CHICAGO –State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on the Inflation Reduction Act, which the U.S. Senate successfully passed and will now move for consideration to the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The Inflation Reduction Act, should it pass and be signed into law, would be a huge step forward for our country. By addressing climate change and health care, it will bring our nation into a more sustainable, stable future.

“While these achievements deserve celebration, the legislation falls short of addressing the ongoing struggles many families face—affordable access to child care.

“We know our children will be the ones to live with the consequences of the actions we take today, and it’s essential that we make sure each and every child is set on a path to thrive through affordable access to high quality early childhood care and education, early intervention services and more.

“Here in Illinois, with the assistance of federal relief funds, we’ve increased the budget for early childhood education, extended support for families searching for employment by subsidizing child care, incentivized higher rates of pay for care providers, reduced co-pays for providers who also have children, increased funding for non-traditional hours of care for first responders, and increased access for child care and early intervention for families in care.

“At the end of the day, Illinois cannot fight the fight for equitable, affordable child care alone—we need federal action to ensure a sustainable path forward for our youngest children. I celebrate victories on other fronts at the federal level, but I also call on Congress to consider commensurate investments in our children as they continue to negotiate the IRA.”

Category: Press Releases

YouthCouncil2CHICAGO – To prioritize leadership and community engagement opportunities for high school students who live in the 20th Senate district, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas recently facilitated multiple experiences for members of her office’s Youth Advisory Council throughout the city.

The group joined Palenque LSNA for a tour of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and helped host a table providing information on state and local resources at the Art in the Park event in Unity Park.

“It’s been incredibly inspiring to see this group of young people pour into our community over the last couple months,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “The Youth Advisory Council gives them space to build relationships amongst each other and other community mentors as they enhance leadership skills, while also advising me on how I can lift up issues and priorities informed by a youth lens.”YouthCouncil8

In addition to volunteering in community events, the Youth Council has also been hard at work on two research projects. Together with members of Pacione-Zayas’ office, the students are creating a policy proposal on two issues: reducing recidivism and addressing the lack of mental health resources in schools.

The other project explores ways Latine voices are represented in the policymaking process and is led by Oswaldo Alvarez, executive director of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation.

“The Youth Advisory Council is a great way for students in our community to learn the ins and outs of state government while also being a voice for their generation,” said Stefani Scott, the 20th District Youth Employment Coordinator. “I am excited to see what this cohort goes on to achieve as they return to school this fall and beyond.”

The work of the Youth Council culmiated in their participation in the ASPIRA Club Youth Leadership Summit on Aug. 5, where young people across the state came together to bring awareness to issues like gun violence, homelessness, economic development and more.

YouthCouncil10“I’m not able to vote yet but the issues in my community impact me,” said one participant of the council. “The most impactful takeaway from this experience is that it has strengthened my political efficacy, allowing me to be civically engaged in meaningful ways that aren't voting and inspiring me to continue staying engaged.”

More information on the 20th District Youth Advisory Council including pictures and an interest form can be found on Sen. Pacione-Zayas’ website.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is disheartened and emboldened by the news of the overturning of landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, effectively stripping reproductive rights from millions of women and pregnant people across the nation. She released the following statement:

“No amount of time could fully prepare us for the devastation of this decision from the highest court in our nation. No words can express the amount of suffering and grief this decision will cause. Abortion saves lives—and yet the court’s decision refuses to recognize the right to bodily autonomy we should all fundamentally have.

“Days like these shake the foundations of our nation to the core, and we must not shy away from saying so. If we are to keep our state and our country, we must hold fast amidst reactionary backlash to the decades of progress in reproductive rights. We must hold fast to the truth that women and pregnant people across this country have a right to their own body. They had that right yesterday and they have that right today. Illinois recognizes that. Other states may deny access to our rights, but we have enough wisdom to know they are inalienable. The Illinois Constitution that I swore an oath to support enshrines in its first Article that: “All men are by nature free and independent and have certain inherent and inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I will continue to defend that.

“To deny access to our rights is to deny access to our humanity - and that is something no overreaching court can take from us. Now is the time to unite around that common inalienable humanity to recognize that, while Illinois will remain a haven for your rights, some won’t stop until they obliterate our state’s rights to defend a pregnant person’s liberty.

“When I think about the effects of this decision, I think of the people in Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and the 23 other states that have introduced hostile legislation limiting abortion and reproductive health care. I think of a pregnant person who may not be able to receive lifesaving care due to a doctor’s fear of providing an abortion. I think of the people who know they cannot afford to raise a child in these times of inflation and a baby formula shortage, in a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, no requirement for paid leave following birth, and a health care system that lacks in equity and support especially for Black and Latine individuals.

“While I am so grateful to live in and represent a state that protects our reproductive rights, I know it’s a privilege. To women and other people across the country seeking an abortion, I want to say that you are welcome in Illinois. We will fight for you.  We support you, we will uplift you, and we will keep you safe.”

More information on resources and reproductive rights in Illinois can be found here

Category: Press Releases

PACIONE ZAYAS HB 5581CHICAGO – To recognize the ways Polish culture has influenced Chicago, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) spearheaded a new law to designate Milwaukee Avenue from Sangamon Street in Chicago to Greenwood Road in Niles as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

“Designating this area is a great way to promote Chicago Polish businesses while also recognizing their impact on the culture, food and art in our city,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This law is just one way to highlight the importance of Polish culture, and I look forward to highlighting additional ways to recognize the unique cultural diversity of Chicago.”

Under House Bill 5581, a section of Milwaukee Avenue will be recognized under the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

Last year, Sen. Pacione-Zayas, along with House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) passed a law to allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to designate cultural districts to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois. The new law signed last week provides a stepping stone for this community to be designated in this way.

"We commend Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Leader Delia Ramirez for their efforts as sponsors of HB 5581 to designate and establish the Milwaukee Ave Polish Heritage Corridor,” said Bogdan Pukszta, Executive Director of the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, which resides in the district Pacione-Zayas represents. “From our Chamber's perspective the designation will help promote existing businesses along the corridor, attract new businesses to fill empty storefronts, and position Milwaukee Avenue on the map of Chicago's tourist attractions."

HB 5581 was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday. A celebration of the new law will be held Thursday, June 16 at 2 p.m. at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Press and other organizations are encouraged to register for the celebration here.

Category: Press Releases

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