The manufacturing industry provides critical jobs to Illinoisans, and as lawmakers we need to do everything we can to ease the regulatory burdens that have been driving these businesses out of our state. Last week I learned that I earned a 90% success rating on the 2017 scorecard issued by the Illinois Technology & Manufacturing Association. The score is based on my votes on ten bills that affect the manufacturing industry and overall economy in Illinois.
In announcing the ranking of lawmakers, TMA President Steven Rauschenberger had this to say about my first TMA scorecard: “Representative David Olsen has demonstrated his understanding of the importance of high paying manufacturing jobs in Illinois. His voting record shows that he favors commonsense regulation of employers in ways that will help grow opportunity in Illinois.”
The Technology and Manufacturing Association assists Illinois’ $100 billion manufacturing sector through advice, education and other programs. They also advocate for legislation to help the industry succeed in Illinois.
Click here to view a list of the legislation included on the scorecard and a full ranking of every Illinois State Representative and Senator.
Lawmakers Visit IL Mathematics and Science Academy for “Take Your Legislator to School Day”
Last week I had the opportunity to join many of my colleagues at a fantastic Take Your Legislator to School Day at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). I met several students from the 81st District and saw the amazing work they do at this important educational institution in our State. These bright students are our future!
Illinois Notched 40,400 STEM Graduates in 2016
The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, utilizing data from LinkedIn, tracks Illinois higher education graduation choices and numbers. In the Fall 2017 “Talent Index” report, the Coalition reports a record number of Illinois higher education graduates in fields relating to high-tech economic growth.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) study fields are often treated as proxies for the ability of a recent graduate of higher education to contribute to the evolving high-tech economy. The 40,400 STEM degrees awarded in Illinois in 2016 represent 31.8% of all Illinois graduates, which compares favorably with the parallel ratio of 28.3% posted by U.S. 2016 graduates as a national group. Illinois’ numbers indicate that Prairie State institutions of higher education are outpacing the higher education infrastructure of the U.S. as a whole in the encouragement of growth-oriented educational pathways.
Within this overall STEM graduation population, 3,300 degrees were awarded in computer science. This record number of Illinois computer science degrees made Illinois second only to California in the number of degrees awarded. Illinois institutions of higher education awarded 4.4% of total U.S. degrees awarded in 2016, but 9.9% of total U.S. computer science degrees.
Illinois Begins Bicentennial Countdown
The twelve-month period to observe Illinois’ 200th birthday as a state officially began on December 3 when Illinois turned 199. Commemoration events were held across the state, and I had the honor of singing our State Song as Governor Rauner and members of the Bicentennial Commission unveiled the Illinois Bicentennial flag at the Bicentennial kickoff celebration at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonder Fest.
Then, on Monday, December 4, I joined officials from the Village of Downers Grove for their Bicentennial flag raising ceremony at our village hall. Governments across the state held flag raising ceremonies at noon on that day, marking the beginning of a year-long celebration of Illinois history.
The Illinois Bicentennial Commission is coordinating a program of events in locations throughout the state to celebrate the milestone. More events are expected to be added as Illinois approaches the actual birthday on December 3, 2018. This birthday commemorates passage by Congress of the law that admitted Illinois to the Union as the 21st state on December 3, 1818. Illinois was one of the states planned by President Thomas Jefferson as his proposal for the future of what had been the frontier “Northwest Territory.” By 1818 Jefferson had left office, but his friend and successor President James Monroe led the actual admission of Illinois into the national union of states.
Olsen Speaks to Youth Advisory Council
On December 5 I had an opportunity to speak with a group of engaged high school students from Senator John Curran’s (R-Downers Grove) Youth Advisory Council. I spoke to the group about the importance of becoming an involved citizen and how they can make a difference in government. The respectful and thoughtful dialogue these students engaged in should set an example for public policy discussions in our community. Many thanks to Senator Curran for inviting me!
Opioid Help Line Launched to Fight Drug Crisis
A statewide helpline has been launched to provide immediate assistance for those impacted by addiction to opioids and other substances. The helpline can be accessed free of charge by dialing 1-833-2FINDHELP.
The helpline will provide a confidential outlet for individuals experiencing opioid use disorders, their families and anyone affected by the disease. It will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specialists trained in evidence-based approaches to help connect callers with treatment and recovery-support services.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) data show opioid overdoses killed 1,946 people in Illinois in 2016 — more than one and a half times the number of homicides and nearly twice the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In addition, data from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) estimates that approximately 248,000 Illinois residents need, but do not receive, treatment for illicit drug use.
The Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances is funded by federal grant dollars that the State of Illinois secured from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Opioid State Targeted Response grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
Olsen Attends Local Ribbon Cuttings for New Downers Grove Businesses
I recently had an opportunity to celebrate the official opening and ribbon cutting of Home and Manor, a new home décor shop in Downers Grove. It was a pleasure to join officials from Chamber630 at the event and to speak with the owners of this new business.
Last week I also attended a ribbon cutting for the new Ashley Home-Store in Downers Grove. This new addition to the Butterfield Road shopping corridor will also be an asset to the area. I try to attend these ribbon cuttings whenever I can and enjoy celebrating renewed economic activity in and around the 81st District. Best wishes for many years of success serving the people of the 81st District and beyond to both of these businesses!
|David S. Olsen