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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SPRINGFIELD, ILA bill sponsored by Senator Mattie Hunter (D–Chicago) providing disadvantaged small businesses in Illinois loans from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) passed the Senate today.

“In the current economic environment in Illinois and across our country, small businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water,” Hunter said.  “My colleagues and I continuously work to find avenues to create jobs and sustain infrastructure in Illinois.  As a part of that effort to seek further opportunities, I have had the privilege to work with IDOT to find an avenue to aid minority- and female-owned small businesses through this new loan program.”

Senate Bill 2491 will establish the Working Capital Loan Repayment Fund to aid struggling Illinois’ minority- and female owned construction businesses in a procurement contract with IDOT.  The Fund will be able to loan up to $3 million a year over the next 10 years starting on July 1, 2012. 

 “The bottom line is that we must invest in the businesses that want to invest in our state as they are the backbone of our economy,” Hunter continued. 

Senate Bill 2491 now moves to the House for further consideration.


To read a letter from IDOT Secretary Ann L. Schneider to Senate President John Cullerton regarding this issue, please click here.

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April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, and while all general health awareness is important, I’d like to make you aware of a much more specific and quite unknown health concern in African-Americans: Sarcoidosis.  Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that most often affects the lungs and lymph nodes, but can infect any organ.  While it is a rare disease, sarcoidosis can be deadly, especially if left untreated.

According to the Foundations for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR), sarcoidosis can affect anyone, but is most commonly found in African-Americans and Scandinavian Caucasians, particularly between the ages of 20 and 40. Doctors are not sure exactly what causes the disease, but many believe its source to be found in genetics. Studies have shown that a usually harmless bacterial or viral infection can cause sarcoidosis to flare up in an individual with the right genetic code. 


In a person with sarcoidosis, the immune system goes into a heightened activity mode which causes inflammatory cells, called granulomas, to clump together in a mass.  Depending on the infected area and the size of the mass, the granulomas can disturb the organ’s function, causing pain, discomfort and in some cases death.  Most cases of the disease heal over time, usually a few years, but some can last longer and even span a lifetime.


For more information about sarcoidosis or to find a doctor that treats this disease, please visit FSR’s website at  You can also print their helpful brochure and give it to a friend or family member you believe might be suffering from this disease. 


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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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