GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Durkin appoints Leadership Team for 101st General Assembly. On Wednesday, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced the appointment of his Leadership team for the 101st General Assembly. Congratulations to this dynamic group of leaders:

Deputy Republican Leaders
Rep. Dan Brady
Rep. Tom Demmer

Assistant Republican Leaders
Rep. Avery Bourne
Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer
Rep. Norine Hammond
Rep. Michael McAuliffe
Rep. Grant Wehrli
Rep. Keith Wheeler

Other Leadership Positions
Rep. Tim Butler will serve as Conference Chair
Rep. Mark Batinick will serve as Floor Leader
Armistice Day Celebration in Springfield on November 11, 1918
In his stirring Second Inaugural Address in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln called upon the nation to, “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” It was a pledge that the United States government would take care of those who had sacrificed so much for our nation’s survival. But after Lincoln’s death a month later it became a pledge that for decades the government did not live up to until a group of veterans got together in Salem, Illinois, and changed history.
Top Row: Leader Jim Durkin, Reps. Dan Brady &  Tom Demmer
2nd Row: Reps. Avery Bourne, CD Davidsmeyer & Norine Hammond
3rd Row: Reps. Michael McAuliffe, Grant Wehrli & Keith Wheeler
Bottom: Reps. Tim Bulter & Mark Batinick

Today House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced the appointment of his Leadership team for the 101st General Assembly.
For decades, Illinois and the nation have worked to support those who served in our nation’s armed forces. From pensions for wounded Civil War veterans to the G.I. Bill of Rights which traces its roots to an Illinois American Legion Hall, the state and the nation have tried to find concrete ways to, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “…care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”

As part of this effort, Illinois enacted the Veterans Preference Act, a state law designed to put in place a hiring preference for veterans applying for state jobs. However, the law contained a loophole which left some veterans out in the cold.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Inauguration of 101st General Assembly. The new session of the state legislature will be the first group of lawmakers to meet in Illinois’ third century. The House elected Jim Durkin as House Republican Leader, and the majority chose Michael J. Madigan to be the returning Speaker of the House. In his remarks to the newly-convened House, Leader Durkin pledged to uphold Republican principles and to work together with newly-elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker whenever possible for the good of the State of Illinois.
Man measures snowfall from his roof after the
Blizzard of '79. Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
Can a snowstorm swing an election?

Forty years ago this week, northern Illinois was hammered by one of the most memorable blizzards on record. The storm struck Chicagoland with such severity that the famed “city that works,” ground to a halt for days. As the snow piled up and the frustration dragged on, seething city residents looked for a place to direct their anger. They started looking at City Hall, and the rest is history.

The 1979 blizzard was a truly historic storm. Following another blizzard in 2011, meteorologists Jim Allsopp and Ricky Castro compiled a study on the four worst blizzards in Chicago history. They wrote that a previous blizzard, in 1967, actually dropped more snow, but that the 1979 storm was followed by even worse conditions: “a brutal arctic blast and (it) took the longest time to melt.” The 1979 snow also fell on top of existing snow pack from earlier storms, making it that much worse.
Today 13 Republican lawmakers took the oath of office and joined the ranks of the Freshman class of the 101st General Assembly.

We are proud to introduce the new members of the House Republican Caucus:
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development has received a Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Initial Grant Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is one of 45 distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child Care to enhance early childhood programming, which includes Head Start and Early Head Start, state prekindergarten programs, child care, and home visiting services. The Illinois Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development will serve as the lead agency for the grant, which will allow the Office to develop a needs assessment and strategic plan and to strengthen the State's system of early childhood programs. 
Sandy Baksys of Springfield hadn’t seen her elderly father since December of 2016 when she took the matter to Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) for help.

Baksys says she was being prevented from seeing her father by his caretaker, another family member who refuses to allow her to visit. 
Field trips are an important part of any student’s education. There is nothing quite like visiting a museum, historic site or other outside venue that helps expand a student’s horizons and knowledge of the curriculum they are studying in school.

But for students at one school in Lombard, state law prevented them from being able to have that experience. That is, until their executive director worked with State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) to make a change.
Governor Shadrach Bond. Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
Last fall was the 52nd time in our state’s history in which Illinois voters went to the polls and chose a Governor. Millions of people in 102 counties made their choice for who should lead Illinois for the next four years. On January 14 our new Governor will take the reins of a well-established state government which includes dozens of agencies, boards and commissions and thousands of state employees from Galena to Cairo.

It will be very different than the challenges that confronted our first state officials.