Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

Wilcox Recognizes Night Shift Nurses at Northwestern McHenry During Nurses Week

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Last week was National Nurses Appreciation Week and hospitals across the country took steps to make sure their nurses knew they were valued and appreciated. I wanted to make sure the night shift nurses were also feeling special, so on Thursday evening I visited Northwestern Hospital McHenry and dropped off chocolate covered strawberries from McHenry’s Riverside Chocolate Factory.

Nurses are frontline healthcare heroes who work long hours to help keep us healthy. It was an absolute pleasure to thank them personally during Nurses Appreciation Week.

Senate Moves to Formally Recognize Space Force as Official Military Branch

The Illinois Senate recently advanced legislation to formally recognize the United States Space Force as an official branch of the United States Armed Forces. House Bill 5640 changes state law to include the Space Force wherever the Armed Forces are mentioned.

The United States Space Force, established on December 20, 2019, is designated as an armed force within the Department of the Air Force. The Space Force’s mission is to ensure the U.S. can operate freely in space, manage space operations, and protect American interests. 

This legislation passed out of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee unanimously on May 2 and now advances to the Senate floor for further action. 

“My Inspirational Teacher” Essay Contest Winners Announced

Thank you to everyone who participated in my first annual “My Inspirational Teacher” Essay Contest. Middle School/Junior High School students were offered an opportunity to submit a 250-500-word essay about the one teacher who has had the greatest impact on their educational journey so far, and we received several moving testimonials about teachers who have made a real difference in their lives.

We had three winning essays this year, and they were written by (shown L-R in the photo above):

  • Ryleigh Tadelman, Bernotas Middle School
  • Max Seymour, Bernotas Middle School
  • Evan Mann, Matthews Middle School

You can read their essays here.

ISAC Provides Free FASFA Help for Students

High school students can access valuable resources to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). 

The FAFSA form is an application process that determines how much federal financial aid a student is eligible to receive, which could include grants, scholarships, work-study funds, and loans.

ISAC aims to ensure that every student, especially high school seniors navigating the challenges of FAFSA, is aware of the free assistance available for financial aid and college planning. It’s important for students intending to pursue post-high school education this fall to know that there is still time to apply for financial aid.

Students can visit ISAC’s website for free assistance with the college planning and financial aid process—including help completing the FAFSA or Alternative Application for IL Financial Aid. 

Law Enforcement Appreciation Month

In observance of Law Enforcement Appreciation Month this May, the Illinois State Police, together with law enforcement agencies across the state, are honoring the dedication and sacrifices of police officers. 

This annual month of recognition was created to unite in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, to honor current and former officers, and to extend support to law enforcement personnel and their families. It’s also an occasion for citizens to express gratitude to the dedicated individuals who safeguard our communities while facing the inherent risks of police work.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, law enforcement ranks consistently among the top ten most hazardous jobs in the United States. In 2021 alone, the nation mourned the loss of 159 officers, with approximately 40% of fatalities resulting from assaults or homicides and another 40% from transportation incidents.

Throughout the month, the Illinois State Police will be active on social media, sharing images and posts from various events designed to celebrate and recognize the brave men and women in law enforcement. 

Craig Wilcox

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