This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.
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On February 21, Governor Pat Quinn met with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials at the White House to discuss raising the minimum wage. Governor Quinn’s ongoing fight to raise Illinois’ minimum wage is in line with President Obama’s push to raise the federal minimum wage. The Governor first proposed raising the minimum wage in his 2013 State of the State address and his meeting with the President is part of his agenda to alleviate poverty, drive economic growth and ensure that all Illinois workers are treated fairly.
On February 6, Governor Quinn was joined by J.B Pritzker and key civic and business leaders to announce MATTER - a new startup center for next generation healthcare technology companies. The not-for-profit BioHub will drive entrepreneurship in the rapidly expanding medical and biotechnology fields. The state of Illinois has invested 4 million dollars in MATTER as a part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward. For more information on MATTER, visit www.matterchicago.com.
On February 2, Governor Quinn announced that an independent study has found Illinois as having one of the most thriving private sectors in the nation. The study conducted by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. found that Illinois ranks 3rd among the 50 states in growth of business establishments. In addition, the study found that from 2009 to 2012, Illinois accounted for 14 percent of all new business establishments in the country. A copy of the report can be found at economicmodeling.com.
On February 25, Governor Quinn joined President Obama to formally announce that Illinois had won a new digital manufacturing hub, supported by funding from state and federal governments and corporate partners. The hub will have a far-reaching impact on jobs across many industries and benefit small businesses across the nation. The White House announced a $70 million Department of Defense award for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute, which UI Labs will operate in Chicago. The support from President Obama, coupled with $16 million from the Quinn Administration, gives the institute the necessary funds to build partnerships with manufacturers and strengthen Illinois' economic comeback.
On February 24, Governor Quinn delivered the keynote address at the National Journal's Natural Disaster Forum in Washington, D.C., where he discussed Illinois’ preparedness and response to several major natural disasters and called for needed changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster aid criteria. Under Governor Quinn’s leadership the state of Illinois has managed responses to disasters ranging from deadly tornadoes to recent extreme winter storms. The Governor is working with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and the congressional delegation on passing legislation to improve the federal formula in the disaster assistance process and help more people rebuild their lives.
On February 8 Governor Quinn was joined by U.S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S Senator Dick Durbin, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and a number of local officials to open the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. The 695 million dollar bridge will provide a better and safer way for millions of motorists to cross the Mississippi River between Illinois and Missouri. This project, a joint effort sponsored by the Illinois and Missouri departments of transportation, has created or supported more than 9,000 new jobs.
On February 12, the Governor made headlines with the release of a draft for his five-year plan, which is being called one of the most innovative and far-reaching healthcare transformations in the country. “The Path to transformation” proposal would allow the state to obtain 5.2 billion in federal funds over five years to modernize health care infrastructure and services and additionally lower long-term costs. The plan will require federal approval, and is a part of the Governor’s agenda to improve the health of the people of Illinois and increase access to quality and affordable health care.
On February 12, Governor Quinn announced five million dollars in Illinois Jobs Now! Construction funding to help an additional 500 military families purchase a home affordably through the Welcome Home Heroes program. At events hosted in both Springfield and Midlothian, Governor Quinn discussed the success of the year 2013 as a year of Homeownership in Illinois. Welcome Home Heroes is part of the Governor’s commitment to help Illinois’ military families’ transition to civilian life, and to stabilize communities by making homeownership more affordable.
On February 18, Governor Quinn announced that the U.S Green Building Council has ranked Illinois as the number one state in the nation in the sustainable building design movement. Illinois bolsters more than 29 million square feet of certified green buildings, or 2.29 square feet for every resident. This announcement ties in to Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
On February 10, Governor Quinn welcomed to Illinois the Governor of the State of Mexico, Eruviel Ávila, for an official state visit that celebrates 150 years of friendship between Illinois and Mexico. Governor Ávila’s trip was prompted by Governor Quinn’s trade mission to Mexico City that took place in April 2013. The visit is part of Governor Quinn’s dedication to strengthening relations between Illinois and Mexico. For details about Governor Ávila’s state visit or the history of the 150 year friendship between Mexico and Illinois, visit 150years.Illinois.gov.