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Governor Quinn Names Erica Borggren Acting Transportation Secretary PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dave Blanchette   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 11:13

Borggren Has Served as Veterans Affairs Director Since 2011; Rodrigo Garcia to Lead IDVA

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today appointed Erica Borggren as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). An Illinois native and Army veteran, Borggren has served as Director of the Illinois Department of Illinois Veterans Affairs (IDVA) since 2011.

“Erica Borggren is a proven leader who has served our state and nation with excellence and integrity,” Governor Quinn said. “From graduating first in her class at West Point, to serving as an outstanding military officer and successfully leading large organizations, I am confident she will be an exceptional Transportation Secretary. I also thank Ann Schneider for her years of hard work and dedication and wish her well.”

As Director of IDVA, Borggren managed a 1,300-person staff dedicated to serving veterans. During her tenure, IDVA has partnered with public and private partners to launch a veteran entrepreneurship program, a women veterans’ program and an interagency effort to make military training count toward state licenses.

Borggren designed and now spearheads Illinois Joining Forces, a public-private network of more than 150 organizations committed to collaborate towards making the “sea of goodwill” more navigable for Illinois veterans, servicemembers and their families. For this work, she was honored as a White House “Champion of Change” earlier this year. In 2013, Borggren was selected as a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and was also appointed to serve as the Secretary of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

Prior to leading IDVA, Borggren served as a senior staff member for Army Gen. David H. Petraeus during his time as Commanding General of Multi-National Force – Iraq and as head of United States Central Command throughout the Middle East. For her service in these missions, Borggren was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star as well as the Joint Service Achievement and Iraq Campaign Medals. She returned home to Illinois from the Middle East in 2009.

“I am deeply honored to have been asked by Governor Quinn to lead the state’s transportation mission,” Borggren said. “I look forward to serving with the IDOT team to maintain and build Illinois’ world-class infrastructure, which will create more jobs and drive economic growth for years to come."

Prior to her time in the Middle East, Borggren served in the United States Army Medical Service Corps in Yongsan, South Korea, rising as an officer in the 18th Medical Command to a Company Commander at the 121 Combat Support Hospital, for which she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

A Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar and the valedictorian of her West Point class, Borggren holds postgraduate degrees in comparative social policy and theology from Oxford University. Borggren was raised in Crystal Lake and she now resides in Chicago with her husband, Erik, and their children.

Borggren’s appointment is effective July 11.

Governor Quinn also today announced IDVA Assistant Director Rodrigo Garcia will become Acting Director of the department. A Chicago native and Marine Corps veteran, Garcia served overseas on three separate tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning multiple decorations. He holds an undergraduate degree in finance from Northeastern Illinois University and two post-graduate degrees, one in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the other in public policy from Northwestern University. Recently, Garcia completed a senior executives program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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RICHARD MARTINEZ, FATHER OF UCSB SHOOTING VICTIM, TO JOIN IOWA MOMS PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lizzie Ulmer   
Monday, 30 June 2014 16:02
DEMAND ACTION AND OTHER GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS TO DELIVER POSTCARDS INSPIRED BY HIS WORDS, DECLARING TO REPRESENTATIVES LATHAM, KING AND SENATOR GRASSLEY: “NOT ONE MORE!”

3,684 #NotOneMore Postcards Will Be Delivered to Senator Grassley, 939 to Rep. Latham and 531 to Rep. King; Nearly 2.5 Million Postcards Will Be Delivered to Elected Officials Across the Country
Just weeks after Richard Martinez carried his message that “Not One More” American should be killed by senseless gun violence to the country’s political leaders in his first visit to Washington, DC since his son Christopher Michaels-Martinez was killed in the Santa Barbara tragedy, he will join the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other gun violence survivors on Tuesday, July 1 to deliver 3,684 postcards to Senator Grassley and 939 to Representative Latham at 10:30 AM, and deliver 531 postcards to Representative King at 1:10 PM.
These postcards are part of the nearly 2.5 million postcards that were inspired by Martinez’s words: “I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: ‘Not one more.’  People are looking for something to do. I’m asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough."
Upon hearing Martinez’s call to action, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched a postcard campaign that makes it easy for Americans to automatically send postcards to their elected officials. More than 625,000 Americans signed up and for each one of them, Everytown will deliver postcards to each individual’s U.S. House representative, two U.S. Senators and governor – this means that nearly 2.5 million postcards will be delivered to demand that political leaders take action to end gun violence.

  • What: “Not One More” Postcard Delivery to IA Representative Tom Latham and Senator Chuck Grassley
  • Who: Richard Martinez, father of UCSB shooting victim Christopher Michaels-Martinez; Erica Lafferty,daughter of Sandy Hook principal, Dawn Hochsprung; State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad; and Iowa Moms Demand Action
  • When: 10:30 AM CST, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
  • Where: Federal Building, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA 50309*
    *Postcard delivery to Rep. Latham’s office will immediately follow.

  • What: “Not One More” Postcard Delivery to IA Representative Steve King
  • Who: Richard Martinez, father of UCSB shooting victim Christopher Michaels-Martinez; Erica Lafferty, daughter of Sandy Hook principal, Dawn Hochsprung; State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad; and Iowa Moms Demand Action
  • When: 1:10 PM CST, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
  • Where: 1421 S Bell Avenue, Suite 102, Ames, IA 50010


About Everytown for Gun Safety
and follow us @Everytown
About Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
or on Twitter at @MomsDemand
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LOCAL SAFETY ADVOCATE URGES COMMUNITY TO BE AWARE OF BICYCLISTS ON THE ROAD PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Corey Walker   
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:52
Tragic death of 13-year-old-bicyclist is a reminder to look twice to save a life

DES MOINES - While the death of a young man training for an upcoming triathlon was the result of a tragic accident, it is still a somber reminder that all drivers must be on the lookout for the bicyclists they share the road with.

Timothy Jenks was with seven other professional riders when he apparently lost control of his bicycle and was fatally struck by an SUV that was passing the group in a no-passing zone. He was only 13 years old.

Local safety advocate and attorney Corey Walker was devastated to learn that another accident took a cyclist's life in Iowa.

"I cannot imagine the pain that the Jenks family is going through," Corey Walker said. "From everything I read about Timothy, he had a real passion for life and part of that was through cycling. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and their community as they mourn the loss of this wonderful young man."

It is accidents like this one, along with those accidents he helps families with on a daily basis at his Des Moines law firm, that prompted him to start the Look4Bicycles campaign. As part of the campaign, he offers free bumper stickers for drivers to display on their cars to remind others to look out for bicycles on the road.

"Even if one rider is saved from injury or death because of a Look4Bicycles bumper sticker, we will have succeeded" Corey Walker said. "The more attention we can bring to accident prevention through educational materials or open dialogue, the more likely we are to keep our riders safe."

Walker is particularly concerned about the young bicyclists that drivers have the hardest time seeing, due to their small size and general unfamiliarity with the roads and their rules.

"If a tragic accident like this can happen to a seasoned rider like Timothy, I am concerned about what can happen to the novice child riders sharing the roads with drivers who may not be paying attention," Corey said.

Sadly, out of the more than 400 bicycle injuries that happen each year in Iowa, nearly 25% of the victims are under the age of 16, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation Traffic and Safety Office. Statistics from 2012 show that of the 467 bicyclists injured in Iowa alone, 116 of them were under 16 years old, and another 106 of the victims were aged 16 to 24.

The purpose of Look4Bicycles is to encourage all types of drivers to pay attention to their surroundings and keep an extra eye out for bicyclists. Majority of bicycle accidents involving other vehicles that are handled by Walker's firm, Walker, Billingsley and Bair, are caused because the other driver did not detect and recognize the cyclist in traffic, or because the other vehicle did not see the bicyclist before the collision, or they noticed the bike after it was too late to avoid the collision.

Looks4Bicycles bumper stickers are offered completely free of charge and there is no limit to the number of stickers you can request. All drivers are urged to make use of this free service to help spread the word about looking out for cyclists. Mr. Walker is also offering his time - free of charge - to speak to groups or to new driver's education classes interested in learning about bicycle safety for both riders and non-riders.

Stickers and other educational material can be obtained by visiting www.Look4Bicycle.com or by calling 515-661-5542.
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Governor Pat Quinn Statement on the Beginning of Ramadan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katie Hickey   
Monday, 30 June 2014 12:55

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on the beginning of Ramadan, which begins at sunset June 28th:

“To all Illinois families observing Ramadan, I extend my warmest wishes.

“The sacred month of Ramadan is a time of sacrifice and reflection. Ramadan offers an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to peace and justice through the power of faith.

“Illinois’ Muslim American community is rich in its diversity, and Ramadan reminds us that our common bonds far outweigh our differences.

“I wish everyone a blessed and meaningful Ramadan.”

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Simon applauds LGBT community this Pride Weekend PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ken Lowe   
Monday, 30 June 2014 12:50

Simon celebrates Pride Weekend; Marks first month of marriage equality in Illinois

“It is with celebration and congratulations that we mark the first Pride Weekend with marriage equality here in Illinois,” Simon said. “It has been a month since gay and lesbian Illinoisans have been allowed the legal protections that come with the state’s recognition of their unions. While this is a great victory for acceptance in our state, the real joy is in knowing our loved ones, friends and colleagues who are in committed same-sex relationships can finally stop planning rallies and start planning receptions.”

The new law, effective since June 1, allows marriages of same-sex couples in the State of Illinois and legally recognizes same-sex marriages from other states. Illinois had previously instituted civil unions that gave same-sex couples some marriage-like legal protections.

Simon publicly supported marriage equality in Illinois and was honored this month by Equality Illinois along with other state and city officials for their support of the law establishing marriage equality in Illinois. She applauds the efforts of activists throughout the state whose words over the years convinced the legislature to do right by its fellow Illinoisans.

Last summer, Simon joined U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago to officiate “mock” weddings of same-sex partners at North Halsted Market Days. This summer, Simon will be officiating the real wedding of two friends who are now legally allowed to marry.

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