CHICAGO – State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., D-Chicago, was selected by the Edgar Fellows Program to be a member of its 10th class of Illinois changemakers. Industry pioneers, state and local representatives and community leaders joined Gonzalez at University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs in Champaign, IL to discuss the ways to solve some of Illinois’ toughest problems.
“Finding common ground on issues we all care about is a great first step for us in solving some of the issues Illinois faces,” Gonzalez said. “A climate-friendly economy and energy sector, raising wages and quality of life, and better cooperation despite our differences are all things that I and my fellow attendees will take away from this program.”
Started in 2012 by former Gov. Jim Edgar, the Edgar Fellows Program selected 40 members from 160 potential candidates to be a part of professional networks that will uplift them long after they’ve completed the program.
Gonzalez joins 40 other changemakers because of his fight for a better Illinois, in part because he has a record of partnering with legislators across the political spectrum to pass important legislation. He sponsored Senate Bill 673, which helps schools mediate incidents of bullying by hiring counselors, expanding what it means to discipline those who bully others, and support those who are being bullied. House Bill 3504, a new law which empowers the Illinois Department of Public Health to survey and track health equity changes across the state, was championed by Gonzalez. A Gonzalez-backed bill, Illinois America 250 Commission Act, outlines the planning and execution of the celebration of the U.S.’s 250th birthday.
“Bringing together a diverse community of thinkers, innovators and policymakers makes sure that our plans to address our state’s problems are inclusive and uplifts the most people,” Gonzalez said. “Illinois deserves a representative and fellow leaders that reflect our state’s diversity and its forward-thinking mindset, and I’m enthusiastic to further develop this.”