SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, backed a series of reforms to protect Illinois’ most vulnerable populations, including homeless and ailing Veterans and children under care of the Department of Children and Family Services during the Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative session. As a member of the House Revenue Committee, Kifowit also worked to control government spending through enhanced transparency, and supported a balanced budget that pays down over $1.4 Billion in unpaid bills.
“Middle-class families in our community are depending on lawmakers in Springfield to get Illinois back on track to fiscal prosperity,” said Kifowit. “Because families in our community continue to be burdened by high property taxes; I sponsored legislation to review the current property tax system and devise strategies to provide much-needed relief to homeowners.”
During this legislative session. Kifowit also supported a balanced budget that pays down old bills, makes a full pension payment and invests $375 million in public schools. She also worked with local officials and community groups to bring many important capital improvements to the area. She was able to provide funding for infrastructure repairs around Aurora and Oswego, including improvements to route 30. Kifowit also helped provide funding for local Oswego Schools and new infrastructure work to the Aurora and Montgomery river walks, including funding for two Veteran parks.
As chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Kifowit also advanced legislation to help Veterans access treatment for health issues related to chemical exposure from burn pits, streamlined the process of obtaining a Veteran ID and ensured all 109 Illinois airports proudly display the POW/MIA flag.
“Those who left family and friends behind to risk their lives for our country should not have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get health care for service-related ailments, nor to get a designation of their service printed on their driver’s license,” said Kifowit. “Our Veterans put their lives on hold to serve, and it’s the least our government can do to accommodate them after they’ve returned home.”
In addition to standing up for Veterans, Kifowit worked with members of her Youth Advisory Council on a proposal to increase support for students during instances of police questioning. If the interview occurs in a school setting and a resource officer uses interrogation tactics against a child, Kifowit’s House Bill 2627, which passed the IL House and Senate, has been sent to the governor’s desk, requires a parent or mental health professional to be present.
Kifowit also fought to improve outcomes for children and families who have been in contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which was under fire earlier in the year for the death of five-year-old AJ Freund of Crystal Lake, among dozens of other children whose families had been involved with the department. A member of the newly established Child Welfare Caucus, Kifowit sponsored legislation to gather feedback from children who are currently living in foster care or awaiting placement with a foster family.
“When the state removes a child from his or her own home and family who is unable to provide proper care, we have an obligation to do better for that child,” said Kifowit. “It’s unacceptable for any child to be dying while under state care, and that DCFS caseworkers have insight into deplorable, potentially violent conditions in some of these homes to which children are being returned. The goal of the Child Welfare Caucus is to improve the child welfare system in Illinois through accountability reforms that provide sufficient support to families.
Kifowit’s push for increased accountability and transparency at the state agency extends to local government as well, as she sponsored legislation to change the makeup of both the Aurora Library Board and the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District Board of Trustees from appointed bodies to elected ones. Kifowit believes the change would help hold trustees accountable to taxpayers, providing for direct oversight of administrative decisions.
“A recent proposal by nine unelected board members to downsize the West Branch library resulted in public outcry because their plan would decrease access to library services on top of cuts that were already made to the branch’s programing,” said Kifowit. “Library patrons deserve to have a say in these types of decisions, which should not be influenced by the city’s other priorities. I will continue fighting to give local families and taxpayers a voice in government, as we work together to build a stronger Illinois.”
Visit Rep Kifowit’s website
255-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
1677 Montgomery Rd.
Aurora, IL 60504
(630) 585-1357 FAX