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Illinois Senate recognizes legendary Red Tail Pilot

hastings 120518SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate recently honored the sacrifices of an Illinois native that was a member of the historic Tuskegee Airmen.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings, a U.S. Army Veteran, passed a resolution honoring the late Robert Leander “Bob” Martin during the General Assembly’s Legislative Veto Session. Martin was a fighter pilot with the Army Air Corps and one of the “Red Tails,” a historic group of black fighter pilots that served in World War II.

“We must honor the endless sacrifices Captain Martin made to protect our great nation and to preserve the history of our heroes,” Hastings said. “This brave leader devoted countless hours to preserving our freedom, then to preserving the legacy of the trailblazing Tuskegee Airmen long after his tenure in the service.”

Martin served with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group in the European Theater of Operations. In March 1945, during his 64th and final combat mission, his plane was hit by ground fire while strafing the aerodrome at Zagreb, Yugoslavia, now Croatia.

He was forced to parachute from his burning plane and was rescued, spending the next five weeks at an allied mission before returning to his base in Ramitelli.

“Captain Martin dedicated his life to serving our country,” Hastings said. “He lived a great life full of honor and love for our country and his amazing family.”

Martin earned several service medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters. He also earned a series of civilian honors, the most notable being the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

“Our state lost a true patriot,” Hastings said. “We all must aspire to live a life dedicated to service to our nation, state and community as Captain Martin did. He will be missed tremendously.”

Senate Resolution 2058 passed with unanimous support in the Senate. 

PHOTO: State Senator Michael E. Hastings is pictured on the Senate floor with Gabrielle and Dominique Martin during a recognition of their late father, Robert Leander “Bob” Martin, the trailblazing Red Tail Pilot. Left to Right: Gabrielle Martin, Hastings and Dominique Martin. 

Senate overrides Rauner in effort to bring justice to Quincy families

vets home 030918SPRINGFIELD – Despite a veto from Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) lead the charge in the Illinois State Senate to help provide justice to the 14 families who lost loved ones to a Legionnaire’s disease epidemic at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Hastings’ Senate Bill 2481 would remove a $100,000 cap for state payouts in civil litigation. The measure will allow families greater restitution for the loved ones who died as a result of state negligence and mismanagement. The Illinois Senate overrode Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2481 with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

Hastings hosts successful clean energy town hall

hastings 0418 prefTINLEY PARK – Local residents were given a public forum to share input on clean energy efforts last week thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

Hastings, the Chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee, worked with environmental groups and energy associations to host a town hall meeting which allowed people to voice their opinions and give input on what initiatives need to be considered in Springfield to increase energy-efficiency programs, decrease utility costs and create great jobs in the South Suburbs.

“The future of energy is extremely important,” Hastings said. “It’s important that we consider the opinions and needs of the people of our communities before acting on major energy legislation in Springfield.”

The town hall featured tables with information about energy programs and representatives of utilities and various groups.

“I want to hear what’s important to you and hopefully take that back to Springfield and make some changes,” Hastings told a packed room at the Virgil I. Grissom Middle School in Tinley Park.

Hastings worked in a bipartisan manner to implement commonsense clean energy legislation. The law was the result of negotiations among consumer advocacy groups, environmental groups, utility companies and energy policy stakeholders.

“The best policies are those that are a direct representation of the needs and wants of the people of Illinois,” Hastings said. “It’s absolutely vital that we all work together to pass meaningful legislation that will ensure our energy bills are affordable, protect our ecosystems and keep our lights on year round.”

Hastings announces more than $50,000 in grants for local libraries

books 090418TINLEY PARK – State Senator Michael E. Hastings is pleased to announce that community libraries will receive more than $50,000 in grants to fund local mentorship programs.

Project Next Generation (PNG) is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Project mentors work with middle and high school students as the participants develop skills to use various technologies, achieve success through project based learning and gain life skills such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

“Libraries open up endless opportunities for our communities,” Hastings said. “I’m thrilled our local community libraries will have the tools to carry out necessary afterschool programs for our children.”

Grande Prairie Public Library District, Matteson Area Public Library District and Richton Park Public Library District were recognized for their efforts and awarded grants.

The local libraries were among 31 public libraries statewide to receive the 2019 PNG grants.

“Effective afterschool programs provide endless benefits for our communities,” Hastings said. “Programs funded by this grant will provide positive interactions for students in a safe, comfortable setting to help them learn skills they’ll need to be successful.”

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White administers the PNG program.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” White said. “I established this innovative program when I first became Secretary of State to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

For more information visit: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/png.html.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Financial Institutions; Insurance; Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Committee of the Whole.

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.