Thursday, November 07, 2013

Five Join Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at UIS

The Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield will honor five individuals who have served as legislative interns at the state Capitol. U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Scott Kaiser, Mona Martin, Scott Reimers, and David Sykuta will be inducted during a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, November 21, 2013. Inductees are selected based on their contributions to Illinois and its citizens. The Hall of Fame is also recognition of the important role that public service internships play in developing public sector leadership.

Bustos, originally a journalist, used her pen to help her community. She uncovered numerous stories of corruption and greed in government, winning state and national awards for her work on behalf of the public interest. Twelve years ago, she left journalism to work for one of the nation’s largest non-profit health care systems. In 2007 Bustos was elected to serve on the City Council in East Moline for two terms and made her top priority economic development, which led to her founding the East Moline Downtown Revitalization Committee. In 2012, she was elected to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Bustos earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, where both her parents and son graduated.

Kaiser served as a legislative analyst on the senate republican staff from 1988-1996 working on welfare and healthcare issues and funding for human services agencies. During his eight years on staff, there were four years in the minority and four years in the majority under Senator Pate Philip. From 1997-1999 he served as deputy director of legislative affairs for Governor Jim Edgar, working primarily as the governor’s liaison to the Senate. In 1999, Kaiser and his wife Julie moved to Carbondale where he became assistant to the president of Southern Illinois University. His responsibilities included government affairs, and community and media relations. In July 2004, he was elected assistant secretary of the senate for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly. He has been re-elected assistant secretary of the senate for the 94th, 95th, 96th, 97th and 98th General Assemblies. Kaiser is active in the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries (ASLCS), where he is currently serving as national vice president. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Martin is an independent, contract lobbyist who owns her own consulting firm in Springfield. Prior to consulting, she worked at the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs/Economic Opportunity for 4 years where she served as the deputy director of policy development, planning, and research and was charged with developing the programmatic structure for the $12 billion Illinois FIRST program. Her career in government began as an intern in 1989 with the house republican staff. She later staffed the House Revenue Committee, and in 1993, became the director of research, in addition to later adding the responsibilities as the director of appropriations.

Reimers currently serves as chief of staff for the house republican leader in the Illinois General Assembly, a position he has held since 2011. He began his career in state government through the Illinois Staff Legislative Internship Program with the house republican staff in 1994 as a substantive and appropriations committee staff member working specifically with the human services and insurance committees and analyzing agency budgets. In 1999, Reimers was promoted to director of research and later deputy chief of staff for public policy prior to being named chief of staff. He also coordinated several political campaigns for house republican seats. In his current role, Reimers manages over 100 employees, including staff members for legislative research, communications, technology, policy, appropriations, legislative assistants, and support staff, and provides policy advisement for the house republican leadership team and caucus on state policies and legislation. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Sykuta started his career with the Senate Republican staff in 1973, specializing in industrial relations. He was hired as a full-time legislative consultant for the Illinois senate republican staff in July 1974. During his tenure on the Senate staff, he took several leaves of absence to organize and manage political campaigns. In April 1976, Sykuta joined the Illinois Petroleum Council as associate director and in 1986 he was appointed executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council. In the fall of 1996, he co-founded the Partnership for Environmental Progress, a coalition of more than 80 businesses, labor unions, agricultural groups, trade associations, corporations and scientific groups whose common goals are a cleaner environment, economic growth and sound public policy. He also serves at the pleasure of Illinois’ governor on the Illinois Environmental and Regulatory Review Commission. Sykuta retired from the Illinois Petroleum Council last December and continues to work on special projects for the oil industry as a part time contractor. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Illinois State University in in 1972. He also attended graduate school in Public Administration at Illinois State and the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by Illinois Issues, the state’s leading public policy magazine, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. The Hall of Fame is named for the late Samuel Gove, one of the magazine’s founders and a longtime director of the internship program. Established in 1990, the Hall of Fame, including this year’s inductees, now numbers 59 individuals, among them a former governor and several former and current state legislators. The names of the Hall’s members are inscribed on a plaque that hangs on the fourth floor of the Statehouse.

The event on November 21 will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion at Fourth and Jackson Streets, followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased online at http://illinoisissues.uis.edu/. The deadline to register is November 18. Reservations are required. For more information on attending, call 217/206-6084.

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