Dear neighbor,

It’s time to begin the once-in-a-decade task of redrawing congressional and state legislative district lines.  

In an effort to gather public input to help us create a plan that reflects the diversity of the state, the Illinois Senate is hosting public hearings — and you’re welcome to watch and provide testimony.

This week on April 2, the Chicago North Redistricting Subcommittee will host a meeting at 3 p.m.

You may join us online at www.Ilga.gov. Once there, look under the Senate heading and click on Audio/Video. You should see links to activate audio and video streams of the subcommittee. These links will become live shortly before the subcommittee begins.

If you would like to testify or submit written testimony to the Illinois State Senate Redistricting Committee or any of its subcommittees contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information and a full list of hearings, visit www.ilsenateredistricting.com.

I hope you will take advantage of having your voice heard.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Mike Simmons HeadshotDear Neighbor,

I am writing to provide you with an update. My first few weeks as your state senator were spent visiting with small businesses, health care facilities, social service agencies, food pantries, and schools across Rogers Park, Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater, and West Ridge. I heard directly from mom-and-pop business owners who have weathered the pandemic, physicians and nurses making COVID-19 vaccines available to our most vulnerable neighbors, food pantry workers who risk their health every day to feed our neighbors who have lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own, and school leaders who have seen firsthand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of our young people. I will continue to be out and about all across the 7th District in the weeks ahead to meet you and listen to the experiences of our community. And I will be in touch with you as the legislative session continues in Springfield.

 

Legislative Update

This past week, the Senate came back into session and I finished filing my first bills. My first proposal would create a $600-per-child tax credit intended to provide economic relief to our parents. Only a handful of other states have a state-level child tax credit, and my proposal would be one of the more generous in the country. If passed, this measure would work in tandem with the recently passed federal child tax credit to begin to address child poverty rates in the 7th District.

My second measure would provide health insurance to more of the uninsured by expanding Medicaid eligibility for our neighbors whose income is low, but who nonetheless earn just above the current threshold of 138% of the federal poverty line. They cannot afford to purchase health insurance on the exchanges. These are our neighbors who are in transient jobs, scraping by as gig workers, or are empty nesters who have very little income but don’t currently qualify for Medicaid. Last year nearly 900,000 people across Illinois lacked health insurance coverage. This bill would be a major first step in finishing the important work of the Affordable Care Act to provide health care for more people in our community.

I have introduced another key bill that would ensure consistent data collection for the LGBTQIA population being served by hospitals and state agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data would help advocates address health disparities and effectively target state resources.

I look forward to these pieces of legislation being assigned to and taken up in committee. Feel free to contact my office at https://senatormikesimmons.com/contact-us if you’d like to share your ideas, your opinion on any of these bills, or any other legislation in the General Assembly.

 

Community Update: Standing with Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders

I stand with all of our neighbors and community members who are Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islanders. We have seen an increase in episodes of violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans over the last year, with the group Stop Asian American Hate reporting 3,800 incidents over the last year. Many incidents simply go unreported. White supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and violence will have no home in our community. I encourage you to report incidents of violence or property damage to 911 or your local police department. Incidents of discrimination and mistreatment can be reported to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations at https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cchr.html or you may dial 312.744.4111 to file a report. 

I will always be looking for ways we can center the experiences of women of color, including Asian-American women, in my legislative work. That work includes making sure that we have a more equitable curriculum in our schools that teaches the contributions of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout American history. I have co-sponsored the Teach Asian American Community History measure (the TEAACH Act), which would require that this history be taught in our schools. This work also requires more immediate efforts like ensuring reports of hate crimes against Asian-Americans are taken seriously and aggressively investigated. I will be working to ensure that hate crimes targeting members of our community are reported, investigated, and addressed promptly. I will continue to use my voice to speak out on these issues and ensure the breadth of diversity we have in the 7th Senate District is honored and celebrated at every opportunity.

 

Support Small Businesses

Finally, I’d like to ask you to please consider patronizing your local shops, restaurants, and businesses in your immediate community. The 7th Senate District is home to such a rich variety of places to get basic goods and services, including restaurants that serve delicious food from all over the world, and I encourage you to support your local small businesses at every opportunity. We will get through this pandemic together.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor,

Illinois is making progress in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine averaging nearly 80,000 doses per day—and almost 3 million doses have been administered to date. With the recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, supplied are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

As you navigate the vaccination process for yourself or a loved one, I want you to be aware that there is now a new option: The United Center will now serve as one of the nation’s first Federal Pilot Community Vaccination Centers.

The United Center will receive 6,000 vaccine doses per day from the federal government, in addition to the supplies already obtained by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. The vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance is not required, nor will it be requested. Documentation regarding immigration status is also not required.

All Illinoisans eligible under the state’s Phase 1B+—including those with underlying conditions and disabilities—may now schedule appointments.

Here’s how to make an appointment at the United Center, located at 1901 W. Madison St. in Chicago:

  • To register online, visit Zocdoc.com/vaccine. You will be asked to provide your date of birth when booking an appointment to confirm vaccine eligibility.
  • To register by phone, call (312) 746-4835. A multilingual call center will be available to help make appointments Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The vaccine site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program.

Remember: Free, state-run COVID-19 testing remains operational in Auburn Gresham.

Let's continue to protect our family, friends and neighbors by practicing social distancing, washing our hands, wearing masks and getting tested for COVID-19 when we have reason to believe we may have been exposed. As a reminder, free, convenient COVID-19 testing is available in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood to anyone who wants it.

Community-Based Testing Site
7938 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60620
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. every day except Tuesdays

  • No insurance necessary
  • No referral needed
  • No appointment needed
  • No symptoms required
  • Available for all ages

If you are eligible to get vaccinated, I urge you to register for an appointment. If you are still waiting to qualify, please be patient. You can sign up to receive updates, scheduling information and a notification when you’re eligible at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov

Thank you for your efforts over the past year to keep your friends, loved ones and community healthy. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with questions and concerns at 773-769-1717 or https://senatormikesimmons.com/contact-us.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor, 

My name is Mike Simmons, and I am honored to serve you as your new state senator for the 7th Illinois Senate District following Senator Heather Steans’ resignation. I’m writing to tell you a little about myself and my own lifelong connections to the 7th District.

I was born and raised in Lincoln Square in historic scattered-site public housing. My family was one of the first Black families to move into that neighborhood in 1981, helping integrate the neighborhood. My mom was a small business owner, running Salon Pastiche in Rogers Park for 25 years. My father emigrated from Ethiopia during the Red Terror and resettled in Edgewater in 1978. I live in Uptown with my partner Michael and our black lab mix Sasha. I have deep ties to each neighborhood in the 7th District, and look forward to meeting many of you in our many retail districts, block club meetings, town halls, schools, and other community events.

I want to invite you to reach out to my office to express your views on legislative matters before the Illinois General Assembly. I also promise you that I will be an accessible, progressive public official who will always approach questions of policy with our most vulnerable district residents in mind.

First, I want to thank Senator Steans for an extraordinary record of progressive accomplishments for our district. I also want to thank her for working with me to ensure a smooth transition so that constituent casework and projects continue to be handled. She has worked tirelessly to help me hit the ground running as your new state senator.

My swearing-in marks some important firsts for our state and our district. I’m proud to be the first openly gay state senator, to be the first person of color to represent such a diverse part of the city of Chicago, and to be the first Ethiopian-American to hold office in Springfield. I may not look like anybody who has served in this seat before, but I look like thousands of residents of the 7th District. All of these parts of my identity have taught me just how urgently we need government to be responsive, representative, compassionate, and equitable.

As deputy director of youth programs at the Obama Foundation, and as a director of policy in previous roles in federal, county, and city government around food insecurity, housing, and LGBTQIA+ issues, I’ve seen firsthand the barriers that we face in achieving that kind of government. As COVID-19 and a brutal Chicago winter loom over us all, I am aware of the historic scope of the work we need to be doing right now. I am committed to starting immediately. To that end, my district office will be located at 5533 N. Broadway where I look forward to working with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, state Representative Kelly Cassidy, Commissioner Bridget Gainer, and Alderman Harry Osterman to meet your needs. 

To do so, I’ll need your input as well. As we continue observing safety protocols during the pandemic, my office’s physical location will operate in a limited capacity, but you can always contact me by using the form at https://senatormikesimmons.com/contact-us or by calling my office at 773-769-1717.  Please feel free to contact me and tell me how I can represent you in Springfield.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

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

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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