supplier diversityCHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), Chair of the Special Committee on Supplier Diversity, participated in a virtual joint hearing with the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee, Senate Executive Committee, and Senate State Government Committee focused on how the state awards its contracts with businesses.

“Prioritizing equity and diversity in the businesses state government buys from and signs contracts with will help strengthen our economy,” Villivalam said. “This is crucial to the COVID-19 economic recovery process and to Illinois taxpayers. They’re placing their trust in us, so it’s our responsibility to make sure the policies and practices are fair and equitable.”

The committee discussed operational challenges in supplier diversity, the Business Enterprise Program and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise policies.

Villivalam believes that fairness and equity are key to expanding opportunities for women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses across the state.

“We owe it to the people of Illinois to ensure every business has access to bid for state contracts and to sell products to the state,” Villivalam said. “It’s taken decades to move toward a more equitable process, and while it’s getting better, minority-and women-owned businesses still don’t receive a fair share of state business. We obviously need to do more.” 

Villivalam, the committee and stakeholders are committed to ensuring the procurement process becomes more diverse and equitable, including legislative changes, if needed.

Category: Press Releases

COVID testing siteCHICAGO – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Chicago, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to utilize free permanent and temporary COVID-19 testing sites. 

“We need to continue our strong testing operations to stay ahead of the virus and keep our positivity rates down,” Villivalam said. “It’s vital to get tested even if you don’t feel sick, because asymptomatic people are still capable of passing the virus on to others. Testing and contact tracing are keys to being able to continue to safely reopen our state and economy.” 

Individuals who believe they may have been exposed to the virus should get tested 5-7 days after exposure – even if they don’t feel sick. Those with symptoms resembling COVID-19 should also get tested even if they deem medical care unnecessary. 

“We have to stay vigilant,” Villivalam said. “Getting a test that is quick and safe will allow anyone who needs to travel, work away from home, or care for children or older adults to make sure they don’t have COVID-19.” 

There are currently nearly 300 testing sites across the state, including 11 state-operated community-based testing sites and 12 mobile testing teams. All state operated testing facilities are free. 

Senator Villivalam also took an active role in coordinating the placement of two free mobile testing centers in West Rogers Park and Morton Grove during the month of August. 

More information about testing locations, times, and requirements can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov/testing

Category: Press Releases

Fire.Hydrant.PreventionCHICAGO – In recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is reminding people to take fire safety precautions seriously and to follow the guidelines suggested by the Illinois State Fire Marshal. 

“Cooking fires can start and grow very quickly,” Villivalam said. “While COVID-19 safety protocols have been our main focus over the past several months, teaching kids where to be and not to be in the kitchen in addition to adopting good fire safety precautions are keys to safety.”

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the US. Almost half of reported home fires start in the kitchen, and according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, in 2019, Illinois Fire Departments responded to nearly 6,500 fires that were either caused by cooking or originated in the kitchen. 

To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, visit the NFPA website

Category: Press Releases

Flu VaccineCHICAGO – As summer ends and fall weather quickly approaches, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is encouraging all Illinoisans, but especially all older adults, to get a flu vaccine.

“Getting a flu shot is always important, but this year we are fighting both the seasonal flu and COVID-19,” Villivalam said. “Getting a shot will hopefully prevent you from getting the flu and will also help out our health care systems by keeping medical resources available for COVID-19 patients.” 

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, older adults and people with chronic health issues are more likely to develop serious complications resulting from an influenza infection. While flu seasons are variable in their severity, people 65 years and older tend to be the most vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 70% to 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in adults 65 years and older. 

“It’s really important for older Illinoisans to get a flu shot,” Villivalam said. “This is a necessary precaution to take in a year when it’s best to avoid a hospital visit and potential exposure to COVID-19.” 

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover one flu shot per flu season. It is always advisable to consult a health care provider before seeking medical treatment. You can find out where to get a flu vaccine with Vaccine Finder

Category: Press Releases

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