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goodbyes 011321With the start of the 102nd General Assembly, we are saying farewell to several of our colleagues who are moving on to new opportunities. We will miss their contributions, commitment and camaraderie, but wish them nothing but more success in the future.

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant served the 49th State Senate District honorably since 2013. She's been an impassioned and effective advocate for small businesses and education, and has most recently chaired the Education Committee. In December, she was sworn in as the new Will County Executive. The 49th State Senate District includes all or part of Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Joliet, Montgomery, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield, Romeoville and Shorewood.

Bertino-Tarrant is a lifelong educator and passionate education advocate, working with the youth of Will County for almost 20 years in the local schools. She also grew up around her family’s small business. Her background in education and local business have served her well in her appointments to be the Chairperson on the Education Committee, Vice-Chairperson on Licensed Activities, member of Commerce and Economic Development, Insurance, Labor, Transportation and Subcommittee on Capital. She has served in various leadership positions as a member in the General Assembly, including Co-Chair of Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force and Vice-Chair of the Labor Committee.

Bertino-Tarrant’s passion to help others also went far beyond education. She was a steadfast advocate for affordable health care, fought to improve infrastructure and worked to increase public safety – among other things.

She is now the first woman to hold the office of Will County Executive.

Iris Y. Martinez was sworn into her first term in the Illinois State Senate on Jan. 8, 2003 to represent the residents of Illinois’ 20th District. Her election marked the first time in Illinois history that a Hispanic woman had been elected to the state senate.

Over the last 17 years, Sen. Martinez has advanced initiatives to increase affordable housing options, expand access to quality health care and improve the public education system for students in Chicago. She has been a strong advocate for strengthening the state resources available to underserved communities of color.

Continuing her legacy as a trailblazer for Hispanic women, Martinez is furthering her career in public service by serving as the first Latina Clerk of the Circuit Court in Cook County.

Pat McGuire represented Senate District 43 since 2012. McGuire previously held elective office as a school board member and a county treasurer. With the Senate, he has served most recently on the Higher Education Committee (Chairperson), State Government (Vice-Chairperson) Revenue; and Transportation, with other assignments in previous years.

Looking back at his accomplishments, McGuire noted the law overhauling the state’s public school funding formula to increase state funding to the vast majority of school districts. The hope is that more state funding will allow for local school boards to rely less on property taxes and give their residents some relief.

After the 2017 death of Sema'j Crosby, a toddler from Joliet Township, McGuire also advocated for reforms to the state's child welfare system. Since then, the state has made new investments and reworked procedures at the Department of Children and Family Services.

In a recent interview with the Joliet Herald News, he said that securing the nearly $1 billion in funding to repair Interstate 80 likely is his biggest accomplishment. McGuire joked that if he and his colleagues had failed to get the money, he would "have had to leave town."

After eight successful years in the Illinois Senate representing the 48th District and more than 22 years in public office, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced that he will be resigning from the Illinois Senate on January 17, 2021. Manar was first elected to the Bunker Hill City Council at the age of 21 in 1997. He was elected Mayor of Bunker Hill in 2001 and Chaired the Macoupin County Board until his election to the Illinois Senate in 2012.  

During his tenure in the Senate, Manar passed numerous consequential laws that will have an impact on hardworking Illinois families for generations. Some highlights include school funding reform, Automatic Voter Registration, a statewide minimum wage for teachers, elimination of police ticket quotas, capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $100 per month, and the first ever regulation of pharmacy benefit managers.  Manar was a vocal supporter of labor unions, voting rights, access to affordable health care, teachers, and the LGBTQ community.

Manar and his family will remain in Bunker Hill, three blocks from his childhood home.