SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, released this statement following the end of the spring 2021 session of the Illinois state House of Representatives:
“This has been a long and difficult year for so many in Illinois. Working to stem suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn has been our top priority in Springfield. We created new programs to aid families and small businesses who unexpectedly lost financial stability. Millions of vaccines have been distributed around the state and Illinois is getting closer to a full reopening.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to an existing and systemic problem: health care is not universally assured. Seniors and working families often face prohibitive difficulties getting the prescription drugs and medical care they need. Pharmaceutical and health insurance companies are making billions while the cost of healthcare for average Americans keeps rising. To combat this dangerous trend, I pushed for legislation to help consumers access high-quality, affordable healthcare, including a measure that caps medical insurance costs every month to help low-income patients manage payments.
“I am particularly proud to have introduced the TEAACH (Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History) Act. For too long, our curriculums have neglected the experiences of Asian Americans in this country, both our contributions and achievements as well as our long history of racialized violence and exclusion. My legislation, which will soon be law, corrects that problem by requiring Asian American history to be included in our classrooms.
“This legislation is very personal to me. As an Asian American attending Illinois public schools, I learned very little about my own heritage at school. It wasn’t until I was studying in law school that I learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which threatened to deport my own grandparents. At a time when anti-Asian racism and hate crimes are on the rise, we must work to stem bigotry and hatred before it festers. Education is the best tool to fight ignorance.
“Voting is a core right and must be protected. Voting should be easy, secure, and convenient for all eligible voters. That’s why I supported legislation that will increase voting access by securing permanent curbside voting, allowing voters to opt-in to receive a Vote-By-Mail ballot automatically, and establish new guidelines for election authorities to keep our data safe.
“I am so honored to be the voice of our community in Springfield. It’s my goal to give you honest, transparent representation as long as I continue to serve. Addressing the priorities of our community is always my guiding principle, and I trust it will lead to great progress in the coming years.”
For more information on my legislation and upcoming events, please visit gonggershowitz.com.