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PLAINFIELD Gracie Benstine, a recent graduate of Oswego High School, was one of just five students statewide selected by the Illinois Conservation Foundation to receive the Conservation Achievement Scholarship, State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood) announced Friday.

Benstine was chosen for the $2,000 scholarship because of her dedication to environmental protection in her community.

“Positive change always starts at the local level,” Loughran Cappel said. “In order to curb the very real effects of climate change, we need more people like Gracie Benstine to lead the way in our communities.”

Volunteering at a community food pantry garden, Benstine composted natural fertilizer, collected rainwater, and helped provide 2,000 pounds of produce for families in need. As a member of the local Student Leadership Initiative Program and the National Honor Society, Benstine also helped remove invasive plants at local forest preserves, participated in cleanups along the Fox River, raised money for tree planting efforts, and organized student-to-student efforts to study and combat impacts of climate change.

“Gracie’s long list of accomplishments speak for themselves, and I could not be more proud of her for taking the initiative to make a difference in her community,” Loughran Cappel said.

Benstine’s nominators praised her community service ethic and student leadership roles. Benstine plans to attend Augustana College in Rock Island.

More information on the scholarship program and a list of other recipients can be found on ICF’s website.

Category: Press Releases

Illinois Back On Track 2 FB

WILL COUNTY, Ill. – With Illinois receiving its first credit upgrade in nearly two decades, State Senators Meg Loughran Cappel and John Connor praised the result of efforts during last spring’s budget negotiations.

“The decision to upgrade the state’s credit rating is a result of fiscally responsible budget making and is fantastic news for Illinois taxpayers,” said Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood).. “This will lead to reduced interest rates for state borrowing, freeing up taxpayer dollars to be invested in places like our public education system.”

Moody’s analysis determined the enacted Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the state increases pension contributions, repays emergency Federal Reserve borrowings and keeps a backlog of bills in check with only constrained use of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Illinois’ improved rating shows that we are making responsible fiscal decisions as viewed by an outside agency,” said Connor (D-Lockport). “For the first time in over 20 years, Illinois is moving forward.”

Category: Press Releases

Illinois Back On Track FB

SPRINGFIELD – Fitch Rating released a revised outlook on Illinois’ financial forecast earlier this week, a move several suburban lawmakers praise as a direct result of responsible spending.

“Despite navigating a global pandemic, we were able to cut spending by nearly $1 billion since 2020 while simultaneously meeting our pension obligations and increasing investments in K-12 education by $350 million,” said State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “It is incredibly gratifying to see positive results stem from responsible budget action.”

"After years of fiscal irresponsibility and chaos under the previous governor, these rating upgrades are an example of what we can accomplish by working together to implement responsible budgets,” said State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort).. “This is a vote of confidence in the future of our state.”

“Legislative actions have consequences and we are seeing the choices made by the General Assembly over the past several years yield positive results,” said State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport).“The bottom line is that this is a concrete example of fiscal responsibility creating an incredibly bright future for our state.”

Fitch’s is the third ratings agency to upgrade the state’s forecast, in addition to Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s.

Highlights from Fitch’s analysis include:

  • “Recent fiscal results and the enacted fiscal 2022 budget suggest further improvements in operating performance and structural balance in the near and medium-term that could support a return to the pre-pandemic rating or higher.”
  • “Recent improvements including reduction in accounts payable and enacting plans for early retirement of federal pandemic loans, signal improvement in budget management.”
  • “Broadly, the state reports a $1 billion reduction in total general fund spending for fiscal 2022 ($42.3 billion) versus the current services estimate provided in November 2020. General fund base operating spending remains flat in the fiscal 2022 enacted budget versus fiscal 2021 at $30.8 billion. Funding for K-12 and higher education is up 3%, including a $350 million increase for K-12.”
Category: Press Releases


PLAINFIELD – To end the practice of burdening family members of deceased utility customers with early termination fees by, State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood) is urging Governor Pritzker to sign House Bill 122 into law.

“Utility companies taking advantage of hard working people through unnecessary fees is unfortunately all too common,” Loughran Cappel said. “Governor Pritzker has the ability to immediately crack down on this predatory practice by signing a piece of legislation currently sitting on his desk. It is my hope that he will take swift action on this measure to protect Illinois families of all backgrounds.”

House Bill 122 would end early termination fees for utility customers who die before the end of a contract.

This concern was raised by a constituent of House sponsor Rep. Dan Didech following publication of a news article which profiled a California family facing an early termination fee after a family member had died. Similar action has already been taken to prevent this sort of situation in the state of New York.

Category: Press Releases

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Office Info

Springfield Office
M118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-0052

District Office
2009 S. Route 59
Plainfield, IL 60586
(815) 267-6119

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