This weekend marks the 31st National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  The national remembrance service will be held Sunday, October 7th, 2012 and will honor the 80 firefighters who died in 2011 and an additional five firefighters who died in previous years.

Please take a moment this weekend to remember our firefighters and all public safety officials. These men and women put their lives on the line every day.  They know when they go to work there is always the chance that they won’t come home.  They do the jobs that many of us couldn’t dream of doing and are truly our heroes.

I have always been a proud supporter of labor and public safety and have worked hard to ensure that those who protect us are protected under Illinois laws.  Over the years, I have sponsored legislation that increases the safety of emergency responders to traffic accidents and increases the penalties for drivers who violate laws which endanger emergency personnel.  Additionally, I sponsored legislation creating the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act, which prohibits a volunteer firefighter from being disciplined at their paying job for being late or missing work due to responding to an emergency call out.  I have also worked to help secure funding and for various fire departments in my district and fought to allow firefighters to seek charitable donations in smaller communities.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

Last week, the Illinois prison population hit an all time high.  Analysis of Corrections Department data made public on the Department’s website showed the total prison population in Illinois to have reached 49,154. 

This information is troubling for a number of reasons.  First, our prisons are already severely over intended capacity.  This means that the safety of the corrections officers, as well as the incarcerated, is in jeopardy every single day.  This rise in population comes during a time of layoffs when the number of corrections officers statewide is already down significantly.  This makes the situation even more dangerous.

Even more troubling is that with this added knowledge, the Quinn administration is still trying to close five correctional centers in Illinois, including Tamms.  These closures would mean a loss of hundreds of Illinois jobs and would displace almost 2,000 inmates in a system which is already bursting at the seams.  

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

This month, 33,000 men and women will have returned home from Afghanistan.  As we near completion of the military drawdown in the Middle East, I am reminded of all of the members of the armed forces throughout our proud history who have defended our country and our rights and who are still unaccounted for.

More than 138,000 US military heroes who fought in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom have been held captive as POWs.  Many suffered extreme torture, forced labor and starvation.  Many more died.  Additionally, over 84,000 of our nation’s heroes who fought in these wars are still listed as missing in action. 

This Friday marks the annual observance of POW/MIA Remembrance Day.  The POW/MIA flag will be flown at half staff and many local veterans organizations will hold observances to honor the missing and imprisoned.

While I remember the POW/MIAs of our proud nation’s military, the safe return of so many troops this month also encourages me to honor them and their service to our wonderful country. As your state Senator, I have always worked to make sure that the homecoming of our Illinois war veterans is a time for celebration and that their transition back into the workforce is as easy as possible.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

For many people, the beginning of September marks the end of summer, a time when the leaves start to turn and children return to school. But, something else happens at the beginning of September: Labor Day – a time to honor hard-working Americans all across the country. Many people take advantage of this day to have one last summer celebration with friends and family, which is important and something that the men and women who have made Labor Day possible would support.  However, we need to remember the reason why the first Labor Day was established about 125 years ago, especially this year.

Labor Day was founded to celebrate the creation of the labor movement and the contributions American workers have made to our country’s strength and prosperity.  It’s a recognition that without hard-working, middle-class men and women, the United States could never have become the economic and military powerhouse it remains to this day.  Despite our slow recovery from the recent recession, it’s important to remember that America is still a great place to live and work.  As your state senator, I am doing my best to help put even more people back to work in Southern Illinois and to help companies create the good-paying jobs we need to keep our country the best in the world.

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Category: A Weekly Update on Issues with Senator Forby

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