Friday, February 12, 2010

Evanston Chamber Legislative Breakfast

On February 5 Grants Manager Alexandra (Xan) Nelson attended the Evanston Chamber of Commerce Annual Regional Legislative Outlook Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn. The event allows Chamber members and guests to listen to and meet with Evanston's county, state and federal legislative team.

This year in addition to frequent panelists Julie Hamos (IL 18th House, pictured, © 2010 Genie Lemieux-Jordan), Larry Suffredin (Cook County Commissioner), and Jan Schakowsky (IL 9th US House of Representatives), Senator Dick Durbin was in attendance. (Probably thrilled to be here instead of Washington, which was getting about 50 inches of snow that day!) Following a panel discussion on federal health care legislation now about to emerge from the U.S. Congress, attendees got the inside scoop on what to expect this year in Springfield and Washington, D.C. and a wrap up of the results of the Illinois primary election.

Mr. Durbin also related his rather chilling first-person account of the initial meeting, in 2008, between congressional leadership and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, regarding the impending financial crisis. These sorts of intimate glimpses into the workings of the government make the legislative breakfast one of the most popular on the Chamber's calendar. (The food's pretty good, too.)

Xan (pictured, far right) attended breakout sessions with Larry Suffredin and Julie Hamos. The session with Mr. Suffredin was also attended by Evanston fourth ward alderman Mark Tendam, with discussions on the difficulties the budget crisis has forced on Evanston residents and not-for-profit organizations. In the session with Representative Hamos, Xan was able to engage Ms. Hamos in a discussion about how the State can help local not-for-profits given the current state of the budget. Light Opera Works volunteer Dana Pearl (center) facilitated the Hamos session.

© 2010 Genie Lemieux-Jordan