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Dear Neighbor,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well as the seasons change. Included in this newsletter are a few resources that can potentially benefit public school educators, and other 7th District households. See further down under "Community Resources" for details related to public service loan forgiveness, ways you can help migrants coming to Chicago, energy assistance for low-income households, and other programs.

General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

The last few weeks have been productive. At the request of several constituents, yesterday I visited Ella Flagg Young Apartments, a senior low income housing building in uptown. Residents have struggled to get timely repairs and upkeep to their units, and I went with my staff to hear out the residents and find ways to help them. Everyone in our community deserves access to clean, safe housing as a basic human right. I will continue working with residents here and in other buildings across our district to find ways to help them access the housing that they deserve through legislation where appropriate and in other more direct ways.

Last week I had the opportunity to complete a #HireTransNow training with the Chicago Therapy Collective, an Andersonville-based nonprofit that promotes personal, community and citywide accountability to alleviate LGBTQ+ health disparities. The #HireTransNow training is intended to provide concrete ways for recruiting and hiring diverse and talented transgender, gender nonconforming, gender expansive and nonbinary individuals. We will be improving our staff recruitment process to ensure an even more queer and trans-inclusive process in the 7th Senate District office.

Recently, I have met with quite a few constituents and advocacy groups recently that are reaching out with a range of ideas related to advancing gun legislation, shoring up protections for survivors of gun violence, and the need for a better systemic response for those living with chronic pain. I will once again be centering the needs of the community in my legislative work for the upcoming session. If you have any policy ideas, please contact my office.

I also want to share with you some of this month's neighborhood activities I participated in. I joined Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Austin for lunch to discuss ways we can support our small businesses. As the son of a longtime 7th District small business owner, I want to continue to proactively find ways we can ensure success for our manifold local small businesses across the district.

On another high note, I had the pleasure of serving as the keynote speaker for the Opening Day Ceremony for the incoming class of City Year Chicago AmeriCorps members. I addressed the newly inducted corps of roughly 100 young adults both from our district and from around Chicago and spoke about my own journey into public service. I encouraged them to stay close to their communities, to own their heritage and story, and to try to learn from the Chicago communities and families they'll be serving in the year ahead. As they embark on a year of service, I wanted these young people to feel motivated to make a difference in the lives of their students and also to embrace the impact a year of service will have on their own personal and professional journeys.

I also participated in the annual Bike the Drive event, where thousands of cyclists of all ages did the 30 -plus mile trek by bike on the DuSable Lake Shore Drive roadway from Bryn Mawr in our district to 57th Street and back! Events like this help us reimagine a city where there are more safe avenues and boulevards for bikes and pedestrians, and my partner and I were thrilled to support the cycling community and participate in the ride! I keep experiences like this and the joy I and so many in our district derive from cycling in mind as I continue to advocate for and work with the Illinois Department of Transportation and city officials towards the urgent goal of safer, dedicated, and protected public ways for cyclists.

I frequently visit every corner of our district and the past two weeks have been no different. I had a chance to attend events in Rogers Park, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Uptown and Lincoln Square recently with stop-bys at the Von Steuben Day Parade in North Center and Lincoln Square, the Lakewood-Balmoral Yard Sale in Edgewater, the Friends of Ravenswood Elementary School block party, the Madonna Mission 10th anniversary block party in Rogers Park and the American Blues Theater open house in West Ridge.

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

Read on for legislative community updates.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Legislative Updates

Students Demand Action Illinois

I had an opportunity to connect with Students Demand Action Illinois and discuss priority legislation such as my support for an assault weapons ban and stronger gun laws, as well as update them on legislation in Springfield. I'm always inspired by the movement of young people who are pushing for sensible gun laws around the country.

Image: Senator Simmons talks with Students Demand Action Illinois leaders.

Constituents with Chronic Pain

Last week, I met with constituents living with chronic pain and heard their concerns about the systemic and pervasive discrimination against disenfranchised communities with respect to pain treatment. I'm always grateful to meet with constituents. It is a goal of mine to make sure my constituents feel seen, heard, respected, and helped. We are looking into ways to improve the experience of these folks in our healthcare system.

Clark Estes Apartments Tour

I toured the newly renovated Clark Estes Apartment building in Rogers Park alongside State Representative Kelly Cassidy and other community members. We had a productive tour where we chatted with residents and discussed what it took to get this affordable housing building renovated, and more broadly what's needed to secure and renovate more affordable housing.

Image: Senator Simmons admires the artwork in the resident area of Clark Estes Apartments.

Small Business Advisory Council

I met with a constituent who is an Edgewater small business owner and the Small Business Advisory Council. They are advocating for two pieces of legislation - one would provide incentives for hiring returning citizens, and the other would provide relief to local chambers of commerce assisting small businesses. I will be cosponsoring the first bill, and I am reading through the second bill and researching some of the components.

Community Updates

Bike the Drive Event on DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Image: Senator Simmons hoists his bike at the annual Bike the Drive event which kicked off in the 7th District!

 

City Year Keynote Address

Image: Senator Simmons delivers the keynote address at the kickoff event for the incoming class of AmeriCorps City Year Chicago young adults.

Image: Senator Simmons poses with Myetie H. Hamilton, Vice President and Executive Director, City Year.

Von Steuben Parade & Oktoberfest

It was such an honor to march in the 56th annual Von Steuben Parade along Lincoln Avenue in celebration of the many contributions German-Americans have made to Lincoln Square and to our city! Having grown up in Lincoln Square, my family has attended German fest for many years. I enjoyed telling my grandmother that I participated in this parade and festival for the first time in my capacity as an elected official! We made sure to visit locally-owned Gene's Sausage Shop's rooftop after the parade for some delicious German fare and Hofbrau Oktoberfest!

Image: Senator Simmons participates in the Von Steuben Parade as an honored guest.

Image: Senator Simmons engages the crowd during the Von Steuben Parade.

Image: Senator Simmons patronizes Gene's Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square and chats with owner Derek Luszcz.

Lakewood Balmoral Yard Sale

I enjoyed visiting the Lakewood-Balmoral Residents' Council yard sale. It was a great chance to meet and chat with neighbors and hear about what issues they care about at the state level.

Image:  Senator Simmons enjoying items at the Lakewood-Balmoral Residents' Council yard sale in Andersonville.

Image: Senator Simmons takes a picture with constituents at the Lakewood-Balmoral Residents' Council yard sale in Andersonville.

Parent Mentors Kickoff Event

I enjoyed celebrating with our parent mentors who do incredible work supporting our children in our schools and communities! Awesome to see this statewide program and their members convene in our district at Truman College - go parent mentors!

Image: Senator Simmons with parent mentors at the Parent Mentors School Kickoff event in Uptown.

Image: Parent mentors sound off at the Parent Mentor School Kickoff event.

Image: Senator Simmons swag surfs with parent mentors.

Uptown Block Party

Image: Senator Simmons chats with residents at a block party in Uptown.

Image: Senator Simmons poses with block club organizers in Uptown.

Friends of Ravenswood School Block Party

I had a great time connecting with families and friends of Ravenswood School. Kudos to Principal Nicholas Guerrero and the Ravenswood School staff for throwing this awesome event as a way to get both kids and parents excited about back to school season.

Image: Senator Simmons speaks with constituents at the Friends of Ravenswood School block party.

 

Image: Senator Simmons poses with Principal Guerrero and constituents at the Friends of Ravenswood School block party.

Madonna Mission 10th Anniversary Block Party in Rogers Park

I had such a great time at the Madonna Mission 10th annual block party celebration! I appreciate the work Madonna Mission is doing to empower our refugee families in Rogers Park, West Ridge, and surrounding communities.

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 people, people standing and indoor

Image: Senator Mike Simmons takes a tour of the Madonna Mission building in Rogers Park.

Image: Senator Simmons alongside Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Alderwoman Maria Hadden and constituents at the Madonna Mission 10th anniversary block party in Rogers Park.

Image: Senator Simmons chats with a Rogers Park family at the Madonna Mission block party in Rogers Park.

Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cafe

Image: Senator Simmons patronizes Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cafe in Uptown.

Care for Real's Community Celebration

Image: Senator Simmons celebrates Care for Real's annual celebration in Edgewater!

New Arrivals from Texas

As the son of an Ethiopian migrant, I wholeheartedly understand the importance of communities coming together to support migrants. Please consider donating the supplies listed below to help smoothen the transition for the migrants arriving.

Community Resources

2022 State of Illinois Tax Rebate

Thanks to the Illinois Family Relief Plan, which received bipartisan support, one-time individual income and property tax rebates will be issued to taxpayers who meet certain requirements. To see if you qualify for one or both of these rebates, visit tax.illinois.gov/rebates.

PSLF Webinar

Are you a public school educator with student loans? Sign up for the next webinar about possible loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program by clicking here.

LIHEAP Billing Assistance

As the weather gets cooler, it is important that families have the help they need. LIHEAP is offering energy bill assistance to families that may qualify now through September 1-May 31, 2023. Any family that earns up to two times the federal poverty level may be eligible. Find out if you are eligible and apply today by visiting helpillinoisfamilies.com.

Upcoming Events

Barlesque

TPAN's 35th anniversary fundraiser, Barelesque will be held at 7 p.m. on September 30th at the Center on Halsted. The event will include a performance, raffles and fun snacks.

 

AIDS Run/Walk Chicago

47th Ward Shred-a-thon

Category: Newsletters

Covid-19 Resources

Newsletter Archive

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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