Thousands Come Out for Annual Bonfield Express 5K in Downers Grove
Thanksgiving morning, I joined thousands of runners for the 14th Annual Bonfield Express 5K through the streets of Downers Grove. It has become a wonderful community tradition, as we all come together in thanks to raise money for the Bonfield Express Foundation, a local charity that provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors to help build future community leaders. Through the generosity of donors, the Foundation has distributed more than $400,000 in scholarships and has also begun funding programs for local grade school students. I’m shown in the picture above with Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully, residents Tim Werner and Tim Harms, and my father Jerry Olsen.
In the days leading to Thanksgiving, my office had an opportunity to join several public officials from throughout DuPage County to help pack Thanksgiving meals at Loaves and Fishes for families in need in our community. Projects like these are so very important, and remind us all of how truly blessed we are to be part of a wonderful and giving community.
On Friday, November 24, hundreds of people gathered for the official tree lighting ceremony in downtown Downers Grove at the Main Street Plaza. With spring-like temperatures on hand, Santa made a guest appearance and helped Mayor Tully light the tree as we all enjoyed music from the Downers Grove Choral Society, the Avery Coonley School a capella singers, and the Downers Grove North High School marching band.
Representative Olsen Chosen to Serve on Sexual Discrimination & Harassment Task Force
Sexual harassment and discrimination are issues that we must address, not only in Springfield, but across the state. As lawmakers we must take steps to ensure that women and men are respected in the workplace. We must lead by example and show a unified commitment to changing the culture in and around the Capitol.
It is an honor to be chosen to serve on a sexual discrimination and harassment task force that was recently created to address this issue in Springfield. The bipartisan House committee, approved during veto session through the passage of HR 687, requires a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment in both the public and private sectors. The group will also make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding ways to amend current law or adopt new policy to make clear the behaviors that would be deemed unacceptable, while also improving the method by which complaints can be brought forward and heard. In addition to reviewing the problem and suggesting legislative remedies, the task force will also present a comprehensive report to the General Assembly no later than December 31, 2018.
Giving Tuesday Offers Opportunities for End-of-Year Charitable Donations
This Tuesday, November 28 is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving to worthwhile charitable organizations across the state, nation and globe. Celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a coordinated event that promotes the act of charitable giving during the holidays. Whether you like to donate to large organizations or prefer to channel your donation dollars locally, Giving Tuesday allows us all an opportunity to participate in holiday and end-of-the-year giving. Click here to be directed to a database of local organizations and non-profits.
Olsen Visits O’Neill Middle School to Talk with 8th Grade Students
On November 20 I had a wonderful time speaking with Mr. Jones’ and Mrs. Brost’s eighth grade social studies classes at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove about Illinois state government and how laws are made in our State. These students were really engaged and had great questions. I have no doubt that these future community leaders will be the next leaders in business, government, and not-for-profits!
Rep. Olsen to Host Mobile Office Hours in Naperville
This Thursday, November 30, I am hosting mobile office hours from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM at the Naper Library, located at 200 Naper Boulevard in Naperville. In addition being available for short one-on-one conversations with constituents, my staff and I will be available to help residents with their concerns and issues involving state agencies and programs. I hold mobile office hours throughout the 81st District regularly. It’s a great way to learn about my constituents’ concerns and priorities so I can be their voice in Springfield. No appointment is needed. For additional information, please call my office at (630) 737-0504 or visit www.repolsen.com.
Nation’s Largest Steelmaker Announces Plans for Major Expansion of Illinois Mill
Nucor Corporation announced earlier this month that it will build a full-range merchant bar quality (MBQ) mill at its existing bar steel mill located in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The MBQ mill will have an annual capacity of 500,000 tons and is expected to cost $180 million. The project will take approximately two years to complete. My colleague, State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee), was a leading voice in the effort to land the massive Nucor merchant bar expansion. According to Rep. Parkhurst, it was a coordinated and multifaceted effort that included Nucor, Governor Rauner, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity (DCEO), to garner support for and ultimately the selection of Bourbonnais Nucor for the expansion. The project will be a tremendous asset not only to Parkhurst’s 79th Legislative District, but to the entire region.
The Midwest region is one of the largest markets for MBQ products, and Nucor is ideally situated to take advantage of existing operating and commercial capabilities to meet this regional demand. This project will allow Nucor to fully utilize the Company’s existing bar mill by optimizing its melt capacity and infrastructure that is already in place. It will also take advantage of an abundant scrap supply in the region, as well as the Company’s commercial footprint in the central United States. Nucor Steel Kankakee, Inc. will continue to be a supplier of quality reinforcing bar products.
Olsen Joins House Republican Leader Durkin for Tour of UI Labs
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to join House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for a tour of UI Labs in Chicago, an innovation accelerator that brings together business, universities and governments to work collaboratively on the latest technology challenges in manufacturing and other industries. This cutting edge organization helps ensure our region remains competitive for job growth and retention.
Hotline and Network of Legal Services Launched to Assist Veterans and Service Members
Judicial, government and civic leaders have announced the launch of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), the first-ever statewide hotline and network of legal support services for veterans, active-duty military, National Guard, reservists and their dependents. Through the IL-AFLAN, veterans and military personnel can obtain free legal help for urgent family, housing and consumer problems, as well as issues such as discharge upgrades and benefit appeals.
The free hotline can be accessed at 1-855-452-3526 (1-855-ILAFLAN) and is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Serving as the entry point to the IL-AFLAN, the hotline will offer legal advice and brief services and then connect veterans and military personnel to legal aid providers near their community. Nine organizations, spanning every major area of the state, have received grants to provide legal aid services as part of the IL-AFLAN. To be eligible for services through this new program, veterans and active duty military members need to have an income less than 80 percent of the Chicago area median income. For a family of four, this translates into $63,000 annually.
Olsen Presents Local Eagle Scout with House Recognition
Two weeks ago it was my pleasure to speak at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Joseph Nelson at St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic Church in Downers Grove. In addition to providing comments about the importance of volunteer work and community involvement, I presented this new Eagle with a certificate of achievement from the House of Representatives. We are very fortunate to have service-oriented youth like Joseph living in our area. They are truly the next generation of leaders!
Healthcare Enrollment Deadline Approaching
Health insurance is now a federal mandate, I want to remind people of the December 15th deadline for healthcare enrollment. The enrollment period is now open, and those who need to renew their plan or sign up for a healthcare plan must do so before December 15.
All health plans available can be viewed through healthcare.gov, and cover health, mental health, and substance abuse services. Benefits for each plan level vary, so be sure to review all options carefully. Financial help is also available for those who sign up on the website, and it has been noted that 8 out of 10 people typically qualify for some financial help.