Springfield, IL … The 99th Illinois General Assembly is underway and lawmakers have begun to gather in Springfield to tackle some of the most critical issues facing Illinois. State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), a well-known advocate for Illinois veterans, was appointed spokesperson for the Special Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. A former Chairman of the Committee, McAuliffe has maintained a strong voice for the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“I am honored and proud to continue to work towards making the lives of Illinois’ veterans easier,” explained McAuliffe. “It is up to us to make sure our country’s heroes have direct access to state services without the headache of bureaucratic red-tape.”
With the reduction of troops in current military operations, Illinois is seeing an influx of veterans returning to civilian life, around 75% of those veterans being under the age of 30. McAuliffe explains that greater attention must be made towards ensuring that transition from military to civilian life is seamless, and the State of Illinois can help facilitate that.
“Over the past year or so, we have seen tens of thousands of men and women returning to Illinois from their deployment overseas. The vast majority of these veterans return looking to begin their lives outside of the military,” stated McAuliffe. “Our state must work towards making sure there are opportunities for continued education and career training for those who have served our country.”
McAuliffe, who during the last General Assembly passed legislation creating the Hepatitis C Task Force, was also appointed spokesperson of the Health Care Licenses Committee & also as a member of the Health Care Availability & Access Committee. Since the formation of the Hepatitis C Task Force, McAuliffe has been named the chair and has made it a priority to identify and treat those who could be unknowingly living with the virus.
He explains that the biggest group affected by Hepatitis C is Vietnam-era veterans:
“We knew that there was a segment of the population born between 1945 and 1965 that were most at the most risk of having contracted the Hepatitis C virus,” said McAuliffe. “It turns out that many of these individuals served in Vietnam and never had undergone proper preventative testing.”
As a newly appointed member of the Health Care Availability & Access Committee, McAuliffe intends on continuing to advocate on behalf of veterans and ensure that preventative testing, such as that of the Hepatitis C virus, is routinely offered during medical care.
“I am in a unique position in that I not only serve on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee but also two different health care committees. In many instances the legislative subject-matter of these committees becomes intertwined as a lot of what we do in Veterans’ Affairs is health-related,” stated McAuliffe. “I look forward to working with these committees in making absolutely sure that our state’s veterans receive the top-notch services and care that they deserve.”
Representative McAuliffe, who represents the City of Chicago’s northwest side and its surrounding suburbs, was also named to the committees on Appropriations on Public Safety, Public Utilities, Tourism & Conventions and also as the spokesperson of the Committee on Museum, Arts & Cultural Enhancements.