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GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Jeff Keicher sworn in as 70th District State Representative. Joined by community leaders, family and friends, Sycamore businessman Jeff Keicher took the oath of office at Dayton Farms on Tuesday to become the new State Representative for Illinois’ 70th District, encompassing portions of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties. Keicher replaces former Representative Bob Pritchard, who resigned July 1 to accept an appointment to the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University.
President Theodore Roosevelt and Governor Richard Yates, Jr. sit on a bench at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. Photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Last weekend, the Illinois Governor's Mansion in Springfield re-opened after a multi-year renovation effort. The first tours were conducted on Saturday. The tours feature exhibits highlighting the children who have lived in the mansion and they also include furniture from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the pre-Civil War era. The mansion, which was built in the mid-1850s, has been visited by everyone from Presidents of the United States to a First Daughter’s pet alligator.

Springfield became the state’s capital city in 1839, and before the current mansion was constructed Governors lived in a house at 8th and Capitol streets, an intersection now occupied by the Springfield public library, a fire station and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. In 1853, Governor Joel Matteson took office and made the need for a new residence apparent, as the existing house was insufficient for his family which included seven children.
Joined by community leaders, family and friends, Sycamore businessman Jeff Keicher took the oath of office at Dayton Farms on Tuesday to become the new State Representative for Illinois’ 70th District, encompassing portions of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties. Keicher replaces former Representative Bob Pritchard, who resigned July 1 to accept an appointment to the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University.

Following through on a commitment he made previously, Representative Keicher will sign official paperwork declining state health insurance benefits, as well as opting out of the pension system for state legislators.
Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation that expands the Illinois Veterans’ Home at Quincy and cuts the red tape on future construction projects, allowing the administration to move quickly to build a new state-of-the-art facility at the campus.

“We’re building a brand new facility and making sure our veterans have a safe place to call home,” Rauner said. “Building this new facility should not be caught up in the bureaucratic process. Our veterans deserve the best. They have fought to secure our freedom and we’re fighting to make sure they have the care they need for generations to come.”
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Patti Bellock named DHFS director. Gov. Rauner announced last week that Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock has been named director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock has served in the General Assembly since 1999 and is recognized as one of the body’s leading advocates for Medicaid, health care and social services, areas she will oversee in her new role.
State Representative Avery Bourne was recently named the newest member of ISBE’s (Illinois State Board of Education) Evidence-Based Funding Professional Review Panel. The panel was created with the new school funding formula to annually review data, proposed changes, and the overall implementation of the formula. It is made up of practitioners, experts, legislative leaders, and advocates.

Rep. Bourne stated, “It is an honor to be chosen for the ISBE Panel and I look forward to working with these professionals to make our school funding formula work. School children statewide now have a brighter future because of school funding reform. The work of this panel will make sure the school funding reform is dynamic and continues to provide the best outcomes for students statewide. After our important work to pass school funding reform, now the hard work of implementing it begins.” Read more.

Gov. Rauner announced today that Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock has been named director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock has served in the General Assembly since 1999 and is recognized as one of the body’s leading advocates for Medicaid, health care and social services, areas she will oversee in her new role.

“Illinois is so fortunate to have an advocate for health and human services as dedicated and talented as Patti Bellock,” said Rauner in announcing the appointment. “She has been instrumental in virtually every health advancement our state has made in the last two decades and I am looking forward to her leadership of the state’s ongoing effort to reform our delivery systems and improve our outcomes.”