EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) released the following statement as State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala’s announced her retirement:

“As chair of Education, it has been an honor to work with Dr. Ayala to better the lives of students across Illinois. Her knowledge and passion for education and students showed through her work. Dr. Ayala overcame numerous trials and tribulations, consistently doing what was best for students. Illinois saw a decade-high in the state’s graduation rate under her leadership.

“I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ayala and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

Category: Press Releases

Fgvm2jaXEAQSanYMARYVILLE – With daylight saving time coming to an end this weekend, State Senator Christopher Belt and State Senator Kris Tharp are reminding Metro East families to also check and change their smoke detector batteries as needed.

“While we update our clocks to fall back, daylight saving also serves as an important reminder to make sure your smoke detectors are working,” said Senator Belt (D-Swansea). “This is a helpful habit to ensure your household is safe.”

If you find an alarm that is not working or is expired, replace the alarm immediately with a new 10-year sealed battery alarm. It’s also a great time to review your family’s fire escape plan.

Between the years 2014-2018, the National Fire Protection Association reported that almost three out of every five home fire deaths in the U.S. resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. The chances of dying in a home fire was reduced by 55% in homes where working smoke alarms are present.

“Ensuring your family’s smoke alarm is working is an inexpensive way to prioritize your household’s safety in the event of a fire,” said Senator Tharp (D-Bethalto). “Maintaining the alarm is a simple way to help keep your family members and pets safe from harm.”

For more information about fire safety, visit the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance website.

Category: Press Releases

National First Responder Day 2022 FBEAST ST. LOUIS – In recognition of First Responders Day on Oct. 28, State Senators Christopher Belt and Kris Tharp urge residents to take time this week to express gratitude toward emergency personnel.

“Individuals working in public safety respond to calls of distress on a daily basis,” said Senator Tharp (D-Bethalto). “First responders exemplify courage and strength in our communities. This week and every week, thank one you know personally or when you see one out around town.”

First Responders Day recognizes the work of firefighters, police officers, 911 dispatchers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics and their commitment to improving public safety in Illinois. Senators Belt and Tharp remind residents to extend gratitude to first responders year-round for their dedication and remember those lost in the line of duty. 

“Public safety officers and first responders have made sacrifices in order to serve and protect their communities,” said Senator Belt (D-Swansea). “To show our appreciation, we must honor and express gratitude for their efforts.”

To support families of fallen first responders, Senators Belt and Tharp are sponsoring a measure in the Senate to ensure line of duty death benefits are fully funded. The measure is Senate Bill 4229 and can be discussed in the upcoming legislative session.

Category: Press Releases

mammography 2416942rMARYVILLE – National Mammography Day is recognized during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and State Senators Christopher Belt and Kris Tharp are reminding women to schedule this potentially life-saving exam.

“Early detection for breast cancer is vital to patient care,” said Senator Belt (D-Swansea). “National Mammography Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month serve as a reminder for women to schedule their yearly exams, and this simple test saves lives.”

Breast cancer affects more than 250,000 women and 2,400 men in the United States every year. But unfortunately, the National Cancer Institute reported an estimated 9.4 million screenings that normally would have taken place in 2020 did not occur due to the pandemic.

“Mammograms are one of the best tools doctors have to screen for breast cancer,” said Senator Tharp (D-Bethalto). “I urge women to make an effort to ensure they are up-to-date on their breast screenings and to make mammogram appointments as needed.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers free breast exams and mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women. The program also supports diagnostic services and assists with referrals for treatment options.

To enroll in IBCCP, women can call the Women’s Health Line 888-522-1282 (800-547-0466 TTY). The Women’s Health Line will be able to walk women through the eligibility requirements and the screening process.

Category: Press Releases

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