Honoring Veterans; State Government Update

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

First things first: today is Veteran’s Day, and Chicago is home to the National Veteran’s Art Museum at 4041 N. Milwaukee. Today at 3 pm, they will unveil the 100 Faces of War Experience exhibit, which is a series of portraits of people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The website is at www.nvam.org . Disability is a very common experience among those who have served in the armed forces all over the world, so we hope you take a moment to honor our veterans. Access Living is also proud of our veterans who are on staff.

Second, as many of you know, after last week’s election things are moving rapidly for the transition of our state government from the stewardship of Governor Quinn to that of Governor-Elect Rauner in January. We would like to applaud the Quinn administration for their hard work to further community living for people with disabilities, and we look forward to working with the new administration to ensure that what we have achieved is sustained. While no state administration is ever perfect, the Quinn administration has been noteworthy for taking on disability issues at a high level.

Governor Quinn has named his Chief of Staff Ryan Croke to manage the transition for the current administration. Governor-Elect Rauner has been moving very quickly to name his transition team. Many of you have been curious as to who is on the team.

The members are as follows:

Governor Jim Edgar

Bill Daley – Managing Partner and head of U.S. operations, Argentiere Capital LP, former White House Chief of Staff

Glenn Poshard – Former President, Southern Illinois University; former U.S. Congressman

Rev. James Meeks – Founder and Senior Pastor, Salem Baptist Church of Chicago; former Illinois State Senator

Manny Sanchez – Founder and Managing Partner, Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP; Co-Chair, Latinos for Obama

Doug Oberhelman – CEO and Chairman, Caterpillar Inc.

State Representative Jill Tracy – 94th District, Illinois House of Representatives

Ron Huberman – Operating Executive, Prairie Capital; former Superintendent and CEO, Chicago Public Schools

Phyllis Wise – Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jim Alexander – President, Illinois State Police Command Officer’s Association (ISPCOA)

Congressman Aaron Schock – Representative, 18th Congressional District of Illinois

Arabel Alva Rosales – President, AAR & Assocs., LTD.

Ron Gidwitz – Partner, GCG Partners

John Gates – Chairman and CEO, PortaeCo, LLC.

Pastor Corey Brooks – Founder, New Beginnings Church of Chicago

Rob Funderburg – Chairman and owner, Alpine Bank

Mark Cozzi- Managing Partner, Lincoln Park Capital Group

Tony Anderson – Retired Vice Chairman and Midwest Managing, Partner Ernst & Young

Sarah Frey-Talley – President, CEO Frey Farms

Gloria Cardenas Cudia – President and Founder, Salsa Business Network

Jim Schultz – Founder of Open Prairie and Managing Director of Open Prairie Ventures I and II

Dr. Willie Wilson – Chairman, Chicago Baptist Institute International (CBII)

Eleni Bousis – Board Chair for the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, Entrepreneur of Frontida (CARE) Institution supporting and assisting women and families in need and Board Member for Leadership 100 and the Little City Foundation.

Ryan Ruskin- President and COO, Ruskin Group

Beth Christie – Founder and CEO, Avent America

Ed McMillan – Principal and CEO, McMillan L.L.C; former President and CEO of Purina Mills Inc.

Andrea Brown – Member of the Illinois State Board of Education, former Regional Superintendent, teacher and administrator

Naturally, legislative advocacy at this time is focused towards veto session during the week before Thanksgiving and the week after Thanksgiving. The top issue for Access Living is whether our legislators will ensure that there is enough funding for disability services by extending the 5% income tax rate. Stay tuned for updates on that topic.

Again, Access Living looks forward to furthering opportunities for people with disabilities and defending our right to live in the community. Have an excellent Veteran’s Day.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living