• Illinois Public Affairs Network Brings Together Legislators and East St. Louis Leaders

    Jul 26, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber hosted the Illinois Public Affairs Network on July 21, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville, Illinois with Edmond Brown, President of the Greater East St. Louis Business Development Association; Emeka Jackson-Hicks, Mayor East St. Louis, Illinois; Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-113); Rep. LaToya Greenwood (D-114); and Rep. Marcus Evans (D-33). 

    East St. Louis leader Edmond Brown spoke on the formation of the Greater East St. Louis Business Development Association and the need for regional leaders to develop partnerships within East St. Louis to make the city an inclusive component of the region economically. Brown said their Chamber’s goals are to unite regional interests, nurture small businesses through education, and expand economic development efforts.

    Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks presented on economic development projects within the city of East St. Louis and the foundational work that has been done so far. Mayor Hicks discussed her administration’s goal to establish relationships on federal, state, local, public, and private levels and her intent to create a level of integrity throughout every department within the city of East St. Louis. Under Mayor Hick’s leadership, the city has held monthly town hall meetings, established weekly administration updates in the city newspaper, undergone efforts to stabilize and restructure leadership within all departments of city hall, pushed forward efforts to complete all city audits, and created an initiative called “Restoration of Hope” that aims to create greater civic engagement amongst citizens.

    Illinois State Rep. Jay Hoffman, chairman of the Labor and Commerce Committee, briefly spoke on the Illinois state legislature and passing a budget.  Illinois State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, a former East St. Louis city councilwoman, spoke on economic development efforts within the 114th district. She has adopted a “Buy American, Buy Local, Support Local Jobs” initiative championed by Rep. Hoffman that urges citizens to sustain, support, and create local jobs. Greenwood said she will also continue to look for ways to expand tax credits for working families and provide incentives to create jobs in Illinois.

    In closing, Rep. Marcus Evans, Chairman of the Transportation Committee, remarked on his work with the state legislature and the business community. Rep. Evans said his committee’s current priority is to regulate roads and bridges as well as look into better transportation options for those commuting in rural areas.

    Kevin Riggs, managing director at the Denton US, LLP, followed by moderating a question and answer section before adjourning.

                                                          IL Reps_IPAN 
    Edmond Brown, President of Greater East St. Louis Business
    Development Association addresses the Illinois Public Affairs Network.

    (From left to right) Rep. Jay Hoffman, Rep. Latoya Greenwood, and Rep. Marcus Evans.
  • Illinois Public Affairs Network Addresses State Budget Concerns

    Jun 22, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber hosted the Illinois Public Affairs Network on June 16, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville, with legislators from our region providing a recap of this year's legislative session.

    Representatives Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) addressed topics related to the state’s budget impasse and the Illinois Senate’s passage of workers compensation reform. Rep. Hoffman said the general assembly’s top priority is passing a budget and despite the fact that Illinois hasn't had a budget in 716 days, “It does no good to point fingers and blame.” Hoffman acknowledged the benefits of workers compensation reform, but added that medical insurance reform will be essential in protecting injured workers.

    Rep. Stuart, a newcomer to the general assembly, expressed her desire to get back to work once the Governor’s special session begins on June 21. She also reminded the Network of how the state’s budget troubles impact public higher education, specifically budget issues at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, and noted that some universities may face closure. Stuart is no stranger to public education, as she has served as a math instructor at the elementary, high school, and university levels.

    Kevin Riggs, Managing Director of Dentons’ Public Law practice, closed the meeting with a legislative update and reiterated the speakers’ earlier calls for compromise both on the budget debate and other legislative items facing the Illinois General Assembly.

    IPAN Photo
    Representatives Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) address the Illinois Public Affairs Network on June 16, 2017