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Hastings champions measure to reform corrupt Illinois Toll Highway Authority

hastings 0418 prefSPRINGFIELD – With many troubling questions surrounding its governing board, the Illinois Tollway will get a much-needed ethical makeover thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

Hastings last week helped push through the Illinois General Assembly important legislation that would restore accountability and integrity at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority. Media reports have chronicled multiple examples of jobs and contracts being awarded to unqualified political insiders and well-connected businesses through non-competitively bid processes.

Hastings supported Senate Bill 1298, which ends the terms of the currently appointed members of the Tollway Board and requires the Governor to appoint new Board members by Feb. 28, 2019. The legislation also requires the Tollway Board’s by-laws to direct members to avoid potential conflicts of interest and requires these by-laws to be posted to the Tollway Authority’s website.

“The time to restore accountability and integrity to the Illinois Tollway is long overdue,” said Hastings. “The Illinois Tollway Authority needs to start putting the needs of the working people of Illinois ahead of political insiders and corrupt special interest groups.”

Hastings said he will continue his work to reform state government and restore faith in its ability to move Illinois forward.

“As we start the 101st General Assembly, it’s important to me to continue to take a closer look at aspects of state government that are in dire need of reform,” he said. “I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure government is working for the people of Illinois.”

The bipartisan reform passed without opposition in the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Hastings keynotes wreath-laying ceremony

Hastings wreath laying 121918DANVILLE — State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) gave the keynote speech at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Danville National Cemetery last week.

Hastings is a West Point graduate who served in the Army from 1998 to 2008, served in Iraq and the borders of Iran and Syria.  Hastings lost friends in combat and emphasized the value of keeping their memories alive in his speech at the 12th annual event.

“Our brave veterans sacrificed their lives to protect our democratic values and freedoms,” Hastings said. “We should find ways in our daily routines to recognize their sacrifices and achievements to guarantee we continue to honor and remember their memories.”

Danville National Cemetery has almost 11,000 grave sites. The cemetery serves veterans within a radius of 75 miles.

“I sincerely appreciate being part of this heartwarming event. It was great to see the City of Danville and Vermilion County come together to honor our brave comrades during this holiday season,” Hastings said.

Wreaths were laid in honor of the US military branches and groups: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POW/MIA. Family members also placed wreaths in honor of fallen service men and women.

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.

The organization’s mission is to “Remember, Honor, Teach.” Every year the organization emphasizes their mission by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 1,200 veterans’ cemeteries and other locations across the nation each December.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) gave the keynote speech at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Danville National Cemetery last week. (Left to Right: State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), 2018 Georgetown Fair Queen Billi Jo Shank and Hastings). 

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.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive (Chairperson); Insurance; Judiciary; Subcommittee on Election Law; Subcommittee on Gaming.

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.

Associated Representatives:
Margo McDermed
Debbie Meyers-Martin