The announcement this week by state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg that he’ll retire from the legislature when his term ends in 2013 left many local officials praising the work he has done for the community.
“Sen. Schoenberg represented us brilliantly for many years,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “I think of him whenever I drive under one of our viaducts. He has done good work for all the people of Illinois, and all I can say is ‘thank you Jeff.’ It’s a tough job and he did it well.”
Schoenberg, D-Evanston, announced Tuesday that he will end his career in politics to take an expanded role as an adviser to the Pritzker family’s philanthropy efforts in the area of early childhood development.
“Sen. Schoenberg’s representation is going to be greatly missed,” said Ald. Don Wilson, 4th. “In my short time on Evanston’s City Council, he has proven himself to me to be a strong advocate and an important community partner. His representation of his district in Springfield has been exemplary.”
“To me representation goes beyond fighting for money,” Wilson added. “He has made the effort to listen to his constituents and to fight for the things he believes are important during his tenure as a representative and as a senator.”
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, who shares an office space with Schoenberg on Davis Street in downtown Evanston, applauded his office mate as an effective senator with a knack for accomplishing goals.
“As an expert on federal match funding for health care, he has been responsible for Illinois receiving billions of dollars of funding that have benefited every person in Illinois,” Suffredin said. “As a protector of the public treasury, he has been responsible for ethical oversight at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority and the RTA. As an advocate for his district, he has been the source of millions of dollars of state capital funding.”
“Evanston and the whole district have lost a strong voice for progressive values and responsible government,” Suffredin continued. “I am grateful to have been his partner in government for the last nine years.”
City officials credit Schoenberg for helping secure $10.3 million in funding from the Chicago Transit Authority Board in July to replace Purple Line viaducts at three Evanston streets, and for retaining wall repairs along Chicago Avenue.
He is also credited with playing a vital role in the June 2011 opening of a new Illinois workNet center in Evanston, which provides job-related resources to the public from the third floor of the Evanston Public Library.
“Schoenberg was instrumental in identifying the needs, issues, problems and concerns on a community level and local level – issues that needed to be addressed quickly and locally,” said Jennifer Stasch, executive director of The Workforce Board of Northern Cook County. “In doing so, he looked for real solutions, and the library was that solution.”
While Schoenberg plans to leave public office, Evanston officials said they were confident in his continued support.
“I’m glad for the fact that even when Sen. Schoenberg is no longer a regular presence in Springfield, he will be in Evanston,” said Ald. Jane Grover, 7th. “I’m sure Sen. Schoenberg still has a lot he wants to accomplish in this term, and I look forward to helping him.”