Dear Neighbor,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well. Recently, new relief opportunities have been announced that will benefit households across the 7th District. See further down under "Community Resources" for details related to back to school tax benefits, federal student loan payment relief, and a new program that will benefit seniors.

General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

The last two weeks have been productive. I had an opportunity to take a tour of Swedish Covenant Hospital and met with CEO Anthony Guaccio and several ER and clinical staff. We discussed numerous systemic challenges facing healthcare facilities including finding and retaining healthcare workers, the barebones support system in place for our neighbors who struggle with addition and other issues. We also discussed progress made since the rollout last summer of the Northside Collaborative, a partnership between Swedish Hospital and five nearby federally qualified health clinics that aims to mitigate barriers to specialty care and increase health equity. I am especially passionate about seeing health disparities for those living with chronic mental health conditions, black women, immigrants, and LGBTQIA populations reduced over time in our district and surrounding areas. This collaborative is a step in the right direction. We also toured the emergency room and the new Women's Health Suite. Lastly, I met with the staff of Project Impact, a behavioral health crisis program that seeks to assist adults and children experiencing health or addiction crises.

I also recently had the pleasure of meeting with Dan Arnett, General Manager of the Uptown-based Chicago Market, which will be a new food cooperative located on Broadway and Wilson. We brainstormed potential partnerships with community based organizations that will help ensure this co-op space meets the needs of our richly diverse populations.

Additionally, I've been in touch with the staff at Howard Brown Health Center and we are working together with the Illinois Department of Public Health Director to ensure there is an equitable response across Illinois for MPV (monkeypox) vaccine distribution for the LGBTQIA community. As our state's first openly gay state Senator, I know all too well how poorly our community has been served historically by the system and will continue to advocate and push for equitable vaccine distribution and education around MPV.

I met with Shawn Jackson, President of Truman College and staff to discuss ongoing capital needs at their Uptown facility. They are beginning renovations of a decades old biology lab that will serve a broad and diverse population of students from across our district.

On another note, last weekend I visited the Edgewater Historical Society to tour the new Indigenous Edgewater exhibit. I participated in a tour with Les Begay, Founder of the Illinois Indigenous People's Day Coalition, Marjorie Fritz-Birch, and volunteers with the historical society. I enjoyed seeing a well-done map that shows a village site inhabited by multiple ethnic groups that existed just a couple hundred years ago on almost the exact location of the apartment building where I grew up in Lincoln Square. It is really important for our community to know and understand this history that often is not taught or talked about and really should be. I encourage you to visit the exhibit and learn about the indigenous communities who lived and continue to live in the areas we now know as Edgewater and Lincoln Square.

I also visited 19 block parties in every section and neighborhood of our district over the last three weekends! I always enjoy visiting constituents in the community and giving everyone a chance to get to know their state Senator and ask questions about legislation or community issues. It was extra special to visit with neighbors of the 2400 block of W. Berwyn who threw their very first block party. I grew up just a block and a half away! And it was fun visiting the Dover Street Neighbors Association block party last weekend as I lived on Dover not too long ago. Thank you to all of you who organize block parties and take the time to get to know your neighbors. It makes our community stronger.

Below there is information on how parents and teachers can receive tax deductions for the cost of school supplies, and student loan borrowers will see up to $20,000 in forgiveness and reduced monthly payments. Read on to learn more about these exciting opportunities and how your family can benefit.

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


Sen. Mike Simmons

Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th Senate District


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Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor,

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful summer. August is National Black Business Month! Please take time out this month and every month to patronize our wonderful local Black-owned businesses. I also wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the events I had the pleasure of attending the past couple of weeks. Aside from attending community events this month, I received the honor of being inducted into the 10th class of Edgar Fellows. 

There is also information below regarding the monkeypox virus (MPV), eligibility requirements for a vaccine, and where to receive a vaccine this weekend.

Please continue to have a wonderful and safe summer. 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

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Category: Newsletters

Dear Friends,


The Back to School Tax Holiday is underway here in Illinois! Thanks to a tax relief plan passed this spring, Illinois families will see reduced prices on school supplies and clothing from August 5th-14th in preparation for the upcoming school year. Qualifying items include clothes and shoes with a retail price less than $125, however school supplies are not subject to the $125 threshold. For a full list of qualifying and non-qualifying items, please click here.


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


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Category: Newsletters

Image: Senator Simmons helping clean up the Chicago River near Foster Avenue with Friends of the Chicago River this spring!


Dear Neighbor,

I wanted to send you an eco-newsletter that highlights organizations in and near our district that you should know about, and ways you can contribute to taking care of our environment. Recently the City of Chicago released its 2022 Chicago Climate Action Plan, and many constituents have contacted me to advocate for the importance of taking immediate and everyday action against climate change. I am most proud that I represent several miles of shoreline of Lake Michigan across our district, and it is an enormous responsibility to safeguard such a precious treasure. As a lifelong cyclist, avid walker, and person who uses and relies on public transit, I appreciate hearing from our neighbors who put our planet first and I wanted to help others who may want to do more for our environment. This Spring, I received a 100% scorecard rating by the Illinois Environmental Council, and will continue to support and advocate for legislation that rapidly advances clean energy, requires big companies to clean up their pollution, and prioritizes our planet and advances sustainability in all policies and systems.

It’s also important that everyone does their part on an issue as systemic as this, so I wanted to share some ways that YOU can get involved too! This newsletter will highlight businesses and organizations, both in my district and beyond, that are committed to taking action against climate change and making sustainable practices accessible to everyone. Check out the many ways that you and your family can get involved:

Organizations & Businesses

The 9 Best Composting Services of 2022

WasteNot Compost provides a compromise-free composting solution to over 5,000 Chicagoland members seeking clean and convenient composting. WasteNot utilizes a 100% electric fleet to provide its doorstep compost collection service. Every Fall and Spring, its members are able to receive back the finished compost that they helped create.

WasteNot Compost began in 2012 as a hobby for then high-schooler Liam Donnelly. Donnelly was working at a local Northside cafe and saw firsthand just how much food waste one business created. He began on a bike & trailer, collecting food scraps from WasteNot’s members across Chicago. Surging demand coupled with rapid service area expansion required a transformation from the bike operation to something more capable. Liam chose to bet on EVs and got his first electric step-van in 2017. Going electric so early has had its challenges, however, Donnelly began growing the fleet quickly and was determined to continue to compost without compromise™ . Today, with over 30 all-electric collection vehicles, Donnelly has transformed WasteNot into not only the first all-electric compost collection company in the U.S., but the nation’s largest EV waste management fleet.

Image: Senator Simmons with Congressman Quigley and Alderman Martin at Eco-Fest in Welles Park this summer!

Composting is a simple habit that can have massive implications for our home planet. Not only does composting reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, but it also accomplishes the following:

  • Prevents compostable waste from ending up in landfills, where it produces methane
  • Provides soil with needed nutrients that would otherwise be lost & reduces the need for synthetic & chemical fertilizers
  • Reduces soil erosion due to the retention of moisture & the suppression of plant diseases/pests
  • Significantly reduces the amount of landfill waste you dispose of on a daily basis
  • Keeps you aware of your waste habits & impacts your grocery runs

 — Reduce Waste Chicago

Reduce Waste Chicago
Are you curious about how to reduce waste, but don’t know where to start? Interested in more resources to help you on your journey? Reduce Waste Chicago is a nonprofit, volunteer-run program that bridges the gap between residents and meaningful landfill diversion, and raises awareness about the waste we produce and ways to reduce it.

RWC hosts Reuse & Recycle Pop-Up events, where residents can drop off materials from an accepted items list that are not accepted by the city’s Blue Cart program. They also host the Sustainability Market, featuring the Reuse & Recycle Pop-Up, retail vendors, artists and exhibitors focused on environmental sustainability.

The next market is Sunday, September 18th, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Northcenter Town Square. Volunteer today and help make a difference!

North Center Neighbors Association - The
 Sustainability Market

Eco & the Flamingo

Volunteering Opportunities

Image: Senator Simmons and team participating in Earth Day activities this spring! 


Interested in getting involved? Become a volunteer today! With this many wonderful organizations, it’s difficult to decide which one (or more) to get started with. To further discover what these organizations stand for and the amazing work they do, check out their websites using the links below!

Image: Senator Simmons visiting West Ridge Nature Preserve in our district last weekend!

Image: Senator Simmons grabs a photo of a duck family at West Ridge Nature Preserve 

Friends of the Chicago River
Friends of the Chicago River is the only organization solely dedicated to the Chicago River system. Since 1979, Friends has been working to improve the health of the Chicago River system for the benefit of people and wildlife and by doing so, has laid the foundation for the river to be a beautiful, continuous, easily accessible corridor of open space in the Chicago region.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the region to protect our most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes. Learn more about threats to the Great Lakes and how you can make a difference.

Image: Composting pumpkins!

A Just Harvest
A Just Harvest’s mission is to fight poverty and hunger in the Rogers Park and greater Chicago community by providing nutritious meals daily while cultivating community and economic development and organizing across racial, cultural and socioeconomic lines in order to create a more just society.

Edgewater Environmental Coalition

We are a coalition of community members and environmental stewards, rooted in Edgewater, empowering people to build and maintain a more sustainable future through action, organizing, education, and advocacy.

Image: Senator Simmons joins neighbors in planting marram grass on our shoreline with the Edgewater Environmental Coalition last fall

Legislative Action
As we enter into the next legislative session, I want to hear from YOU about what environmental initiatives the state of Illinois should take in the future and how the district can respond to the Chicago Climate Action Plan. If you are passionate about the environment and have ideas that you would like to share with me, click on the Google form here: Environmental/Climate Action Responses.


Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Newsletter Archive

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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