05212019CW0058rSPRINGFIELD–State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) joined community leaders and affordable housing advocates from across Illinois at the State Capitol today in calling for more investments in affordable housing in the capital budget.

“Right now, we have an opportunity – one that has not come around in more than a decade – to make a sizable impact on the affordable housing needs of our communities,” said Hunter, the Chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Housing. “There are neighborhoods in my district that are still struggling to recover from the economic crisis and are starved for investment, and I know that many communities across the state from urban, suburban and rural communities face similar challenges.”

Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker proposed investing $175 million for affordable housing in the capital budget. Hunter unified with a coalition of housing developers, supportive housing providers, municipal government and community-based organizations to urge the General Assembly to expand on this foundation by allocating additional funds to create stronger communities by expanding access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

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hunter energy 091218CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) convened a Senate sub-committee on energy innovation in Chicago this afternoon to discuss ways artificial intelligence could be applied within the energy market in Illinois.

“There’s a proven need for clean, affordable and reliable energy,” Hunter said. “It’s essential to fight poverty and climate change. Artificial intelligence is one of the resources we can tap into to help us meet that need.”

Representatives from Siemens, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Department of Military Affairs, Illinois Commerce Commission, Citizen’s Utility Board and ComEd provided testimony on how AI can affect the way that energy is generated, transmitted, sold and consumed.  

The discussion also touched on how AI in energy could affect the economy, help save millions of dollars in energy costs, cybersecurity threat detection and response and how to use it to manage the high volume of data in the energy sector.

“Although AI is in its early stages, it’s clear that it’s supposed to revolutionize how we produce and distribute energy,” Hunter said. “As this technology develops, we will continue to discuss ways and look for opportunities for Illinois to become one of the leaders in AI within the energy sector.”

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extralargeSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter’s (D-Chicago) plan to prevent future school closures in Chicago without proper warning was signed into law this week.

“For years, CPS has made decisions about opening and closing schools without engaging communities,” Hunter said. “It’s long overdue but I’m glad that we now have a practice in place that will help bring transparency and valuable community input into the capital improvement process.”

Under the current school code, CPS is expected to create and implement a 10-year facilities plan. However, in recent years they have failed to do so.

“As we’ve seen in the news lately, CPS has been closing school doors without notice and leaving thousands of students without a neighborhood school to go to or require them to travel to a consolidated new school,” Hunter said. “That’s unacceptable.”

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DkLHLAZXsAAC FrThree years ago, a young woman sat at the witness table in a Senate budget hearing, telling lawmakers what the Department of Children and Family Services scholarship program meant to her.

It meant that a former foster child, taken into state care and custody after being neglected and abandoned, had been able to attend college. It had given her a chance to strive for a brighter future otherwise foreign. She was committed to not being another foster care statistic. The DCFS scholarship empowered her commitment.

Lauretta Schaefer told her story to lawmakers in 2015 because Gov. Bruce Rauner wanted to cancel her scholarship and dozens of others. She would have had to drop out. Kids like her would never get the chance to enroll. It was part of Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda designed to wipeout programs the new governor deemed unworthy or unaffordable.

I’ve always found this early moment in the Rauner administration particularly offensive.

Here you had a governor saying the state should be competitive but compassionate. Yet, one of his first moves was to bring the budget ax down on a competitively awarded scholarship program that benefits wards of the state, who have suffered through all kinds of personal turmoil only to emerge academically successful and eager to take the next step toward improving their lives.

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