Organization cites Steans' work on nursing home reforms,funding of community programs
Chicago, IL - State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) was recently honored by AARP as the 2011 Legislator of the Year. Senator Steans accepted the award at the 30th annual Governor’s Conference on Aging in Chicago, which is the largest annual statewide assembly for those who serve older adults.
"I am greatly humbled to be honored by such an influential organization such as AARP," Steans said. "AARP is a nationwide leading advocacy voice for seniors, supporting policies that improve the overall physical, emotional and financial health of our older populace. I am grateful to serve Illinois’ seventh district in Springfield and I look forward to continuing to advocate for the issues that matter most to Illinois’ seniors."
Senator Steans has sponsored and helped pass numerous pieces of legislation that benefit older Illinoisans since taking office in 2008, including her role in substantial nursing home reform legislation in 2010. Main components of this legislation implement policies that will increase nursing home residents' safety as well as increase staffing ratios in the approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities throughout the state.
In her role as chairwoman of the Appropriations I committee, Steans has pushed for increased funding for community care programs that keep more people in their homes and in their communities rather than in costly long-term care facilities. Steans has also introduced legislation to eliminate the Social Security offset older adults face when receiving unemployment benefits.
Years served: Appointed February 2008 - Present
Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Executive; Environment (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Public Health; Committee of the Whole; Subcommittee on Civil Rights (Sub-Chairperson); Sub on Mental Health Issues.
Biography: Born May 8, 1963, in Lake Forest, IL; B.A. in Urban Studies from Princeton; M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; former budget director, WI Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and former strategic planner, Chicago Public Schools; married (husband, Leo Smith) with three children.