>
Today Governor Bruce Rauner gave his annual Budget Address to a special joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives of the 100th General Assembly. The budget remains the biggest challenge to the state of Illinois, with the current impasse reaching almost its second year, and a backlog of unpaid bills climbing to $11.3 billion.

In his Address, the Governor acknowledged the difficult position the state is in, but also noted significant progress that has been made through bipartisan compromise in the Senate. He presented specific parameters needed in a balanced budget plan, and stressed the importance of coming to an agreement that benefits both tax payers and job creators. The Governor also emphasized job creation as the cornerstone for economic growth, something for which the budget must account for.

State Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) appreciated the Governor’s optimistic tone in presenting his budget plan, especially Rauner’s emphasis on working together with both sides of the legislature toward a compromise.

“The Governor has presented a budget to us with the necessary reforms to help make Illinois competitive again—and benefit our taxpayers,” said Andersson. “He has given us parameters on what is acceptable to bring necessary change to our state, and this will help guide us as we navigate the difficult decisions ahead. Now it is our job as legislators to pass this budget, end this impasse, and do what’s right for our state.”
Representative Steve Andersson was recently named to the following committees in the House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly:

· Appropriations-General Services

· Business Incentives for Local Communities

· Industry and Code Enforcement

· Judiciary-Civil

· Mental Health

· Museums, Arts, and Cultural Enhancement


Rep. Andersson was named to these committees by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, and was also named the minority spokesperson for three of his six committees: Business Incentives for Local Communities Committee, Judiciary-Civil Committee, and Museums, Arts, and Cultural Enhancement Committee. Serving as the Republican Floor Leader during debates in the General Assembly, Andersson will extend his reason, diplomacy, and understanding of the law in his special role on these committees.

The Representative will be able to use his professional expertise as an attorney most notably as a member and minority spokesperson of the Judiciary Civil Committee. He has practiced municipal law for over two decades and is looking forward to using his experience in serving on this committee for the second time.

The Judiciary Civil Committee will hold its first hearing of the 100th General Assembly on February 8th, to begin reviewing legislation and the 10 bills that have already been assigned to this committee.
The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL), a not-for-profit organization and a bipartisan coalition of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly, recently announced their 2017-2018 Scholarship Award Program. Their scholarship program is offered annually, and was created to promote economic independence, community service and leadership development for women who choose to continue their college degrees.

The scholarship award is $2500, and is available for full and part time students. Applicants are required to enroll in an Illinois accredited college or university for a minimum of six credit hours. In addition to academic achievement, the scholarship committee also considers volunteer or paid community service work in determining scholarship recipients. Particular consideration is given to women who have shown leadership through community service opportunities.

The scholarship fund is made available through fundraising by COWL, with the goal of assisting women whose education was interrupted due to family concerns, economic problems, or other obligations. Deserving women wishing to continue their undergraduate degrees are encouraged to apply!

Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2017. Awardees will be notified of the decisions by April 15, 2017. More information on the scholarship program and application process can be found on the COWL website: www.cowlil.com.
Today the grand opening of the Aurora St. Charles Senior Living was celebrated with a special ceremony and ribbon cutting. The new senior housing center will provide healthy and affordable homes for seniors in the community.

Formerly serving as St. Charles Hospital, many of the historic Art Deco aspects of the building were preserved as it was converted. Some of the original design features that were preserved include the terrazzo and stone floors in common areas, oversized windows in each residence and 9 foot ceilings throughout the building.

The preservation and repurposing of this building was a challenging project that took much collaboration amongst local, state, and federal government entities, not to mention various community partners. The vision and common understanding of the overall project united the many hands in its work, which was successfully completed in a year.

Representative Steve Andersson serves as a chairman on the Historic Preservation Caucus in the General Assembly, and was honored at the event for working with state legislators to pass a law extending the River Edge Historic Tax Credit program. The program provides tax relief to developers in Aurora, Elgin, Peoria, Rockford and East St. Louis who seek to rehabilitate old properties for modern use, and has allowed for millions of dollars in development in downtown Aurora.

This tax credit was integral in making the senior living project a reality. Andersson attended the ceremony as a key note speaker to discuss the importance of historic preservation and express the positive impact this building has in the community. As a strong supporter of historic preservation, Andersson said that “there are so many different ways that we all succeed when a project like this comes to fruition.” He continued to note the positive effects this project had in creating jobs in the community, stimulating business growth, and helping senior residents in the area.

While the project created much positivity, it is also a reminder of the past. “This is an uncertain time,” said Andersson. “With that uncertainty, we are in danger of forgetting our past. We need to remember our history, and a building like this is a great reminder of that.”

Rep. Andersson also presented Aurora Mayor Robert O’Connor with a Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois House of Representatives, to acknowledge the grand opening of Aurora St. Charles Senior Living, and a job well done.