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December
2003


December 31, 2003
Governor announces state’s tax amnesty program now nation’s most successful ever
Total payments reach $532 million
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced updated figures that show Illinois taxpayers paid $532 million in late, accelerated and new tax debts during the recently completed Illinois Tax Amnesty program, making it the most successful program of its kind in the country.


December 31, 2003
New Laws Take Effect on New Year’s Day
Senior Drug Buying Club, Seat Belt, Elder Abuse, Environmental, Female Contraception are some laws to start
CHICAGO – During his first year in office, Governor Blagojevich pushed for and signed into law landmark legislation from raising the minimum wage to protecting elders from abuse to ensure women’s access to contraceptives and to improving road safety. These laws and others will take effect New Year’s Day.


December 31, 2003
100 Accomplishments of 2003
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich State of Illinois
100 Accomplishments of 2003


December 31, 2003
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES GRANTS TO IMPROVE THREE LAKES IN SOUTHWESTERN ILLINOIS
Opportunity Returns Grants Enhance Regional Tourism and Recreation
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich announced today that three communities in Southwestern Illinois are receiving almost $110,000 in Opportunity Returns grants from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to make important improvements to local lakes in Greenville, Maryville and Marine that will help attract more recreational users.


December 30, 2003
STATEMENT FROM GOV. ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH
“I commend President Bush for recognizing the serious health risks posed by ephedra, and for instituting a nationwide ban on the dangerous herbal supplement. His decisive action on this issue will save countless lives and spare many others from the devastating medical problems that can result from ephedra use.


December 30, 2003
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CRITICAL JOB TRAINING GRANTS FOR THE ROCK RIVER VALLEY REGION
Improving the skills of more than 530 local employees in Northern Stateline region
ROCKFORD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced two new workforce-training grants in the Northern Stateline region as a part of his historic regional economic development plan, Opportunity Returns. Good Will Abilities Center, a non-profit, community based organization in Rockford, will receive almost $60,000 to provide skills enhancement services to workers at local companies. The center offers a wide range of training services, including vocational assessment, counseling, and job-seeking services. Good Will Abilities Center also subcontracts for area businesses in the manufacturing sector in areas such as assembly, packaging, and quality inspection. An estimated six companies and 320 employees will participate in the training projects.


December 30, 2003
Blagojevich signs fall supplemental appropriation bill
Increased federal dollars for homeland security and AIDS drugs
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a fall supplemental spending bill that includes $169 million in new federal dollars earmarked to improve the state’s homeland security and provide life-saving prescription drugs to uninsured and underinsured persons living with HIV/AIDS.


December 29, 2003
Governor announces new Deadbeat Website brings in $37,000 to parents in first month
High Tech Tool Targets Child Support Scofflaws owing more than $5,000
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state's new Deadbeat parents Web site has recovered more than $37,000 in past due child support in its first month of operation.


December 29, 2003
Governor announces release of $1.25 million for the City of Streator
Funds to be used for new police and fire station
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today authorized the release of $1.25 million to the City of Streator to assist in establishing a new police and fire station. The new facility, to be constructed at the east edge of the City’s central business district, will consist of a new state-of-the-art combined police and fire department and will include a senior citizens services center.


December 29, 2003
Governor announces release of grant funds for Grayville High School
$150,000 to be used to construct addition to school
CHICAGO- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today authorized release of a $150,000 state grant to Grayville Community Unit School District (CUSD) #1 to assist with construction of an addition to the district’s high school.


December 29, 2003
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH NAMES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR WEST CENTRAL ILLINOIS
Governor Selects Former Macomb Mayor Thomas Carper to Lead Unprecedented Economic Stimulus Plan in Nine-County Area
Macomb-Governor Blagojevich today named Thomas Carper as the regional director for the West Central region for Opportunity Returns, his historic, regional economic development plan. Carper, who recently concluded a twelve-year term as mayor of Macomb, will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Governor’s new economic initiative designed to spur economic growth in the nine-county beltway along the Mississippi River between the Quad Cities and St. Louis.


December 29, 2003
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES KEY OPPORTUNITY RETURNS JOB TRAINING GRANT FOR SOUTHWEST ILLINOIS
Freeburg – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a nearly $52,000 Opportunity Returns workforce-training grant to Hubbell, Inc, a manufacturer of electrical enclosures, to teach 76 employees a variety of welding skills. Hubbell is based in Freeburg, a town located in the Southwestern region of the Governor’s ten-region Opportunity Returns initiative - the regional economic development plan that he rolled out in his visit to the Metro East community earlier this month. As a result of this new training program, Hubbell expects to increase productivity and generate an 11% net sales increase.


December 26, 2003
Governor Restores Solvency To Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
Labor and Business work together on innovative solvency strategy
CHICAGO – Seeking to resolve and prevent future financial problems with the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF), Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation, House Bill 810, today that overhauls the way the UI system is financed. The new law restores solvency to the exhausted fund; expects to save the state $250 million in federal interest payments; prevents Illinois employers from paying more than $1 billion in federal taxes and penalties; and minimizes the financial impact on Illinois’ unemployed workers.


December 24, 2003
Governor authorizes release of funds to reduce alcohol related traffic fatalities
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recently authorized the release of $1,998,640 in federal highway safety funds to help law enforcement agencies throughout the state fund local alcohol programs.


December 24, 2003
Governor releases funds for Champaign traffic safety program
Money targeted for community education and awareness
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich today announced the release of $62,308 in federal highway safety funds to the Champaign/Urbana Health Department for a Child Passenger Safety Resource Center. The grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety.


December 24, 2003
Governor releases over $100,000 to promote safe cycling
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich recently authorized the release of $123,291 in federal highway safety funds to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) for a bicycle safety program for the city of Chicago.


December 24, 2003
Governor authorizes release of more than $500,000 to increase road safety
Money targeted for community education and awareness
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the release of $502,378 in the form of two federal highway safety grants to Eastern Illinois University (EIU) to fund its alcohol and highway safety programs.


December 24, 2003
Governor announces release of more than $20 million to keep Illinois roads safe
Illinois Department of Transportation to fund various driver-safety projects
SPRINGFIELD, ILL—Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), today announced the release of more than $20.3 million in federal highway safety funds to state agencies and local government organizations throughout Illinois as outlined in the FY 2004 Illinois Highway Safety Plan.


December 24, 2003
Governor releases funds to educate kids of the dangers of driving drunk
Local school kids participate in spreading the message
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. --Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich authorized today the release of $31,600 in federal highway safety funds to fund the Sangamon County Regional Office of Education’s local alcohol program.


December 23, 2003
Blagojevich signs bill to repeal special interest language ruled unconstitutional
Governor approves other measures passed during fall veto session
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that removes from state statutes special interest language signed in 1999 by former Gov. George Ryan to protect soft drink distributors and bottlers that was struck down as unconstitutional earlier this year by a federal court.


December 23, 2003
Kankakee County Receives Grant for Disaster Planning
Funds allow county to compete nationwide for disaster assistance
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Kankakee County will receive $52,500 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to assist the county in developing a county disaster mitigation plan.


December 23, 2003
Macon County receives grant for emergency nuclear planning
Grant to be used in relation to Clinton Nuclear Power Station
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Macon County will receive a grant totaling $3,910 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to help defray emergency response preparedness expenses related to the Clinton Nuclear Power Station.


December 23, 2003
Adams County Receives Grant for Disaster Planning
Funds to be used towards creating federally compliant disaster mitigation plan
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Adams County will receive $23,512 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to assist the county in developing a county disaster mitigation plan.


December 23, 2003
City of Chicago Receives Grant for Disaster Planning
Funds to help city compete nationwide for disaster assistance
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the City of Chicago will receive $82,875 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to assist the city in developing a disaster mitigation plan.


December 23, 2003
Lake County Receives Grant for Disaster Planning
Funds will allow county to compete nationwide for disaster assistance
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Lake County will receive $37,500 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to assist the county in developing a county disaster mitigation plan.


December 23, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn welcomed home an Army Reserve unit returning from Iraq, including 1st Sgt. Anthony Marcukaitis, who made headlines when he was fired by his employer while on active duty in Iraq.
CHICAGO-- Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn welcomed home an Army Reserve unit returning from Iraq, including Army Reserve 1st Sgt. Anthony Marcukaitis, who was fired by his employer while on active duty there. Quinn will remind Illinois employers they may not fire National Guard members or reservists under federal law.


December 23, 2003
Governor announces start of new health effort to improve women’s cardiovascular health
First demonstration project in DuPage County; three other downstate sites to begin recruiting low-income women in 2004
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced recruitment is underway in DuPage County for women between the ages of 40 and 64 to participate in a national pilot program designed to improve their cardiovascular health that the state eventually hopes to expand statewide.


December 22, 2003
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH NAMES OPPORTUNITY RETURNS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR NORTHERN STATELINE REGION
Governor Selects Local Business Leader Steven Bois to Lead Unprecedented Economic Stimulus Plan in Four-County Area
Rockford - Governor Blagojevich today named Steven Bois as the regional director for the Northern Stateline region for Opportunity Returns, his historic, regional economic development plan. Bois will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Governor’s new economic initiative designed to spur growth in the Rock River Valley region. The plan was first rolled-out by Governor Blagojevich in October in Rockford and has already yielded positive early results. The Northern Stateline region encompasses Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties.


December 22, 2003
Governor Blagojevich saves $41 million in taxpayer dollars
Illinois Department of Public Aid Inspector General deploys high tech tools to crack down on health care cheats State to team up with Feds to uncover Medicaid double billing
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich directed the Illinois Department of Public Aid’s (IDPA) to investigate Medicated fraud resulting in more than $27 million in overpayments to health care providers and preventing an additional $14.2 million worth of improper payments, according to year-end estimates released today.


December 22, 2003
Blagojevich and Emanuel ask HHS Secretary Thompson to let Illinois import approved Canadian prescription drugs
Illinois would become first state to take advantage of provision in new Medicare law that gives HHS authority to approve importation pilot projects Blagojevich and Minn. Gov. Pawlenty plan prescription drug summit for nation’s governors
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) today announced Illinois is submitting a formal request to U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Tommy Thompson asking to launch the first federally-approved drug importation pilot program. While the new Medicare law fails to grant broad approval for prescription drug importation, it does include language giving the Secretary of HHS authority to certify that importation at a demonstration project-level are safe.


December 22, 2003
Introduction of CAPT James Lovell as a spokesman for the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund
CHICAGO--- Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined by Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr.—pioneer on man’s maiden voyage to the moon on Apollo 8 and the world-watched Apollo 13 lunar mission—as Capt. Lovell re-enacts his famous 1968 Christmas Eve Broadcast to Earth with the help of two young Chicago natives who will play the part of the two other crewmen on Apollo 8. The re-enactment, composed of excerpts from the Bible’s first book – Genesis, will take place in front of the Apollo 8 spacecraft on the 35th anniversary of their flight.


December 22, 2003
Blagojevich helps cities and counties cover extraordinary costs when responding to increased security levels
Illinois has earmarked federal terrorism money to reimburse municipalities and counties for costs related to operating at an Orange security level.
CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded city and county officials that the State of Illinois has earmarked federal terrorism money to reimburse cities and counties for the extraordinary costs related to increased security levels at threat level Orange.


December 21, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn thanked “Homefront Heroes” who raised funds for the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund to help families of soldiers activated in the fight against terrorism.
NORTH RIVERSIDE, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted several citizens who raised money for the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” to help the families of soldiers activated in the fight against terrorism. Quinn also spoke to the Illinois National Guard 3625th Maintenance Company and their families on the benefits of the fund before the unit ships out for Southwest Asia early next month.


December 19, 2003
Governor Signs Bills Into Law
Friday, December 19, 2003
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law 2 bills. For more information, please visit: www.legis.state.il.us/.


December 19, 2003
New mandatory ethics training for state employees rolled out this week
CHICAGO – Today the roll-out begins of the new web-based ethics training program for the 58,000 employees in offices and agencies under the Governor’s control. Employees of Governor Rod Blagojevich’s office, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn’s office and Executive Inspector General Z. Scott’s office will test the new program between now and January 9. Between January 22 and the end of May, the remaining employees will be trained. Under the recently-signed ethics package, all state employees are required to undergo ethics training on an annual basis.


December 18, 2003
Gov. Blagojevich and House Minority Leader Cross Propose Legislation to Ban Soda and Junk Food From School Vending Machines
RIVER GROVE, IL – Citing alarming increases in health problems related to poor eating habits among children, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and House Republican Leader Tom Cross Thursday announced that they would introduce legislation banning junk food and soft-drinks from all school vending machines by January 1, 2005.


December 17, 2003
Blagojevich approves bill to allow use of voice stress analysis technology by law enforcement
Governor signs other measures approved during fall veto session
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today approved legislation that adds voice stress analysis to polygraph tests for lie detection as an investigative aid to law enforcement officers in criminal investigations.


December 17, 2003
Governor Blagojevich Brings Opportunity Returns to Southwestern Illinois
Governor’s unprecedented regional economic development plan encourages entrepreneurship, upgrades local transportation, emphasizes education and job training, and promotes tourism in innovative effort to create jobs and spark economic growth throughout the region
GODFREY – Speaking before a crowd of business, labor and civic leaders, local legislators and students at Lewis and Clark Community College, Governor Rod Blagojevich unveiled his fifth of ten new major economic plans to spur growth in the region and across the state. The Governor’s initiative, Opportunity Returns, is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. This grassroots plan is a product of significant outreach over the past several months throughout the region, with business, civic and labor leaders, and government officials.


December 16, 2003
Governor announces $1.9 million in projects for local conservation grants
Funds to be distributed across state
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than $1.9 million in grants to local units of government, education, environmental and conservation organizations through the Conservation 2000 (C2000) Ecosystems Program.


December 15, 2003
Blagojevich launches consumer credit education campaign during holiday spending season
Warns Consumers to Beware of Deceptive Credit Counseling Services
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich is launching a consumer education campaign this holiday season to help shoppers who take on excessive debt know where to look for help and how to avoid deceitful credit counseling services.


December 12, 2003
Governor Blagojevich Releases Additional Funding to help Residents Pay for Winter Heating Bills
$2 million in additional Heating Assistance on its way LIHEAP Expected to Benefit over 300,000 Illinois Households
CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois will have an additional $2 million for the winter season. The added funds will allow the program to serve an additional 4,000 households across the state.


December 12, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was joined Sgt. Garath Mills, a British-born Illinois National Guard member, who was granted United States citizenship before leaving for Iraq for active duty service
CHICAGO--- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was joined Sgt. Garath Mills- a British-born Illinois National Guard member-for the granting of U.S. citizenship before his unit, the 106th Aviation Battalion, departs for active duty service in Iraq. Mills was be granted citizenship two days after his 33rd birthday.


December 12, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn honors Indian American community leader Zehra Quadri
CHICAGO- Today Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted ZAM’s Hope President Zehra Quadri for her grassroots efforts and contributions to the community at the ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center’s third annual benefit dinner


December 11, 2003
First family hosts first-ever Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Old State Capitol
Urges Illinoisans to participate in Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign to help needy children around the state Kicks off Boys and Girls Club of Springfield’s Holiday Wish List activity
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, First Lady Patti Blagojevich and their two daughters, Amy and Annie, today joined with children from the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield to help usher in the holiday season at the state’s first tree lighting ceremony at the historic Old State Capitol.


December 11, 2003
Governor’s Task Force assembles for the first time to plan statewide comprehensive affordable housing initiative
The Illinois Housing Development Authority will lead the State’s housing policy creation, planning and implementation New housing plan to address 1.3 million needing more affordable housing
CHICAGO –Governor Blagojevich’s newly appointed Affordable Housing Task Force today held its first meeting in Illinois history and took the first steps towards creating a comprehensive statewide affordable housing plan for Illinois. The Governor created the Task Force to ensure that safe, decent and affordable housing is built where it is needed most. The Task Force will pool housing expertise and resources from around the State and coordinate it to leverage local, federal and private sector efforts to provide better affordable housing.


December 11, 2003
Governor Signs Senate Bill 20
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 20. For more information, please visit: www.legis.state.il.us/.


December 11, 2003
Blagojevich appoints Illinois poet laureate
Bradley University professor Kevin Stein announced in ceremony at state library named for last poet laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Calling the position an “ambassador for the arts in Illinois,” Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed Kevin Stein, an award-winning Bradley University professor, as the state’s fourth poet laureate.


December 11, 2003
Lt. Governor Pat Quinn and ICC commissioners urged Illinois natural gas utilities to support the Good Samaritan Initiative, a plan to help disconnected low-income customers get reconnected so they have heat this winter
CHICAGO—Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Ed Hurley, and Commissioners Lula M. Ford and Erin M. O’Connell-Diaz, urged Illinois natural gas utilities to support The Good Samaritan Initiative, a plan to help disconnected low-income customers get reconnected so they can have heat this winter. Thousands of low-income households across the state currently have heating bill arrearages with the gas company and are disconnected from services.


December 10, 2003
Blagojevich delivers on pledge to expand health care
Illinois adds more than 106,000 children, parents and seniors to KidCare, FamilyCare and SeniorCare
SPRINGFIELD – An aggressive outreach campaign sparked by Gov. Rod G. Blagojevich’s commitment to health care for the state’s most vulnerable citizens led to major enrollment gains in the state programs aimed at children, families and the elderly.


December 10, 2003
GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH ANNOUNCES A $295,000 JOB TRAINING GRANT FOR NORTHWEST ILLINOIS
Community colleges working together to upgrade workforce for 21st century
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $295,000 Opportunity Returns workforce training grant awarded to the newly formed Northwest Illinois Training Consortium (NITC). The NITC is comprised of the business and industry centers at five community colleges - Black Hawk College in Moline, Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Kishwaukee College in Malta and Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon – that serve the entire Northwest region in Opportunity Returns, the Governor’s regional economic development plan that he announced in October in East Moline. For the very first time, these community colleges worked together to secure this Opportunity Returns grant, which is being awarded through the Employer Training Investment Program’s (ETIP) Small/Mid-sized Company component and will be used to upgrade the skills of approximately 3,100 employees at an estimated 90 companies.


December 9, 2003
Governor’s Conference on Aging Looks at Change
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich invites professional service providers to the over-60 population in Illinois to the annual Governor’s Conference on Aging from Dec. 10 to 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. The conference includes numerous speakers and panels focused on the issues that affect the diverse population of 2 million older people in the state.


December 9, 2003
Blagojevich signs monumental ethics reforms into law
Comprehensive package meets goals laid-out in Governor’s spring veto; Gives Illinois real, meaningful ethics reform for the first time
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law the toughest, most comprehensive ethics reform package in the state’s history. At a ceremony in Chicago’s Bilandic State Office Building, the Governor was joined by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, Comptroller Dan Hynes, legislative leaders, the bill’s sponsors and representatives from good government organizations.


December 8, 2003
BLAGOJEVICH ENCOURAGES GROWTH OF ILLINOIS AG PRODUCTS MARKET THROUGH LAUNCH OF NEW OPPORTUNITY RETURNS WEBSITE
SPRINGFIELD– As part of his innovative Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan, Governor Rod Blagojevich is soliciting interest for a new website that gives Illinois food or agricultural producers the chance to market their company and products on the internet. The new Buy Illinois Products website, created through the Department of Agriculture, is designed to keep the agriculture product industry on top of a constantly changing and competitive market. The website will officially launch early next year.


December 8, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn visits Bloomington to welcome “Uniquely Bloomington!” into the Main Street family
BLOOMINGTON,IL - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn will visit Bloomington to congratulate and welcome the organization “Uniquely Bloomington! ” into the Main Street community that now totals 57 towns in the State of Illinois.


December 7, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn spoke to more than 450 reservists and their families who are preparing for imminent active duty overseas. Quinn will describe the new “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” which helps the families of soldiers who are activated in the fight against terrorism.
Sunday, December 7, 2003, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn spoke to more than 450 reservists and their families who are preparing for imminent active duty overseas about the new “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” to help the families of soldiers who are activated in the fight against terrorism. Quinn will speak at the Annual Holiday Training and Celebration hosted by the 85th Division Family Readiness Group at Fort Sheridan.


December 6, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted more than 400 Naval reservists returning home from active duty overseas and promote his website, www.OperationHomefront.org, to inform National Guard members, reservists and all military troops of their financial and legal rights
Saturday, December 6, 2003., Lt. Gov. Quinn saluted more than 400 Naval reservists returning home from active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and promote his website, www.OperationHomefront.org, which has garnered more than 2.4 million hits and is one of the most informative military websites regarding American troops in the country


December 5, 2003
Lt. Gov. Quinn served as keynote speaker for the first annual Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation conference – Illinois Latino Empowerment…A New Direction
CHICAGO – Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn served as keynote speaker for the first annual Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation conference where he discussed key issues affecting today’s Latino communities, including Taxpayer Action Amendment, consumer fraud and education. Quinn also outlined the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning program.


December 5, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted southern Illinois residents Kathy Williams and daughter Amy Oxford—whose husband is an Army reservist—for their mission to send thousands of holiday care packages to soldiers overseas fighting against terrorism.
On Thursday, December 4, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted Harrisburg residents Kathy Williams and daughter Amy Oxford—whose husband is an Army reservist—for their mission to send hundreds of holiday care packages to soldiers overseas in what they call the “Southern Illinois Yellow Ribbon Campaign.”


December 5, 2003
Governor announces initiatives to provide early warning of terrorist threats to agricultural industry
New Internet-based tracking system and animal terrorism hotline
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In a stepped up effort to protect Illinois’ vast agricultural resources from the threat of terrorism, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced two new initiatives to help emergency officials respond more quickly and effectively in the event of an act of agroterrorism.


December 5, 2003
Governor announces initiatives to provide early warning of terrorist threats to agricultural industry
New Internet-based tracking system and animal terrorism hotline
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In a stepped up effort to protect Illinois’ vast agricultural resources from the threat of terrorism, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced two new initiatives to help emergency officials respond more quickly and effectively in the event of an act of agroterrorism.


December 4, 2003
Lt. Governor Pat Quinn celebrates birthday of his Majesty the Emperor of Japan
CHICAGO—Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn commended Japanese Americans across the state for their contributions at a reception hosted by Consul General of Japan Mitsuo Sakaba and Mrs. Mitsuo Sakaba to celebrate the birthday of His Imperial Majesty Akihito, the Emperor of Japan.


December 4, 2003
Governor Announces Another Sign of Success in Getting State’s Fiscal Health Back on Track
Recently-completed Tax Amnesty period ranks as second most successful in nation’s history, brings in $135 million more than expected
CHICAGO – As a result of months of difficult financial decisions, changes to budgeting and management practices and forced fiscal constraint, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the state’s new approach to its role as custodian of taxpayer money is paying off. Illinois collected more than half a billion dollars in overdue and accelerated payments under the recently completed Tax Amnesty, and a number of innovative measures being taken by the Office of Management and Budget are beginning to turn around Illinois’ dire financial situation. Of the amnesty amount, approximately $135 million is over and above the initial amount of $40 million conservatively estimated by the Budget Office, and can be used to help address the FY04 budget and FY05 deficit.


December 4, 2003
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn visits Belleville Main Street to encourage energy efficiency kick-offs of initial phase of new streetscape and praises community on recent efforts to revitalize the downtown district
BELLEVILLE,IL - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn urged Belleville Main Street to focus on energy efficiency during the kick-off of the initial phase of a planned streetscape for Main Street and commend the community for their recent innovative efforts to revitalize their downtown district.


December 3, 2003
Governor Blagojevich Brings Opportunity Returns to North Central Illinois
Governor’s unprecedented economic development plan to create jobs and spur economic growth will help entrepreneurs thrive, upgrade local transportation and improve education and job training to attract new businesses throughout the region.
Peoria – Speaking before a crowd of business, labor and civic leaders as well as local legislators at the Gateway Building on Peoria’s waterfront, Governor Rod Blagojevich unveiled the fourth of ten new major economic initiatives to spur growth in the region and across the state. The Governor’s plan, Opportunity Returns, is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs to date in Illinois. This grassroots plan is a product of significant outreach over the past several months throughout the region, with business, civic and labor leaders and government officials.


December 2, 2003
Demolition Starts on Cherry Valley Toll Plaza Fulfilling Opportunity Returns Promise
Governor Blagojevich On Hand to Kick-Off Work and to Announce Additional Enhancements Planned for South Beloit Toll Plaza
ROCKFORD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich returned to Rockford today to make good on an Opportunity Returns promise to the Rock River Valley region – elimination of the southbound exit toll at the Cherry Valley Toll Plaza on the Northwest Tollway (I-90) by year’s end. These improvements are all part of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns program, a major economic initiative announced in October designed to spur growth in the Rock River Valley region. Opportunity Returns, which involves more than 20 state agencies, is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs to date in Illinois.


December 2, 2003
Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was joined by the family of Lance Cpl. Jakub Kowalik - the Polish-born U.S. Marine from suburban Niles killed in Iraq last May - for the posthumous granting of U.S. citizenship on what would have been Kowalik’s 22nd birthday.
Kowalik emigrated to the United States from Poland with his family in 1992 and attended Maine East High School in Park Ridge. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, he felt a patriotic duty to enlist in the Marines and was assigned to duty in Iraq in February, 2003. He never gained U.S. citizenship during his life.


December 1, 2003
Governor Announces $75,000 In Recycling Education Grants
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $75,000 in recycling education grants awarded to nine local units of government across the state through the Keep Illinois Beautiful program. Keep Illinois Beautiful is a part of the First Lady’s Beautification Initiative, which educates, promotes and encourages the public on the need for recycling and waste reduction.

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