I have worked in the legislature to both support and promote legislation that protect the environment. I am fortunate to serve as vice chair of the senate’s environment committee where I can work on this issue that I care about deeply.
- I passed through the House and Senate SB99, a bill that will allow food scraps to be composted commercially in Illinois, much like yard waste. This bill will allow restaurants, businesses, and even individuals to have food scrap to be picked up and transported off site to be turned into compost – a valuable soil amendment.
- I was a co-sponsor of an e-waste recycling bill that passed in 2008 that will increase the recycling of electronic waste in Illinois.
- The Lead Sinker Education Program SB 1269 which I introduced and passed in 2009 creates a state education program to encourage the use of alternatives to fishing products that endanger the wildlife and human health.
- To encourage green building in the capitol bill, I introduced and passed the SJR36 which urges the consideration of environmental issues in the capital construction bill to create green jobs to make a sustainable infrastructure.
- SB1769, a bill I worked on with the Safer Pest Control Project, creates new notice provisions when a school or day care sprays pesticides on areas where children will be present.
- SB236 ends the need of a title and registration for electric bicycles in order to end conflicting laws and to ultimately encourage usage.
- Along with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and several other legislators, I played an active role in pushing the state of Illinois to finish its Coastal Management Plan and receive federal funding for Great Lakes protection.
Illinois must continue to implement cleaner, sustainable energy strategies and promote efficient transportation and land use approaches that preserve our natural resources, produce cleaner air, and create additional jobs. The Urban Land Institute recently published a report warning that that if sprawling development continues to fuel growth in driving, the projected 59% growth in miles driven by 2030 will overwhelm expected gains from vehicle efficiency and low-carbon fuels.
The Chicago region is projected to expand by nearly 2 million people (25%) by 2030. Our current mass transit system is not prepared for this growth, with deferred maintenance already slowing train service on many portions of our rail lines and many aging stations. The current funding crisis threatens cuts in service and further underinvestment in capital needs. The Midwest area is also still dependent on coal-fired power plants for 75% of its energy – our dirtiest source of energy.
The 7th Senate District includes several miles of breathtaking waterfront beaches, parks, and condominiums. It is also park poor. One of my goals will be to increase park and recreational opportunities throughout the district, including safe playgrounds and beaches accessible to the physically challenged.
Lake Michigan also provides drinking water for everyone in the district. Protecting this resource is the responsibility of every elected official, each in their own sphere of governmental influence.
As your Illinois State Senator, my responsibility for lakefront protection falls into two broad categories. The first consists of being on the alert for development proposals, such as at the BP Amoco Refinery that recently threatened lakefront ecology. The second is standing fast in favor of the people of our neighborhoods who use the parks, beaches and otherwise enjoy our proximity to the lake.
Because the lakefront geography differs between Rogers Park and Edgewater, a two pronged plan can best accommodate all residents. The key to a unified philosophy within the 7th District lies in respecting the views of both communities, and above all listening when residents speak of their vision for our shared resource. To help ensure that this continues, I commit to the following:
- I will remain vigilant and aggressively oppose environmentally destructive lakefront development proposals.
- I will swiftly and accurately inform voters about pending State and Federal proposals in time to give residents a chance to make their voices heard.