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State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) invites all residents of the 81st Legislative House District to complete his 2018 summer survey. The survey will be mailed to households in the district in the coming weeks as part of an End of Session Report, and it can also be accessed at http://www.ilhousegop.org/olsensurvey2018.

“As the legislative voice for the people of Illinois’ 81st House District, I rely on these survey results to help me adequately represent the issues and priorities of the people I represent,” said Olsen. “I want to have a solid understanding of my constituents’ expectations as we face many tough issues during the upcoming Veto Session and in 2019.”

The survey includes six multiple choice questions and an open response area where additional concerns can be shared. Participants will also be offered an opportunity to subscribe to an E-newsletter that will include updates on legislation and other issues affecting DuPage and Will Counties and the State of Illinois.

“I will read every survey that is returned, so I encourage all residents to take a few minutes to share their opinions,” Olsen said. “I look forward to seeing the results.”

Survey responses will be accepted through October 31.

Residents from the 81st Legislative House District are invited to attend a mobile office hours event this week on Wednesday, July 18 at the Lisle Public Library, 777 Front Street in Lisle.

State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) and his his staff will have a table set up at the library from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM, and visitors will be able to share their opinions and ideas with their elected official in Springfield. Olsen’s staff will be able to assist constituents with issues involving state agencies. A variety of informational brochures will also be available.

“I recognize the importance of providing my constituents with easy access to my office,” said Olsen. “To that end, I try to hold a mobile office hours once each month outside of Downers Grove. I really enjoy these events, as they bring me face-to-face with the people I represent in an informal setting.”

No appointment is needed, and the event is open to all residents who live in the 81st Legislative House District.
Are you looking for a job or a new career? State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) and State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) invite you to participate in their free jobs fair on July 25 in Lemont.

The jobs fair will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon at CORE Fitness Center, 16050 W. 127th Street, Lemont. If you are looking to take a job with the State, at 9:00 a.m. you might want to attend the “Effective Search Strategies for State Employment” workshop. At 10:00 and 11:00 workshops will be held focusing on interviewing techniques. All workshops are free of charge.

“Providing resources and accessibility to employers at our annual jobs fair allows job seekers the opportunity to take advantage of all potential vacancies and speak to recruiters directly about their qualifications and job requirements,” Durkin said. “With over 110 employers attending, job seekers will be able to expand their network, get their resumes into the hands of employers and secure interviews or fill out paperwork to strengthen their chances of securing new employment.”

“Our Jobs Fair is an excellent opportunity for job seekers to talk with people in their desired industry, make connections and set up interviews,” said Curran. “All of the participating businesses have job openings and are eager to hire, so I encourage workers of all experience levels and skill sets to attend and bring their updated resumes.”

“I would encourage anyone looking for employment opportunities to bring a lot of resumes to this event,” said Olsen. “Past job fairs have been very successful. We received post-event data these last few years that indicates that several individuals were offered jobs on-the-spot while many others were scheduled for formal job interviews as a result of their attendance at the job fair.”

Participating employers include: 1-800-Got-Junk, ABF Freight, Accurate Personnel Services, All Team Illinois, Allegiance Staffing, AMBA, Amazon, Apex 3/Premier Security, Argonne National Laboratory, Axcess Staffing Services, Bates Water Solutions, Bill Jacobs, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operators, Buck Services, Inc., Burke Beverage, Cadence Premier Logistics, Caravel Autism Health Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet, Cheese Merchants of America, Chemring Energetic Devices, Chicago Zoological Society, Cintras, Clearbrook, ClearStaff, College Nannies & Tutors, Combined Insurance, CoWorx Staffing Services, Crown Services, D&H Distributing, Edward Don & Company, Express Employment Professionals, FedEx Ground, Ferrara Candy Company, First Staff Services, First Student, Fixturedisplays.com, Forestview Rehab & Nursing Center, Four Seasons Heating & Cooling, G4S Secure Solutions Inc., GameStop, GKN Walterscheld, Inc., Harra’s Joliet Casino & Hotel, Home Life Healthcare, Hudson Energy, IH Services Inc., Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, Illinois Department of Revenue, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Gaming Board, Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway Authority, Indiana Wesleyan University, Integrity Trade Services, International Paper, IT Experts System, JK Guardian Security Services, Jewel/Osco, Kay & Associates, Kimco Services, Labor Temps, Lifecare Home Solutions, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Matson Logistics, Medulla LLC, Methodist Youth Services, Michaels, MicroTrain Technologies, Old Dominion Freight Line, PACE, PeopleLink, Penske Logistics, PHP Agency, Physicians Immediate Care, Pipefitters Local Union 597, Primerica, ProQuest, Prudential, PSI Resources, Q Center, Quest Food Management Services, Ray Graham Association, REM Services, Ride Rite, Robert Olson & Associates, Schillings, Securitas USA Northern Illinois, Sertoma Centre, Inc., Sherwin Williams, Southwest American Job Center, Speedway, LLC, Staffmark, Sunrise Bus, Sunrise Driving School, Symbol Training Institute, The Salem Group, Trinity Services, Inc., United States Postal Services, US Army Recruiting Center, US Foods, Verizon Wireless, Warehouse Services, Warehouse Services, Weather Tech, West Liberty Foods, West Suburban Nursing & Rehab, Western & Southern Life, and WGN-AM Radio.

For more information, contact Leader Durkin’s office at (630) 325-2028, Senator Curran’s office at (630) 796-2623, or Rep. Olsen’s office at (630) 737-0504.
Olsen Partners with Durkin to Reform Broken Property Tax System
I recently joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in filing new legislation that will sunset Illinois’ property tax code to force the General Assembly to reform the broken system. I am a Chief-Co-Sponsor of this bill. HB 5924 creates a deadline of July 1, 2019 for the General Assembly to create a new property tax code that is fair and equitable throughout the entire state of Illinois. If the General Assembly fails to address this by the deadline, the current Illinois property tax code would be immediately removed from state law. It is critical that the legislature turns its attention to this very important issue as soon as possible. 

In launching the bill, Durkin said, “It is plain and simple: the property tax system in Illinois is a failure, and it is time to start over. By setting a firm deadline for the General Assembly, it will force the legislature to come together in a bipartisan manner to find a compromise solution that will remedy this crisis and help bring Illinois back.”

A recent report from Attom Data Solutions shows Illinois with the second highest property taxes in the nation. Additionally, a Smart Asset report shows the statewide average effective tax rate in Illinois is 2.32 percent, almost double than the national average.

Take My Survey!
I recently posted my 2018 Legislative Survey to my web site, and I hope to receive wide participation by the residents of the 81st District. This year’s survey includes six multiple choice questions and an area for an open-ended response. Please take a few minutes to share your input. You can click here to get started. 

Olsen Speaks at GED Commencement at College of DuPage 
A few weeks ago it was my pleasure to speak at the High School Equivalency (GED) Commencement at College of DuPage. In my remarks, I spoke about the opportunities each person has to choose our own path - and take a new or different path to transform our lives. This day was truly inspirational, as we saw people of all walks of life who have overcome adversity to reach this important milestone in their own lives. Congratulations to these new graduates, and best wishes for a successful future! 

Rep. Olsen to Host Annual Jobs Fair
Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, July 25 when I will partner with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) for our annual free jobs fair in Lemont. The fair will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon at CORE Fitness Center, 16050 W. 127th Street, Lemont. If you are looking to take a job with the State, at 9:00 a.m. you might want to attend the “Effective Search Strategies for State Employment” workshop. At 10:00 and 11:00 workshops will be held focusing on interviewing techniques. All workshops are free of charge. 

Past job fairs have been very successful, so I would encourage anyone looking for employment opportunities to bring several resumes to this event. Follow-up data from the last few job fairs indicate several individuals were offered jobs on-the-spot while many others were scheduled for formal job interviews as a result of their attendance at the job fair.

Other upcoming events include:
  • Wednesday, July 18: Mobile Office Hours, 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM, Lisle Library, 777 Front Street, Lisle 
  • Saturday, August 4: Coffee & Conversation, 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM, Cedarhurst Senior Living, 3333 75th Street, Woodridge (I will be joined by State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove), Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham-Picek and members of the village board) 
  • Thursday, September 20: Joint Senior Fair with Downers Grove Park District, 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM Lincoln Center Gymnasium, 935 Maple Ave, Downers Grove 
  • November (Date TBA): Veterans Resource Fair: Details coming soon 
Rep. Olsen Joins ABATE at Local Meeting
Recently I was pleased to speak at a meeting of the Southern DuPage Chapter of ABATE with several of my colleagues. The event was held at Bono’s Neighborhood Pub in Lisle, and I was joined there by State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) and State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). We discussed several issues of concern to motorcyclists, as well as giving an update on the state budget and the recently-concluded legislative session. I am shown in this picture with club members and other local officials. Thanks for the invitation and hospitality! 

Unemployment Rate Continues Falling in All Metro Areas
Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in May in all of Illinois’ metropolitan areas, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in eleven of the metropolitan areas.

Illinois businesses added jobs in eleven metro areas, with the largest increases in: Kankakee (+3.9 percent, +1,800), the Quad Cities (+1.5 percent, +2,700), and Champaign-Urbana (+1.2 percent, +1,300). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division increased (+0.9 percent or +32,500). Illinois businesses lost jobs in three metro areas: Danville (-1.4 percent, -400), Carbondale-Marion (-1.2 percent, -700), and Springfield (-0.7 percent, -800).

The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (9 of 14), Professional and Business Services, (9 of 14), and Manufacturing (8 of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares May 2018 with May 2017. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 3.5 percent in May 2018 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in May 2018 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

Rep. Olsen Joins Governor at Eyes to the Skies Festival in Lisle
Last week I had a great time at the 38th annual Eyes to the Skies Festival in Lisle. This annual festival benefits charities through the following affiliates: Lisle Park District, Lisle Area Chamber of Commerce, Lisle Kiwanis, Lisle Rotary, Partners for Parks, Lisle Education Foundation, Lisle Lions, and Lisle Convention & Visitors Bureau. I am shown in this photo with Lisle Mayor Chris Pecak, Governor Bruce Rauner and State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville). I hope you also have had a chance to enjoy the many area festivals this summer. 

Rep. Patti Bellock Chosen as New Director of DHFS
I was thrilled last week to learn that my friend and mentor Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) has been chosen as the new director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock, who has served the nearby 47th Leglislative House District in the General Assembly since 1999, announced earlier this year that she would not be seeking reelection to her seat. Rep. Bellock is widely recognized by Republicans and Democrats alike as one of Illinois’ leading advocates for Medicaid, health care and social services, which are the precise areas she will oversee in her new role.

“Illinois is so fortunate to have an advocate for health and human services as dedicated and talented as Patti Bellock,” said Governor Bruce Rauner in announcing the appointment last week. “She has been instrumental in virtually every health advancement our state has made in the last two decades and I am looking forward to her leadership of the state’s ongoing effort to reform our delivery systems and improve our outcomes.”

Bellock is retiring from the House of Representatives where she became the first woman to serve as Deputy Minority Leader in 2013. She replaces interim DHFS Director Teresa Hursey who stepped in last month when Felicia Norwood left for the private sector.

Bellock helped to shepherd the recent approval of Better Care Illinois, the state’s landmark 1115 Medicaid waiver approved earlier this year for 10 pilot programs in mental health and substance abuse. She is known for her bipartisan, collaborative style as a member of two other Medicaid-related groups moving legislation forward to approve the Hospital Assessment and the Omnibus Medicaid bill. She has effectively co-led efforts in the General Assembly in recent years to move Illinois toward managed care. Her extensive work on Medicaid reform in Illinois has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal.

Bellock’s distinguished 20-year legislative career had a decided emphasis on health and human services. She was the Minority spokesperson on both the House Human Services Committee and the Human Services – Appropriations Committee. She has also served on committees with three different national organizations working on health care legislation and public policy issues throughout the United States. Her signature achievement in the General Assembly was the landmark Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act reforms of 2012. She served as Chairperson of the Medicaid Reform, Family & Children Committee from 2009-2011 under Speaker Madigan; the group which started the work on improving Illinois’ Medicaid program that culminated with passage of comprehensive reforms in 2012.

Her appointment is effective July 11, 2018.

Rep. Olsen Attends Groundbreaking Ceremony
I recently participated in the official groundbreaking of Bridge Point Downers Grove, a three-building, 678,858-square-foot industrial/office development. Situated on a previously undeveloped 57-acre site at the intersection of Interstates 88 and 355, Bridge Point Downers Grove is expected to provide a strategically located, high-visibility facility for office, e-commerce and distribution tenants. It is one of the largest developments in DuPage County in many years. More than 30 attendees were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, and I am shown in this photo with members of the development team and several Downers Grove officials, including Community Development Director Stan Popvich, Economic Development Corporation Chairman John Luka, Village Manager Dave Fieldman, Mayor Martin Tully and Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Michael Cassa. 

Nation’s Highest Court Issues Decision in Janus vs. AFSCME Case
On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 41-year-old precedent and ruled in favor of an Illinois state employee who said he should not be forced to pay fair share fees to the union that represents his job. In a 5-4 decision, the court sided with Mark Janus, who contended his free speech rights were violated by being forced to pay fair share dues to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Janus works as a child support specialist for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The job is a union position represented by AFSCME.

The opinion will mean immediate changes for Illinois state workers. Governor Bruce Rauner said the state will stop withholding fair share fees from non-union member paychecks. He also said state workers will be notified of the ruling and “be given an opportunity to modify their union status.” He said the average unionized state employee pays more than $900 a year in fees.

Olsen Attends Ribbon Cutting for New Local Business
In my role as State Representative, I try to attend as many grand openings and ribbon cuttings for new local businesses in the 81st District as my schedule allows. Last week I was proud to welcome Adorn512 Jewelry to their new store in downtown Downers Grove. These ribbon cutting ceremonies, sponsored by Chamber630, are a great way to welcome new job creators to our area. Best wishes to Adorn512 Jewelry for many years of success in our wonderful community! 

Pritchard Named to NIU Board of Trustees
Governor Bruce Rauner has named retiring Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) to the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Board of Trustees. Pritchard is a long-time education advocate and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose work in the General Assembly was focused on elementary, secondary and higher education. 

Pritchard’s appointment took effect on July 1, 2018, the same day he retired from the Illinois House of Representatives where he served the 70th Legislative District for more than 15 years. A recognized leader in education policy, Pritchard was a key contributor to the passage of the state’s new K-12 school funding formula, which increased state levels of school funding and made distributions to school districts more equitable.
In an effort to force movement toward property tax reform in Illinois, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) today in filing a bill that would repeal the existing property tax code on July 1, 2019.

“The need for property tax relief is the number one issue I hear from my constituents in the 81st District,” said Olsen. “The overtaxed people of Illinois are desperate for tax reform, yet their calls for relief are falling on deaf ears in Springfield. My hope is that by putting a sunset date on the existing property tax code, work will begin in earnest to reform our tax system, which is overly-reliant on property taxes.”

Durkin unveiled HB 5924 on Wednesday during a speech at the City Club of Chicago, and said his legislation creating a sunset date for the current property tax code should start the process of fixing the state’s broken property tax system. He pointed to the establishment of a deadline for school funding reform and budget negotiations as successful examples of how firm deadlines prompted legislative action.

“Oftentimes in Springfield, it takes a firm deadline to spark change,” said Olsen. “If the law that allows Illinois to collect property taxes expires on July 1, 2019, earnest discussions of how we can better-structure our system of taxation in a manner that is more fair and equitable would have to take center stage. I am pleased to be serving as the Chief Co-Sponsor of this bill.”

Olsen said he hopes bipartisan discussions will begin immediately.
National NBC News Publishes Redistricting Op-Ed Co-Authored by Rep. Olsen
Last year I was honored to be chosen as one of 12 young state legislators from across the country to participate on a bipartisan Democracy Reform Task Force to advance legislation on redistricting, government accountability, and access to voting. After the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Wisconsin case, I co-authored an op-ed with Ohio State Senator Frank LaRose about how gerrymandering of political maps needs to be stopped to restore trust in our democracy. Click here to read the op-ed, which was published by NBC News on June 18.

Rep. Olsen Joins Leader Durkin at Meeting with Metra Officials to Discuss Service Disruptions
Service reliability issues on Metra’s BNSF Line intensified recently with the implementation of new federally-mandated train safety regulations which prompted an entirely new train schedule. On Thursday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and I met with Metra CEO Jim Derwinski and his staff to express our concerns, and find out what steps are being taken to improve BNSF performance. 

Almost every day I hear from at least one constituent who is frustrated over paying higher fares for a lower quality of commuter rail service. Prior to the implementation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) safety improvements, BNSF Line users were experiencing frequent delays, regardless of the weather. The new train schedule has only added to the frustration.

At the meeting, Leader Durkin and I were assured that delays on BNSF trains had improved significantly and that last Wednesday (the day before our meeting) the trains ran 98.9% on time. We were also told that six adjustments had already been made to address train overcrowding. Mr. Derwinski said Metra is committed to solving the problems commuters are experiencing, and will continue monitoring on-time and capacity issues on the BNSF Line and make additional adjustments as needed.

Leader Durkin and I fully support the new PTC safety improvements and will continue to be in communication with Mr. Derwinski and his staff while issues continue to be resolved. Please let me know if you have additional feedback to share with Metra.

Moody's Cites 'Positive' Moves in New Illinois Budget
According to Moody’s Investors Service, the fiscal 2019 Illinois budget signed June 4 includes a voluntary pension buyout plan and a boost in school funding, which are credit-positive moves for Illinois and its school districts.

The $38.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 that begins on July 1 incorporates $423 million in savings that would be generated by current or former public-sector workers choosing to accept a buyout of their pensions or a retirement benefit in exchange for cash raised by the sale of up to $1 billion of state general obligation bonds. “The state’s buyout offer is credit positive because it will generate significant pension liability savings to the extent that employees accept the offer,” Moody’s said, adding that actual savings could fall short if participation fails to meet targets of 22 percent of vested former workers and 25 percent of retiring current workers. Read the rest of the story.

Take My Survey!
I recently posted my 2018 Legislative Survey to my web site, and I hope to receive wide participation by the residents of the 81st District. This year’s survey includes six multiple choice questions and an area for an open-ended response. Please take a few minutes to share your input. You can click here to get started. 

$6.995 Million in IDOT Funds Allocated for Road and Bridge Projects in 81St House District from 2019-2024
I am pleased to report that $6.995 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 81st Legislative House District. The projects were announced recently as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2019-2024.

District 81 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • $5,890,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on Ogden Avenue from Ivanhoe Avenue to east of IL 83 (Kingery Highway) in Lisle, Downers Grove, Westmont, Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale 
  • $1,105,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on IL 53 from Short Street to 59th Street in Lisle 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

Rep. Olsen to Host Annual Jobs Fair
Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, July 25 when I will partner with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Senator John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) for a free jobs fair in Lemont. The fair will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon at CORE Fitness Center, 16028 W. 127th Street, Lemont. If you are looking to take a job with the State, at 9:00 a.m. you might want to attend the “Effective Search Strategies for State Employment” workshop. At 10:00 and 11:00 workshops will be held focusing on interviewing techniques. All workshops are free of charge. 

Past job fairs have been very successful, so I would encourage anyone looking for employment opportunities to bring many resumes to this event. I received post-event data these last few years that indicates several individuals were offered jobs on-the-spot while many others were scheduled for formal job interviews as a result of their attendance at the job fair.

Olsen Celebrates Grand Opening of Easterseals New Naperville Center
On Thursday I joined State Senators John F. Curran (R-Downers Grove) and Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) for the grand opening of Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley’s new Naperville Center. The Senators and I are shown here with DuPage & Fox Valley Easterseals President and CEO Theresa Forthofer. 

Meningitis Vaccination Push Begins
As the start of college fall term approaches, public health officials are mounting a push to encourage incoming college freshmen to get vaccinated for meningitis B. The contagious neurological illness is a concern on college campuses worldwide. Public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that adolescents and young adults aged 16 through 23 are at particular risk of this disease. Many parents do not know that the meningitis vaccine administered to their children and adolescents can also be administered to young adults.

Rep. Olsen Hosts Successful Property Tax Event in Woodridge
We had a great turnout on June 16 for my annual property tax forum. This year’s event was held at the Woodridge Public Library. I was joined at the event by Downers Grove Township Assessor Greg Boltz, Lisle Township Assessor John Trowbridge and DuPage Township Assessor Jean Kelly. Together, we spoke to residents about the process that ties the value of a home to the eventual tax bill that arrives in an owner’s mailbox. We also spoke about exemptions and freezes that could lower tax bills in certain circumstances, and outlined the steps required for appealing an assessment. A question and answer session was also a part of the interactive event. 

Click here to view the presentation slides that were used during the forum, which includes contact information for all three assessors.

Olsen Attends Downers Grove Public Works Open House
Earlier this month it was my pleasure to stop by the Village of Downers Grove’s Public Works Open House. I had a great time visiting with the people who work hard on behalf of the village’s residents. Thanks to the great Public Works team for all their work to keep Downers Grove's streets, water system, and infrastructure maintained and safe. 

Illinois Unemployment Rate Declines Fifth Month in a Row in May
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced earlier this month that the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.3 percent in May and nonfarm payrolls increased by 8,600 jobs over the month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The April job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show a smaller gain. (+2,500 jobs versus +4,700 jobs). Job growth stabilized in the March to May period posting average monthly gains of +4,600 jobs over this three-month period, about the same as the 6-month average monthly gain of +4,500 jobs between December 2017 to May 2018.

“Since Governor Rauner took office, Illinois has added 192,700 jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen 1.7 points,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We’re seeing increases in job creation, retention, and investment due to the implementation of a pro-business climate. Our work certainly continues as we look to build upon these results to generate opportunity and success for all Illinoisans.”

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May 2018, which dropped to 3.8 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.9 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.3 percent in September 2006.

Olsen Hosts Series of Mobile Office Hours Events
Earlier this month I hosted a mobile office hours event at the Indian Prairie Library in Darien. I recognize that my Downers Grove office is not convenient for all constituents, so once each month or so during non-session time, I bring my office to a library in all seven communities that encompass the 81st District. I enjoy meeting constituents at these events and appreciate their comments and feedback. In addition to one-on-one conversations with the people I represent, a member of my staff is available to assist with issues involving State agencies. Look for more of these mobile office hours events throughout the rest of 2018. Visit www.repolsen.com to learn about mobile office hours near you. 

Olsen Attends Grand Opening of New Off-Leash Dog Area in Darien
On June 19, I was pleased to attend the grand opening of the new off-leash dog area at Oldfield Oaks Forest Preserve in Darien, located just east of Lemont Road near its intersection with I-55. This new community resource includes much open space for dogs and their owners to enjoy, as well as a dedicated space for smaller dogs. I am shown here with Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Board President Joe Cantore and Commissioners Linda Painter and Mary Lou Wehrli. 

“Wizard of Oz” Voted Top Illinois Book in Illinois Bicentennial Poll
The honor was voted on by participants in the “Illinois 200” bicentennial poll series, who cast ballots for their favorite book written in Illinois. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was penned in Chicago by a South Dakota newspaperman, L. Frank Baum, who was looking towards a midlife career change of course as a writer of children’s fantasy. The blockbuster novel inspired Baum to spend the rest of his life writing “Oz” novels. Other books supported by poll participants included Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and the poetic “Spoon River Anthology.”
Service reliability issues on Metra’s BNSF Line intensified recently with the implementation of new federally-mandated train safety regulations which prompted an entirely new train schedule. On Thursday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) met with Metra CEO Jim Derwinski and his staff to express their concerns, and find out what steps are being taken to improve BNSF performance.

“Metra is one of the largest commuter rail systems in the country, and the BNSF is its busiest line,” said Durkin. “Thousands of commuters from the western suburbs rely on this line daily to get to and from work, and they need to know their trains will be on time and that the existing number of rail cars can accommodate all travelers.”

“Almost every day I hear from at least one constituent who is frustrated over paying higher fares for a lower quality of commuter rail service,” said Olsen. “Prior to the implementation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) safety improvements, BNSF Line users were experiencing frequent delays, regardless of the weather. The new train schedule and reduction in the number of cars on trains have only added to the frustration.”

The lawmakers, who represent commuters from municipalities through much of the BNSF service area, were told that delays had improved significantly and that on Wednesday the trains ran 98.9% on time. They also learned that six adjustments had already been made to address train overcrowding.

“Metra officials appear to be committed to solving the problems commuters are experiencing, and we were told they will continue monitoring on-time and capacity issues on the BNSF Line and make additional adjustments as needed,” Durkin said.

“I was pleased to learn that trains were operating nearly 100% on time Wednesday,” added Olsen. “I hope to see that trend continue.”

Both lawmakers said they support the new PTC safety improvements, and will continue to be in communication with Derwinski while issues continue to be resolved.