Do you know a teacher who doesn't just impart knowledge, but truly inspires students to learn and succeed? Nominate him or her for a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching at goldenapple.org/awards. Winners will receive a $5,000 cash award, experience a spring quarter sabbatical at Northwestern University, become a lifetime Fellow of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators and be honored on a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) TV program. Applications will be accepted through December 15.
Happy 200th Birthday Illinois!
Today is the 200th anniversary of the state of Illinois’ admission to the union back in 1818. It is the day that caps off a year-long celebration of Illinois’ past and present, and which looks to the future. 

The theme of the bicentennial festivities was “Born, Built, Grown” a celebration of all the great people and things that have their roots here in Illinois. Illinois has made a mark on history of which we can all be proud. Our place in history includes people like our greatest President and our many accomplished writers, entertainers, veterans, educators, inventors, athletes, political leaders and more. Our history also includes products and innovations which came from Illinois, like the steel plow that revolutionized agriculture in the 19th century or the first nuclear reaction which changed the world in the 20th century.

Today the state faces challenges. But a state which was created by pioneers, which produced the leaders who won the Civil War, and which came through the Great Depression, world wars, natural disasters and many other great adversities in its first 200 years is a state which can meet the challenges of today. The State of Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday party at the Aon Grand Ballroom at the tip of Chicago’s Navy Pier this evening. Starting at 7:30 PM, the party will bring together singers, dancers, and athletes with connections to Illinois for a star-studded celebration of our state’s triumphs and heritage. Colors and trophies will be presented as reminders of the achievements of these men and women on behalf of all Illinoisans. With a focus on entertainment, sports, and life, the event will be a fast-forward way for Illinois celebrants to experience the past two hundred years in the Land of Lincoln.

General Assembly Completes Fall Veto Session
The November 2018 veto session came to an end on Thursday, November 29 with final action taken on many bills vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Some of the vetoes were overridden; however, many of the vetoes were allowed to stand after sponsors could not gather the three-fifths majorities of both houses required for an override. This was the final week available for a House or Senate bill sponsor to submit a motion to override a veto and have the motion called on the floor of the General Assembly, so the remaining vetoed bills are now all dead for the year. Click here to view a list of all veto action take during the six-day veto session.

The House will re-convene on Monday, January 7 for two days of “lame duck” session to wrap up the duties of the 100th General Assembly. As veto session ended, the 2019 spring session calendar was published. The new 101st Illinois House of Representatives will convene on Wednesday, January 9, for its members to take their oaths of office.

As you probably know, I will not be returning for the 101st General Assembly. I will save my farewell comments for a newsletter in a few weeks. Following the closing gavel for veto session, I spoke on camera about my hopes for the future of Illinois. Click here to view that video.

Olsen Enjoys Christmas Tree Lighting in Downers Grove
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is when residents of Downers Grove gather in the downtown area for the official lighting of the Village of Downers Grove Christmas Tree in front of the Main Street Train Station. There is a tremendous turnout for this event every year and it is great to see and talk with so many friends and neighbors. 

Rep. David Olsen Recognized for Service through Honorary Resolution 
On the final day of the fall veto session, members of the House honored all departing members. Each of us received an honorary House Resolution that highlighted our accomplishments and contributions while in office. My most sincere thanks go out to House Republican Deputy Leader Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), who made some very kind floor comments about my time in the General Assembly. You can click here to watch Leader Demmer’s floor comments, and here to read the honorary House Retirement Resolution approved by the members of the House on Thursday.

Illinois Capitol Unveils Holiday Display
While the Illinois Capitol building is beautiful 365 days-a-year, this time of year the rotunda is especially magnificent. Last Wednesday the 2018 holiday display was unveiled in the first floor rotunda. The display features a Christmas tree that extends upward to the second floor of the Capitol, a large menorah, and a nativity scene. If your travels take you to Springfield between now and the new year, visit your Capitol and enjoy the holiday display. Local musicians are often performing in the rotunda to enhance the holiday spirit. 

Thousands Come Out for Annual Bonfield Express 5K in Downers Grove
On Thanksgiving morning, I joined thousands of runners for the 15th Annual Bonfield Express 5K through the streets of Downers Grove. It has become a wonderful community tradition, as we all come together in thanks to raise money for the Bonfield Express Foundation, a local charity that provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors to help build future community leaders. I look forward to this race every year and appreciate how our community gathers to support our next generation of leaders. I also appreciate that in recognition of my House District, race organizers reserved #81 for me! I am shown in this photo with my father Jerry Olsen and Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully. 

Bacterial Meningitis on the Rise on College Campuses
Meningitis B outbreaks occurred once again this fall in U.S. colleges and universities. Although the incidents were outside of Illinois, Illinois public health experts urged prompt attention be paid to the infectious disease. Medical care providers reported the infectious bacterium in California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. Meningitis B is a disease that is particularly prone to outbreaks on college and university campuses. Although the vaccine for Meningitis B is optional in Illinois, health directors urge healthy Illinoisans, especially persons living in dormitory-style housing units, to get immunized against the disorder. Meningitis can cause neurological complications and, in rare instances, can be fatal.