001010813br0213edCrIllinois is facing some tough budget challenges. But as the saying goes, every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. We should seize this opportunity to root out waste, inefficient spending and create greater efficiency through reform.

One of the areas of state government most in need of increased accountability and reform is the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The core mission of the agency is to create and retain jobs and foster economic development in Illinois.  It oversees more than 65 state and federal grant programs and maintains offices in 10 foreign countries.  It has an operating budget of $1.7 billion.

To be sure, many DCEO programs have had a measureable impact on our economy, creating jobs and retaining businesses in Illinois.  There is little question that the agency’s mission is worthwhile and important to our economy.

Read more: Fundamentally Changing Illinois’ Approach to Economic Development

001010813br0213edCrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) has been appointed to serve on Illinois’ Workforce Investment Board. Through this appointment, Manar will continue his efforts to redirect state-funded job training and workforce development programs to those areas of Illinois most severely impacted by high unemployment.

“Illinois already has a vast network of local job-training and workforce development programs, as well as many local economic development tools, yet certain areas of the state continue to see stubbornly high unemployment rates,” Manar said. “We need to do a better job of matching available resources to those areas that need it most, and better collaborate with the private sector to ensure workers are trained on the skills employers need most. Through this approach, I believe we can more effectively combat unemployment.”

To ensure that Illinois’ workforce development programs meet the needs of both employers and workers, the Illinois Workforce Investment Board brings together both private-and public-sector leaders—from state government, business and industry, organized labor, education and community-based organizations—to oversee Illinois’ statewide workforce development and planning efforts.

Read more: Manar furthers efforts to lower unemployment through appointment to Workforce Investment Board

Manar HeadshotrSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to foster cooperation across regional, political and ethnic lines to better address challenges facing the state, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, along with former Governor Jim Edgar, have announced the 40 individuals from a pool of nearly 160 nominees that will participate in this year’s Edgar Fellows Program. Among those selected to participate in the program is State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill).

“This is a great opportunity for future leaders from all across the state to come together and share ideas for moving Illinois forward,” Manar said. “I’m humbled to have the opportunity to learn from former leaders like Governor Edgar, who excelled at bridging political and regional boundaries.”

As many as 40 up-and-comers are selected annually to become Edgar Fellows. The fellows spend four days on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus in an intense executive leadership-training program aimed at teaching them key leadership skills and strategies in an effort to inform and inspire collaboration.

Read more: Manar chosen as emerging state leader

052813br0566rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) was one of 45 senators who supported a bipartisan-backed measure that would allow licensed residents to carry a firearm on them or in their vehicle.

“I’ve said for months that Illinois is an anomaly and that I would only support a concealed-carry proposal that was negotiated by both sides,” Manar said. “The bill we passed today evolved after months of debate and I think the result is a fair bill that meets the requirements set forth by the federal courts and ensures that responsible gun owners can exercise their constitutional rights.”

The proposal passed 45-12-1.

Read more: Manar: Concealed carry becomes reality


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