turner simmons 020821The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus is complete: two new senators were recently sworn in, filling two remaining vacancies.

Senator Doris Turner of Springfield was appointed to serve for the 48th District after Andy Manar’s departure last month. She was sworn in on Saturday.

Senator Mike Simmons was appointed and sworn in to serve for the 7th District representing the north side of Chicago, succeeding Heather Steans who retired from the Senate recently.

“Being appointed to serve in the Senate at this critical time in our state and nation’s history is humbling,” Turner said. “The decisions made over the course of the next four months will determine how quickly our local economies and neighborhoods can bounce back from the devastation brought on by the pandemic. I’m prepared to meet this moment and get to work for the people from every part of the 48th Legislative District, from Bunker Hill all the way to Decatur.”

Both Turner and Simmons bring strong backgrounds in public service to their communities.

In addition to working 33 years for the State of Illinois – 22 of those with the Department of Public Health – Turner was elected to the Springfield City Council representing Ward 3 in April 2011 after having served for ten years on the Sangamon County Board.

Simmons grew up in the 7th District and has worked as an aide to Sen. Dick Durbin, policy director for Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and deputy commissioner for Planning and Development for former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Most recently, Simmons has been deputy director for My Brother’s Keeper, a national youth program based at the Obama Foundation.

"I am honored and humbled. This is a proud and historic moment for our district. We are sending the first openly LGBTQ+ member to the Illinois Senate, the first person of color to serve in either chamber representing Chicago's progressive north lakefront communities, and the first Ethiopian-American to serve in the Illinois General Assembly," Simmons said. "I look forward to going to work for our district and hitting the ground running in Springfield, particularly for our communities hit hard by the pandemic. I am excited to partner with Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Leader Greg Harris, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, and our elected officials within and surrounding District 7 to bring outstanding public service to our neighborhoods and fight for everyday people from all backgrounds."