When the new Illinois General Assembly takes office in January, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, newly elected Democratic representative for the 17th House District, hopes to have her office ready.
With any luck, she said, it will be in the same office as Laura Fine, newly elected Democratic state senator from the 9th District.
Both Glenview residents have won freshman roles in the 101st General Assembly – Fine moving to the Senate from the House seat she’s held since 2013, and Gong-Gershowitz entirely new to Springfield.
The two said they’re looking forward to navigating their new roles, and working together on issues.
Fine said her immediate focus is the current legislature’s veto session, which was set to start Tuesday. Once January rolls around, she wants to continue focusing in the Senate on the health care and environmental issues that she championed while in the House, she said.
That includes legislation covering short term limited liability health plans, that would limit such plans to six months in length and provide more information about them to potential consumers. Fine said legislation to that effect was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August.
“I’ll try to get that reintroduced,” she said.
Fine is a member of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, a group of American and Canadian representatives who advocate for the environmental health of the Great Lakes.
“Right now, with some of the actions of the EPA, especially at the federal level, that work becomes even more important,” she said.
Fine said she wants to work on issues with both Gong-Gershowitz and returning Democratic 18th House Rep. Robyn Gabel. She is also hopeful she can operate on a bi-partisan basis in Springfield.
“Most of my work has passed with bipartisan support, and I’d like that to continue,” Fine said.
Navigating the waters in the Senate will be exciting, she said.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to a change. I’m looking forward to the different ways that the Senate works compared to the House,” Fine said.
Gong-Gershowtiz said that once she’s settled, she’d like to focus on finding more ways to fund mental health care in the state, and focusing on that issue at a policy level.
That would also play into her goal to pass gun safety measures that stop the flow of assault weapons in the state, and tighten regulations so that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t have access to them, Gong-Gershowtiz said.
“My family has been impacted by gun violence. A cousin and two children were killed as a result of domestic violence, so this is very important to me,” she said.
Having a Democratic governor should help those efforts, because Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker understands the need to work with the legislature, Gong-Gershowitz said. She also said she is willing to reach across the aisle.
“A big part of our jobs is to build coalitions and find partners for our efforts. With so many new people in the legislature, in the house, I’ll be working to get to know them, and see what can be done,” she said.
Gong-Gershowitz’s desire to curb rising property taxes ties into her desire to change the way Illinois funds its schools.
“The biggest chunk of our skyrocketing property taxes goes to fund schools, so the best way to put downward pressure on taxes is by better funding education at the state level,” she said.
Feeds,Region: AH,Local,Region: Suburbs
via Deerfield Review – Deerfield Review https://ift.tt/2T8QlYA
November 12, 2018 at 11:34AM