Dear Neighbor,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well. Recently, new relief opportunities have been announced that will benefit households across the 7th District. See further down under "Community Resources" for details related to back to school tax benefits, federal student loan payment relief, and a new program that will benefit seniors.

General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

The last two weeks have been productive. I had an opportunity to take a tour of Swedish Covenant Hospital and met with CEO Anthony Guaccio and several ER and clinical staff. We discussed numerous systemic challenges facing healthcare facilities including finding and retaining healthcare workers, the barebones support system in place for our neighbors who struggle with addition and other issues. We also discussed progress made since the rollout last summer of the Northside Collaborative, a partnership between Swedish Hospital and five nearby federally qualified health clinics that aims to mitigate barriers to specialty care and increase health equity. I am especially passionate about seeing health disparities for those living with chronic mental health conditions, black women, immigrants, and LGBTQIA populations reduced over time in our district and surrounding areas. This collaborative is a step in the right direction. We also toured the emergency room and the new Women's Health Suite. Lastly, I met with the staff of Project Impact, a behavioral health crisis program that seeks to assist adults and children experiencing health or addiction crises.

I also recently had the pleasure of meeting with Dan Arnett, General Manager of the Uptown-based Chicago Market, which will be a new food cooperative located on Broadway and Wilson. We brainstormed potential partnerships with community based organizations that will help ensure this co-op space meets the needs of our richly diverse populations.

Additionally, I've been in touch with the staff at Howard Brown Health Center and we are working together with the Illinois Department of Public Health Director to ensure there is an equitable response across Illinois for MPV (monkeypox) vaccine distribution for the LGBTQIA community. As our state's first openly gay state Senator, I know all too well how poorly our community has been served historically by the system and will continue to advocate and push for equitable vaccine distribution and education around MPV.

I met with Shawn Jackson, President of Truman College and staff to discuss ongoing capital needs at their Uptown facility. They are beginning renovations of a decades old biology lab that will serve a broad and diverse population of students from across our district.

On another note, last weekend I visited the Edgewater Historical Society to tour the new Indigenous Edgewater exhibit. I participated in a tour with Les Begay, Founder of the Illinois Indigenous People's Day Coalition, Marjorie Fritz-Birch, and volunteers with the historical society. I enjoyed seeing a well-done map that shows a village site inhabited by multiple ethnic groups that existed just a couple hundred years ago on almost the exact location of the apartment building where I grew up in Lincoln Square. It is really important for our community to know and understand this history that often is not taught or talked about and really should be. I encourage you to visit the exhibit and learn about the indigenous communities who lived and continue to live in the areas we now know as Edgewater and Lincoln Square.

I also visited 19 block parties in every section and neighborhood of our district over the last three weekends! I always enjoy visiting constituents in the community and giving everyone a chance to get to know their state Senator and ask questions about legislation or community issues. It was extra special to visit with neighbors of the 2400 block of W. Berwyn who threw their very first block party. I grew up just a block and a half away! And it was fun visiting the Dover Street Neighbors Association block party last weekend as I lived on Dover not too long ago. Thank you to all of you who organize block parties and take the time to get to know your neighbors. It makes our community stronger.

Below there is information on how parents and teachers can receive tax deductions for the cost of school supplies, and student loan borrowers will see up to $20,000 in forgiveness and reduced monthly payments. Read on to learn more about these exciting opportunities and how your family can benefit.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

Sincerely,


Sen. Mike Simmons

Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th Senate District

 

Legislative Updates

 

I had a terrific discussion with The League of Women Voters of Evanston/Skokie, Illinois about legislative updates from the past spring session.

Image: Senator Simmons speaks to the League of Women Voters about legislative and budget accomplishments made in the spring session. Also pictured is Senator Laura Fine and Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz.

Community Updates

Mercy Housing Renovation

A brand new renovation of Mercy Housing’s Major Jenkins Apartments on Winthrop has been completed. I am happy that with today’s renovation, every unit is getting air-conditioning and internet. Congratulations to the Mercy Housing team on completing the renovation and to all of the residents for getting to have a beautiful new space. I look forward to working with my colleagues at the city and state levels to support more opportunities to build and preserve affordable housing for our neighbors.

Image: View of the lobby in the newly renovated Major Jenkins Apartments.

Glenwood Arts Festival

I enjoyed spending time at the Glenwood Arts Festival. There’s nothing more I enjoy than putting the people at the center of my legislative work, and there’s no better way to do it than to get to know your constituents. Thank you to all our neighbors and small businesses who came out for this fabulous festival. Special shout out to Alderwoman Maria Hadden and the Rogers Park Business Alliance!

Image: Senator Simmons with Alderwoman Maria Madden and constituents at the Glenwood Arts Festival.

Block Parties!

I enjoyed traveling around our district the last three weeks visiting block parties in every section of our district including West Ridge, Rogers Park, Arcadia Terrace, North Center, Arcadia Terrace, Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Budlong Woods, and Lincoln Square! Thank you to all the block club organizers and residents who put in the work to bring folks together. It is truly an honor to represent this diverse community.

Image: Senator Simmons with constituents in West Ridge.

 

Image: Senator Simmons with constituents and restaurant owners Solomon and Selam at Selam-Ethiopian Kitchen in Uptown.

Image: Senator Simmons with constituents in Uptown.

Image: Senator Simmons with constituents in Lincoln Square.

 

Image: Senator Simmons chats with constituents at a block party in North Center.

Image: Senator Simmons chats with constituents at a block party in Rogers Park.

Welcome to the 7th District's Newest Black-Owned Small Business!

I visited DMApothecary, a new all natural, handmade, and sustainable shop opening at 5230 N. Sheridan in Edgewater on Friday, September 2nd! I enjoyed seeing the space and meeting Mom, Deirdre Austin, and son, Matthew, and hearing about their journey to launching a true family-owned business. What a wonderful contribution to make to our community. Make sure to stop by and check out their handmade shampoos, detergents, and graphic designed apparel and arts and crafts.

Image: Senator Simmons sniffs handcrafted soap from DMApothecary.

Edgewater Historical Society Visit

 

Image: Senator Simmons visits the Indigenous Edgewater exhibit at the Edgewater Historical Society.

Swedish Covenant Hospital Visit

Image: Senator Simmons visits with staff at Swedish Covenant Hospital

Image: Senator Simmons talks with an emergency nurse at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Image: Senator Simmons visits with staff at Swedish Covenant Hospital

 

National Dog Day!

On National Dog Day, I introduced my baby girl Sasha! She was originally my mom’s beloved pup, and my partner and I took her on when my mom transitioned. Sasha is the most loving, frenetic, and fun doggie and has been by my side through so much. We're so proud to be her dog dads!

Image: Senator Simmons with his beloved pup Sasha at the Capitol.

Community Resources

Back-to-School Tax Benefits

Parents and educators may be able to claim recent school expenses on their 2022 Illinois tax returns. The Illinois Department of Revenue offers the Illinois Education Expense Credit and the Instructional Materials and Supply Tax Credit to working families and teachers to help offset the costs of school supplies. Learn more at tax.illinois.gov.

Illinois Education Expense Credit (for parents)

Parents of a full-time K-12 student may take a 25% tax credit on qualified education expenses over $250 this year. Qualified educational expenses include tuition, book, and lab fees in excess of $250 paid to the school where the student is enrolled on a full-time basis.

Instructional Materials and Supply Tax Credit (for educators)

Teachers of full-time K-12 students may receive a tax break on qualified expenses on classroom materials. To qualify, taxpayers must be teachers, instructors, counselors, principals or aides in a qualified school for at least 900 hours during a school year. They can claim a credit up to $250 for qualified expenses they paid in the current taxable year, with the amount increasing to $500 in 2023.

Federal Student Loan Repayment Relief

The White House recently announced a plan for student loan relief that overwhelmingly benefits borrowers earning less than $75,000 a year. The plan also reduces monthly payments for low- and middle-income earners. Click here to learn more.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Employees of a U.S. federal, state, local or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, including U.S. military service, are eligible for additional student loan relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Until Oct. 31, 2022, borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF. Click here to learn more and see if you are eligible for PSLF.

New PACE Program For Seniors

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced the launch of the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – a program designed to better meet the needs of older adults across Illinois. PACE expands options for community-based care and serves as an alternative to traditional nursing facility care, allowing seniors to continue living at home. Learn more about how PACE will be implemented in our community here.

Upcoming Events

Overdose Prevention Resource Fair

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is hosting an Overdose Prevention Resource Fair at 5517 N. Kenmore on Sep. 9th from 11a.m. - 2p.m. Come and learn about harm reduction, health screenings, and more. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CASA Cook County Event

Join CASA of Cook County and your state legislators next Tuesday Sept. 6 at 6:30pm to learn how you can become a court appointed special advocate. Click here to register!

Category: Newsletters

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Office Info

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1717

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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