The following legislative update was issued by the office of Rep. Chris Welch (D-7th):
WESTCHESTER, Ill. – State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, D-Hillside, reflected on his accomplishments after finishing his first year as representative of the 7th House District and outlined plans for the upcoming legislative session,
“During my first year, I worked with local residents and leaders to attack some of the problems that our district has faced for years involving education, public safety and a lack of resources,” Welch said. “The 7th District contains many diverse communities, resulting in some unique challenges. I’ve worked to ensure that my office has been able to fully address residents’ concerns and serve the needs of the west suburban area.”
Welch has taken several critical votes since taking office last January. He supported landmark legislation to reform the state’s pension system and provided a crucial vote to bring marriage equality to Illinois. Welch sponsored several bills that have been signed into law, including a gang crime witness protection program that would protect those who assist in the prosecution of gang members from retaliation. Additionally, he sponsored House Bill 2768 to increase communication between schools and law enforcement agencies in order to protect students from gang activity, and House Bill 129 to create ‘Bring your Parents to School Day’ to encourage parent involvement in schools.
Most recently, Welch spearheaded efforts to reopen the Maywood Public Library. He also created a library advisory committee to garner community support and bring new ideas to improve the library’s operations and fiscal standing. Welch was able to bring state, city and business leaders together in order to find a suitable agreement that allowed the library to reopen after closing due to fiscal constraints.
“One of the things I’ve learned in the past year is that creating local partnerships and including residents in discussions makes it possible to resolve issues quickly and to the benefit of the entire community,” Welch said. “After talking with my constituents, I have identified a number of issues that I plan to take on during this upcoming legislative session, including equal access to education and securing living wages for workers across our state.”
Numerous studies have shown that a child’s earliest years of development, when his or her mind is still forming, are the most critical. In the coming year, Welch intends to focus on expanding the number of schools that offer full-day kindergarten classes in order to improve early childhood development.
Welch is also a proud supporter of raising the minimum wage and plans to fight to ensure that workers are paid a fair wage that allows them to raise a family. Illinois’s minimum wage is currently just $8.25 per hour, or roughly $16,500 per year for a full-time worker.
“I encourage local residents to continue contacting my office to report issues in their neighborhoods or to seek assistance with state-related concerns. Residents should also call my office with any suggestions for the upcoming legislative session.” VFP