It's been my honor to serve you.
Today I bid you farewell in this last e-newsletter as State Representative for the 81st District. I have a few updates for you below, but wanted to share a few closing words with you as my term comes to an end.

When I entered this role, I never imagined how difficult the decisions would be. Being a good Representative means that you can’t just settle in to your own preconceived notions and rely on your own life experiences. Instead, you must take the time to listen to all perspectives, educate yourself on the issues, and collaborate with people very different from you. That’s a true challenge for any person – especially when there are compelling arguments on all sides. But I’m so proud to have represented a district diverse in opinions with so many people willing to share their input. Public service isn’t really service without getting input from the people who you serve – and your feedback and input has truly guided my decision-making as your representative. We may not always have agreed, but I always valued your feedback.

Too often, we are discouraged with government and politics. There are many challenges and problems in our State, and that shouldn’t go understated. But I’ve learned from my experience in our state legislature that everyone can make a difference. No one has a monopoly on good ideas. No one person, no one organization, and no one political party. We can’t change the world overnight, but we can help to take small steps to make things better. And compounding enough of the small steps will allow us to realize big change. Thanks to much bipartisan collaboration, I’m proud to have passed 19 bills though the House of Representatives in my tenure with 15 of them becoming the law of the land. These have been good pieces of legislation that make our State better – taking steps toward more efficient, effective and responsive government. I hope to continue to see those small but important steps taken to turn our State around and I’ll certainly be doing what I can to help as an involved resident. 

To close, I want to thank the many people who have supported me over these years. Thank you to amazing House staff who have supported my colleagues and me day in and day out. A particular thank you to Lynn Bila, my district legislative assistant, and Cheryl Meyer, my communications staffer. Lynn and Cheryl have spent countless hours making sure I did the best job possible to serve and represent the people of this district. Thank you to my colleagues in the House and Senate for working collaboratively with me to help the people of Illinois. Thank you to my family and my friends for always supporting me, through good times and bad. And finally I want to thank you, the people of the 81st district, for giving me the distinct honor of serving in this esteemed role. It has been a true honor, and I hope we keep in touch. My personal e-mail is dsolsen2@gmail.com.

My life motto is carpe diem – seize the day. Go out and make the best of this day – and each day we are blessed with. That’s what I’ll continue to do.

So today I bid you, my friends, a very fond farewell – until next time.

Sincerely,

David

General Assembly Convenes for “Lame Duck” Session
Prior to Wednesday’s inauguration of the members of the new 101st General Assembly, lawmakers are in Springfield this week for two days of “lame duck” Session on Monday and Tuesday. In addition to approving a host of honorary resolutions brought forward by members, Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker asked the Representatives and Senators to take legislative action on a few items, including: 
  • Moving the annual budget address speech from January to February 
  • Providing the new Governor with flexibility to set agency salaries (currently set in statutes)
  • Reorganizing of the Illinois Tollway Board 
These two days mark the end of my time in the Illinois General Assembly. On Monday I made some departing comments on the House floo. You can watch that floor video here.

New Year Brought New Laws to Illinois Statutes
On January 1, 253 new laws took effect in Illinois. These laws have wide raging impact. Just a few of them include: 
  • Children under the age of 2 years old must be restrained in rear facing car seats unless they weigh 40 or more pounds or are 40 or more inches tall. 
  • Government employees who have been fired for misconduct can no longer receive severance packages. Severance packages for all other employees is limited to no more than 20 weeks of pay. 
  • Qualified students can enroll in an unlimited amount of dual credit courses and earn an unlimited amount of academic credits from dual credit courses with certain provisions. 
  • When purchasing any firearm, the buyer must wait 72 hours from the time of the purchase to receive the gun. Under prior law, the 72-hour waiting period only applied to handguns. 
  • Every Illinois school is required to conduct at least one law-enforcement led active shooter drill each year. School safety drills must be conducted within 90 days of the start of the school year. 
  • Nursing mothers will be exempt from jury duty upon request. 
  • Stalking laws are expanded to include messages sent through social media. Additionally, businesses, places of worship and schools can seek restraining orders against stalkers. 
  • The Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Act was enacted opening the door in Illinois for new treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. 
  • All children in kindergarten and the second, sixth, and ninth grades of any public, private or parochial school shall have a dental examination. 
Read the complete list.

Rep. Olsen Joins in Farewell to Outgoing College of DuPage President
Recently I joined students, faculty, staff, elected officials and community members to bid farewell to College of DuPage (COD) President Dr. Ann Rondeau. Dr. Rondeau took over as President of COD in July of 2016 during a tumultuous time at the school, and over the last 2 ½ years she facilitated a comprehensive rebuilding of trust at COD as she navigated the school through multiple governance, financial and personnel challenges. During her tenure she took meaningful steps to restore internal and external confidence in the institution through a renewed dedication to individual and institutional integrity. Her term as President concluded at the end of 2018 and Dr. Brian Caputo is now serving as Interim President of the College. 

I had the pleasure of serving on the COD Board and working closely with Dr. Rondeau. Her ability to drive positive results by establishing and maintaining strong relationships based on collaboration and participatory governance was stellar. I wish her the very best as she moves on to her new role as the president of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where she will work toward transforming and modernizing education in the Navy and Marine Corps and bring a new emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

I filed an honorary House Resolution with State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) to thank Dr. Rondeau for her service. The resolution was adopted yesterday. You can read that resolution here.

Rep. David Olsen Honors New Eagle Scouts
It was a privilege to honor four new Eagle Scouts during a combined Court of Honor ceremony held at the Downers Grove American Legion Hall prior to the holiday break. These young men from Troop 80 are to be applauded for achieving scouting’s highest rank. I appreciated the opportunity to share some remarks at the ceremony and wish them all the very best. I’m shown in this photo with new Eagle Scouts John Cagney, Alex Fosket, Jon Silkaitis and Adam Scheg.
Today in Springfield, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) made some departing remarks to his colleagues in the House of Representatives. Olsen is serving his final days in the General Assemly prior to the swearing in of the new 101st General Assembly on Wednesday.

Click here to watch the video of his floor comments.