Dear neighbor,

Happy New Year! My office and I wrapped up 2021 with a strong commitment to meet you and bring government to the people. Since the last newsletter, we have seen spikes in positive COVID-19 cases, staffing shortages throughout our community, and families struggling to find help. I know that the last two weeks have been especially unpredictable. I wanted to be sure to share this COVID-19 relief toolkit to make sure that you have access to all of the resources and relief programs available. Please scroll to read more.


Sen. Simmons' COVID relief toolkit


Vaccine Clinic in District for Kids!

On Friday, at the Broadway Armory, my office, State Rep Kelly Cassidy, and Alderman Harry Osterman hosted a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine event with Genoa Healthcare. All children ages 5-11 received a vaccine. I'm excited to have wrapped up #ChildrenCarryOn with a clinic in the district!


What you need to know about the omicron variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has partnered with global public health and industry partners to learn more about the omicron variant.
Here are a few quick things to note:

          Q: How quickly does omicron spread?

          A: How easily omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects anyone with omicron infection to spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don't have symptoms.

          Q: Are vaccines effective against omicron?

          A:  Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

          Q: Is omicron more deadly than the delta variant?

          A: More data is needed to know if omicron infections, especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.

Get tested.

Is it a common cold, or is it omicron? A question that has crossed many of our minds after learning symptoms among the vaccinated is often quite mild. Because of omicron's quick transmission, it's important to know if you have it.

If you are experiencing any symptoms — which include runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, or a sore throat — or have been in contact with someone who has the virus, it is advised you get tested.

While rapid tests produce more immediate results, they aren't always accurate. Food and Drug Administration recently announced mutations aren't always able to be picked up by those tests. If you are able, consider getting a PCR test instead. While the results take longer, they are more accurate. To find a community-based PCR testing site near you, click here.

However, a rapid test is better than no test at all. If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, or you have even the mildest of symptoms, get the test that best fits your needs.

If you are looking to get vaccinated, you can find an appointment here:


The City of Chicago now requires patrons of certain indoor spaces to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Get tested. Wear a mask indoors. Please, help us stop the spread.

Job Training and Economic Development

GreenCorps Job Training Program
Recruitment is now underway for Greencorps' 2022 program. Participants spent the last nine months in the paid training program and provided vital support for efforts to clean and green Chicago communities. The program has produced more than 600 graduates in its 27 years of existence and, in the last five years, has succeeded in placing about 80% of them in jobs. Industry partners host internships for the trainees, helping them acquire additional experience that can lead to permanent jobs. Interested candidates who want to apply should go to: or call 312-746-9777.

Chicago Recovery Plan Development Grants
The Chicago Recovery Plan Development Grants initiative seeks  applications who will seek to create projects with a strong local impact. Past projects in historically disinvested areas have built upon existing efforts, such as Mayor Lightfoot's INVEST South/West Initiative and community safety initiatives. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The first-round application deadline is Jan. 31, 2022, followed by a second-round application deadline of March 10, 2022. Applicants who are not prepared to apply for either round are encouraged to review all relevant materials and prepare to apply for a third application round in the summer. For more information on the Chicago Recovery Plan community development grant application, click HERE.


Sen. Simmons in the news:


Sen. Simmons' Community Updates:

Last Wednesday, I returned to Springfield to start the 2022 legislative session. Although I was in the Capitol, I still wrote back to constituents! I encourage you to write to my office and stay in touch all year long.


The Illinois Department of Human Services offers the Illinois Assistive Technology Program, which provides assistive technology to all Illinois residents of all ages with disabilties and/or health conditions- including family members, friends, and caregivers. Learn more HERE.


Starting last month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security stopped sending payments via KeyBank debit cards to unemployment insurance claimants. People who don't select direct deposit as their payment method will receive their benefits by paper check. All claimants are encouraged to select direct deposit as their payment method. Direct deposit is free, easy, fast, and can be updated at any time. For more information, visit


The minimum wage in Illinois increased another dollar on Jan. 1-now set at $12 an hour. Employees with problems regarding the minimum wage can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor HERE or call 312-793-2800.


Illinois drivers will now have an additional three months to renew their licenses. Get the details at:


As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.


Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

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Office Info

District Office
1040 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 769-1717 (Phone)
(773) 945-9979 (Text)

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
Stratton Building
Section F, Office G
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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