs will lower tuition cost and fees,” Cullerton said. “This is a common sense approach that will give all of Illinois’ children an opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

Senate Bill 1351 passed the Senate and moves to the House for consideration.

New tax credit available for DuPage teachers: Cullerton

tc consol 051717VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging DuPage County teachers to take advantage of a new tax credit in Illinois for public school teachers and administrators who use personal funds to purchase school supplies for their students.

“Educating our children is a noble profession,” Cullerton said. “Our state should serve as a partner and honor the investments our educators have made in the future of Illinois. This tax credit will help lessen the burden for teachers who work endlessly to ensure our children receive the best education possible.”

Teachers and administrators can qualify for a tax credit up to $250 for instructional materials and supplies used in the classroom.

“DuPage County teachers are training the future leaders of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “92 percent of teachers across our nation spend their own money on classroom supplies to educate our children. It is our duty to provide support and resources to our educators for their generosity.”

The Illinois tax credit is available in addition to the current $250 federal deduction. It is available to teachers, principals or aides in a qualified school who work at least 900 hours during a school year.

 Area educators with questions on the new tax credit can call Cullerton’s Villa Park office at (630) 903-6662.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities.

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.