CHICAGO – On Wednesday, state Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, took the oath of office in Springfield, pledging to continue his efforts to protect our most vulnerable residents from devastating budget cuts.
In 2016, D’Amico fought for a responsible budget that would help vulnerable residents, such as seniors, survivors of domestic abuse, and children, while also asking multi-millionaires pay their fair share. The negative effects of the budget impasse – including the state kicking 70,000 children off child-assistance programs, blocking 15,000 women from receiving breast cancer screenings, and forcing colleges to lay off 1,000 employees due to budget cuts – left D’Amico frustrated and angry over the lack of progress.
“Listen, as a father and long-time community leader, it sickens me to see the effects that the budget impasse is having on our children, veterans and seniors,” D’Amico said. “We passed seven budget bills by using bi-partisan working groups, and now the governor refuses to negotiate unless we pass his agenda that will break the backs of the middle class. I won’t turn my back on them.”
D’Amico views passing a budget as largely connected to growing Illinois’ economy. In the past two years, the amount of unpaid bills to schools, social service agencies and other vendors that rely on the state has increased by $10 billion – forcing them to shut their doors or lay off employees. This has hit close to home for D’Amico, as local schools such as Northeastern Illinois University, in addition to other human services are located in his district and serve his residents.
“The bottom line is that we won’t get Illinois’ economy going without a budget. Companies want a highly educated workforce, strong infrastructure and world-class resources. We have all of those components right her in our backyard, but they’re hesitant,” said D’Amico. “Employers are not going to want to invest in a state currently at a standstill because we can’t all agree that funding victims of sexual assault, women’s health services and child care is important. We need to get this budget deal done.”
D’Amico will also continue to focus on legislation that removes power from politicians and special interests and hand it back to the people. For example, D’Amico cosponsored legislation in 2016 that would create an elected Chicago school board, reform how Illinois draws its legislative districts and limit the power of politicians to raise taxes after an election.
“Too many elected officials fall out of touch with their residents,” D’Amico said. “I have proudly lived in the this community my entire life: I was raised here, I went to college here at Northeastern Illinois University and I continue to believe it is the privilege of a lifetime to serve the hard working men and women of this district in Springfield.”
When D’Amico is not in Springfield he spends time engaging with constituents, such as by walking door to door through the neighborhoods in his district or by providing constituent services. Services from 2016 included D’Amico holding property tax seminars and securing a large shred truck to allow residents to safely dispose of sensitive documents. D’Amico looks forward to the same level of engagement with his constituents in 2017.