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House Passes Braley Bill to Protect Vets’ Homes from Foreclosure PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:04

Washington, DC – Late last night, the US House approved a measure written by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) that would expand and improve protections against home foreclosure for American military veterans.  Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  The measure was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The last thing a servicemember should be worrying about while fighting for us overseas is whether a bank is foreclosing on their family’s home,” Braley said.  “The recession and housing crisis have been hard on many military men and women.  Military families are required to move from place to place, and many have been left underwater in homes that are no longer worth what they used to be.  Veterans deserve a fair shot at getting their financial house in order when they come home.  This bill provides protections against aggressive banks.”

Military homeowners have faced unique challenges during the recession.  Military families who would otherwise remain current on their mortgages are often forced to move because the military requires them to.  Because of the housing downturn, military families are often unable to sell their homes quickly at prices that will enable them to pay off their mortgages.  Many military families are also forced to make ends meet with lower housing allowances at their next duty stations, and they can lose the incomes of non-military spouses when they move.  Overseas deployments further complicate the financial picture.

To help protect military veterans while they’re deployed overseas, banks are prohibited from initiating foreclosure proceedings against veterans returning from service abroad for a period of 9 months after they return.

Braley’s bill, the Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act, would expand this foreclosure protection to one year from the date of a servicemember’s return from a deployment.

The Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act was included in a broader bill, HR 1263, that expands and reforms mortgage protections for American veterans and their spouses.  The legislation passed the House unanimously.

Video of Braley speaking in support of the Protecting Veterans’ Homes Act can be viewed at the following links:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwvPem8PFAU

Downloadable video for TV broadcast: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21501138/Braley.10.11.11.mov

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Lt. Gov. Simon collects 2,000-plus phones PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 14:11

Proceeds go toward domestic violence prevention

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will showcase the more than 2,000 phones collected last week during her HopeLine cell phone drive to benefit Springfield and Chicago domestic violence agencies. In exchange for the phones, Verizon will donate more than $10,000 to agencies and provide refurbished phones to survivors of abuse.

DATE: Tuesday, October 11
TIME: 2 p.m.
LOCATION: Lt. Governor's Office, 214 Capitol, Springfield

SATELLITE COORDINATES:
Slug: Successful Cell Phone Drive for Domestic Violence Awareness Month Media Avail
Date: 10/11/11
Time: 3:30 PM (CT) - 3:45 PM (CT)
Satellite: AMC 15KU
Transponder: 01
Slot: D9
Downlink Frequency: 11733.5
Downlink Polarization: V
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Symbol Rate: 3.978729
FEC:  3 / 4
Data Rate: 5.5
For technical assistance please call IOCI Media Services - Satellite at 217-785-5499.

 
Governor Quinn Opens First Chicago Ideas Week PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:49

Proclaims “Ideas Week” in Illinois to Support Innovation

CHICAGO – October 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today opened the first-ever Chicago Ideas Week conference and proclaimed this week “Ideas Week” in Illinois. Chicago Ideas Week is a seven-day celebration of ideas, innovation and community, that will focus on bringing the world’s best speakers together with the Midwest’s best thinkers. Today’s event follows Governor Quinn’s launch of a program last week to give Illinois entrepreneurs access to $78 million in capital for new and innovative business ideas.

“Illinois is proud to be home to some of the brightest minds in science, technology, business and education,” Governor Quinn said. “It only makes sense that the best minds in the world should come together here to develop innovative ideas and technologies that will help create the jobs of today and tomorrow to move our economy forward.”

Chicago Ideas Week was founded by Brad Keywell, chair of the Illinois Innovation Council introduced this year by Governor Quinn (www.illinoisinnovation.com), and co-founder of Groupon and Lightbank. The purpose of the conference is to bring the world’s leading visionaries together for collaboration and discussion that could lead to breakthroughs and new understanding of some of the world’s most important issues.

“This week provides a world-class platform that is designed to showcase our state as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship," said Keywell, creator of Chicago Ideas Week. ”We are thrilled by the support we've received from both the city of Chicago and Illinois state government leaders for this celebration."

The week-long celebration of ideas will take place at some of Chicago’s most prominent landmarks and will feature more than 150 key figures in business, science, health, technology, journalism, the arts, sports and government. Former President Bill Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Kasim Reed of Atlanta are among the featured speakers. For a full list of speakers and more information about each session, visit www.chicagoideas.com.

“Ideas Week” in Illinois is the latest step Governor Quinn has taken to solidify Illinois’ place as the leading state in the Midwest for entrepreneurship and innovation. Last week Governor Quinn launched the Advantage Illinois program to provide Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the capital they need to start new companies and expand existing business. Advantage Illinois will leverage $78 million in federal funding that will allow businesses to bring innovative ideas and new products to market and accelerate job creation and economic growth in Illinois. Earlier this year, the Governor created the Illinois Innovation Council with the goal of keeping Illinois on the cutting-edge of the global economy.

This year Governor Quinn’s leadership has been instrumental in expanding the availability of more than $150 million in investment capital through enactment of the Technology Development Account II, implementation of the Angel Investment Tax Credit and the Advantage Illinois program.

A copy of Governor Quinn’s proclamation is attached.

WHEREAS,                innovation has long been a hallmark of the Illinois economy, however success in today’s era requires an extensive network of support; and

 

WHEREAS                 the nature and pace of innovation have changed dramatically and our global economy is increasingly driven by our ability to find and nurture value though new products, improved processes or advanced scientific discoveries; and

 

WHEREAS,                American innovations in science and technology, fueled by public and private research investments and accelerated through entrepreneurial activity have created economic prosperity,  enhanced quality of life, and aided those who bravely provide our nation with safety and security; and

 

WHEREAS,                the Illinois Innovation Council is working to identify and advance strategies to foster and accelerate the innovation and economic growth that will create the jobs of today and tomorrow; and

 

WHEREAS,                the American Association for the Advancement of Science estimates that up to half of all economic growth in the Unites States over the past five decades is due to innovations in technology; and

 

WHEREAS,                the state’s economic growth is tied to its ability to successfully execute long-range research, development and innovation projects that address challenges facing our industries and that cultivate areas of likely scientific and technological advancement; and

 

WHEREAS,                to accelerate the innovation economy in the Midwest, the Illinois Innovation Council is advancing a common platform and fostering an ecosystem through which startups, innovation-driven enterprises, service providers, research institutions, colleges, universities and civic leaders can connect, share ideas, raise capital, and access the services and resources necessary to accelerate the growth of businesses, create new industries and generate jobs; and

 

WHEREAS,                from October 10-16, 2011, Chicago Ideas Week will bring the world’s top speaker together with Chicago’s best thinkers to create an ecosystem of innovation, exploration, and intellectual recreation.

.

 

THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby do hereby proclaim October 10-16, 2011 as CHICAGO IDEAS WEEK in Illinois, and encourage everyone in the Land of Lincoln to recognize, celebrate and support the vital role that innovation plays in the in the economic future of our state.

 
Grassley Office comments on Attorney General Holder's Response to Fast and Furious Controversy PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:28
Following is a comment from Beth Levine, spokesperson for Ranking Member Grassley, in response to the letter sent to Senators Grassley and Leahy and Congressmen Issa, Smith, Cummings and Conyers from Attorney General Holder.

“The goals of Senator Grassley’s investigation, from the first time whistleblowers brought him the allegations of wrongdoing, has been to find out who approved a stupid program and to make sure it never happened again.  He believed he owed those answers to the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, especially since the family wasn’t getting answers from the executive branch.  Instead of helping get to the bottom of the disastrous program, the Justice Department stonewalled Senator Grassley’s investigation and denied him access to documents and key personnel.  If the Attorney General had come clean with Congress from the beginning instead of having his staff send false and misleading responses to Senator Grassley’s letters (Jan. 27th letter and January 31st letter) , then the public discussion of these issues could have been more productive.

“Now, eight months after Senator Grassley personally raised the issue with him, Attorney General Holder has officially admitted that this case involved ‘weapons that should have been interdicted but were not.’  That’s quite a reversal from the Department’s initial denial, which claimed the whistleblower allegations were false and that ‘ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally.’

“Documents provided last week make clear that (1) senior officials discussed whether it would be wise for the head of the Department’s Criminal Division to attend press events given the number of guns that were walked, (2) the Attorney General’s current chief of staff took notes regarding operational details during a presentation on Operation Fast and Furious in March 2010, and (3) the connection between the guns found at Agent Terry’s murder scene and Operation Fast and Furious was immediately briefed up to the Attorney General’s current chief of staff just two days after Agent Terry’s death.

“These documents raise as many questions as they answer about which senior Department officials knew what about Operation Fast and Furious.  In addition to these documents, getting at the truth also requires taking testimony from the key officials involved.  The Attorney General’s denials of any personal knowledge will have to be tested against all the evidence as the investigation continues, just as the Department’s initial denials were.”

 
Q&A: The World Food Prize PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:04

Q:        How is The World Food Prize tied to Iowa?

A:        Two Iowans were behind creation of the World Food Prize, the international award recognizing individuals who improve the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world.  Dr. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) -- an agronomist, humanitarian, Nobel laureate (the only recipient to receive this honor for working in agriculture), and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal -- grew up in rural Cresco.  He was the father of what’s called the Green Revolution when, from the 1940s to the 1970s, research, development and new technologies increased agricultural production around the world.  Dr. Borlaug was involved with the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, and the distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to farmers.  Dramatically increasing crop yields saved hundreds of millions of people from starvation.  Dr. Borlaug’s leadership and tireless work gave the world’s poorest people access to food.  It’s said that he saved more lives than any other person in history.  Dr. Borlaug envisioned a prize as a means of recognizing and inspiring achievements in fighting world hunger.  His vision was realized in 1986, when The World Food Prize was created.  In 1990, the first sponsor of the prize withdrew, and Iowa businessman and leading philanthropist John Ruan (1914-2010) stepped forward to endow the prize, making it possible to continue Dr. Borlaug’s vision.  The World Food Prize organization is located in Des Moines.

 

Q:        Who is considered for the prize?

A:        Contributions by individuals in any field that’s involved in the world food supply – including food and agricultural science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership, and the social sciences – are recognized by The World Food Prize.  The prize values a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people.  Outstanding individuals from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States have received the prize.  It’s most fitting that this prestigious award is given each fall in Iowa.  Iowa farmers are blessed with some of the best soil in the world, and our state’s productivity and agricultural abundance have made significant contributions to global food security, humanitarian relief, economic growth, job creation and national security.

 

Friday, October 7, 2011

 
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