Many of you have probably heard of the new diet craze around gluten-free food products. These items are increasingly more accessible in local grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants. What many do not know is that gluten-free products are not meant for weight loss but actually to combat an autoimmune disease that strikes at least three million people in America. Celiac disease is caused by an allergic reaction to a protein commonly found in wheat and grains called gluten.

Celiac disease damages the small intestine and leads the body to start fighting itself. Because the disease has over 300 symptoms that mimic other diseases, it is hard to diagnose and can take up to four years to be diagnosed. A gluten-free diet is the most effective treatment, and without this lifestyle change, celiac disease can lead to can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and sometimes cancer.


The disease affects one in every 236 African-, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans and is often undiagnosed. It is very important to learn the symptoms of celiac disease and to talk to your doctor about the process of diagnosis. To learn more about celiac disease and its symptoms, please visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness at

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D – Chicago) is calling on the House of Representatives today to pass a measure that will assist minority and female-owned disadvantaged small businesses in receiving contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Hunter’s pressure for passage of the measure comes in the wake of Metra’s announcement to delay awarding a contract to an Elgin-based contractor to build the Englewood Flyover rail bridge. Earlier this month, Metra officials said they would postpone awarding the contract to their June 15 meeting after Congressmen Danny K. Davis, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Bobby Rush disputed the original winning contract.

“The Englewood community has one of the highest unemployment and crime rates not just in Illinois, but in the country. It has the unfortunate history of being passed over when it comes to government assistance and bidding contracts,” Hunter said. “Metra’s original decision to seek contractors outside of the community in which this project is planned is exactly the reason why this measure needs to become law.  With a little under two weeks left of session this year, the House needs to take action on this legislation immediately.”

Senate Bill 2491 establishes the Working Capital Loan Repayment Fund which will aid struggling Illinois’ minority and female owned construction businesses in winning procurement contracts with IDOT.  The Fund will be able to provide the companies with loans up to $3 million a year over the next 10 years starting to help them with their current liabilities and expenses associated with these projects. 

Category: Front Page

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Senate voted today to eliminate state subsidies for retirees’ health insurance premiums. The measure, Senate Bill 1313, passed both chambers and now heads to Governor Pat Quinn for his signature.  Senate Majority Caucus Whip Mattie Hunter issued the following statement in regard to her opposition to the Senate vote on Senate Bill 1313:

“I have been advocating for responsible solutions to our state’s budget deficit, but I cannot support doing so on the backs of the people. We have said over and over that we must fix this fiscal problem through shared sacrifice but we cannot do that by breaking promises. I think this was the wrong approach and I am very disappointed by today’s vote.”

Category: Front Page

As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to thank all of the fantastic teachers in my district and all over the great State of Illinois who give so selflessly of their time and talent to teach our children.  What teachers instill in their pupils goes beyond the moment and helps shape and mold the individuals they become in life. I appreciate and celebrate all of the wonderful principals, teachers, and staff who constantly go beyond the call of duty to make sure our children receive the best quality education possible.  We are ever indebted to you. 

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
619 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5966
(217) 782-1631 FAX
District Office:
2929 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 949-1908
(312) 949-1958 FAX

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