October 20, 2005

Full Bio and Statement from Rep. Mike Boland

Due to space constraints, only basic info was provided in the Boland discussion post.

The following is the complete unedited statement submitted by request from Boland's Cheif of Staff, Mike Huntoon. It contains comprehensive background and information about Rep. Boland and press releases regarding Rep. Boland's work in the Illinois House.

Comments are not allowed for this post. Please leave any comments in the Boland discussion thread.

Submitted October 20th, 2005

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Hello Inside Dope and Inside Dope readers. I am Mike Huntoon. I serve as the Chief of Staff for Representative Boland's Legislative office located at 4416 River Drive in Moline. I'll be making the initial responses on Representative Boland's behalf, in order to fulfill the request by the Inside Dope for comments from local politicians and/or their staff.

I would like to begin by thanking the Inside Dope for this opportunity to present Representative Boland's recent record of accomplishments in greater detail than is often allowed in small news bites on television, or on radio, or even in newspapers.

Representative Boland prides himself on providing quality public service for his constituents, and he has brought a wonderful background of public service to his job as our State Representative. His past record of service before being elected to serve as State Representative includes:
Being one of the original founders of the Citizens Utility Board (C.U.B.)
A 30 year record of service as a school teacher, as well serving on the local school and library boards, and a wide variety of Democratic political activities.

So perhaps in order to give the readers of the Inside Dope the best possible picture of Mike Boland, it would be best to begin with a brief biography as an introduction to our current State Representative.

State Representative Mike Boland Biography

Full Name: Michael J. Boland
Occupation: Educator, State Representative
Past Government Experience: School Board, Library Board
Education: B.A. in History, Upper Iowa University . M.S.ed in Social Science (History, Political Science, and Sociology) from Henderson State University. 48 semester hours Post-Masters from Western Illinois University and University of Iowa.

Committee Assignments
Financial Institutions (Chairperson)
Appropriations-Public Safety
Labor; Telecommunications
Agriculture & Conservation
Workers' Compensation and Unemployment
Pay Day Loans, Subcommittee (Sub-Chairperson).

Past Committee Assignments
Appropriations-General Services - Vice Chair
Appropriations-Higher Education
Elections & Campaign Reform - ChairGaming
Chairman - Elections and Campaign Finance Reform
Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Distribution
Registration and Regulation
Veterans - Vice Chairman
Elementary and Secondary Education
State Government and Elections
Commerce and Labor
Transportation
Insurance
Children and Youth

Honors/Awards
"Outstanding Legislator of the Year" - Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois
"Taxpayers' Friend" - National Taxpayers United of Illinois
Advisory Board for the Boys & Girls Club 2001
Retired Teachers Award
Veterans of Foreign Wars- Loyalty Day Award
National Alliance for Mentally Ill Award
Farm Bureau Activator Award
Exemplary Friends of Libraries Award
American Legion Award
"Golden Helmet" Award from Firefighters

Mike Boland was born on August 20, 1942 in Davenport, Iowa. A former teacher with the East Moline school district, Representative Boland is married and has two daughters. His education includes Upper Iowa University, where he received his B.A., Boland earned a masters degree at Henderson State University. Boland also completed 43 semester hours of post masters degree work from Western Illinois University and the University of Iowa.

Mike Boland has been active in his community throughout his entire life. In 1970 he was elected delegate for the District, County and Iowa State Democratic Conventions. Boland served several years on the East Moline Library Board and was also elected to the United Township High School Board of Education. In 1976, Boland was a member of the East Moline Bicentennial Committee. Boland was elected as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Midterm Convention in 1978 and as delegate to the Democratic National Presidential Nominating Convention in 1980 & 2000.
Boland was one of the founders of the Citizen's Utility Board (C.U.B.) and served on the Board of Directors for ten years, including two terms as Vice-President. Boland's tenure as State Representative is a perfect compliment to his outstanding 30-year teaching record. Mike Boland has represented the 71st District since January of 1995.

In order to properly recount Representative Mike Boland's accomplishments of 2005, it's necessary to revisit the final days of the prior General Assembly and discuss the passage of an amended HB 1000. The Senate version of HB 1000 would have seriously weakened the current state laws regarding professional fireworks displays. Representative Boland spoke against these changes on the House floor, but the amended Senate version of HB1000 was passed (a vote to concur with Senate amendment #1) by the Illinois House on 1/11/2005 by a very narrow 61-56 tally.

Working together with a variety of firefighter organizations, Representative Boland then called on Governor Blagojevich to veto this legislation. Here then is a copy of Boland's news release on that topic.

Boland Calls On Governor To Veto Bill That Weakens Fireworks Law

MOLINE - Representative Mike Boland is calling upon Governor Blagojevich to veto legislation pushed through in the final hours of the 93rd General Assembly which would greatly weaken the Pyrotechnic Displayers Licensing Act. The current law requires those displaying Class C firework to be trained, tested, and requires the person securing the fireworks permit to carry liability insurance. It also requites the local fire chief to sign off on all fireworks displays and allows indoor fireworks to only be used in buildings with a sprinkler system.

Boland said "HB1000 would gut the current law by removing the indoor displayers of Class C fireworks from state training and testing requirements and would also take out the sprinkler requirement if Class C fireworks are used in an indoor show." The East Moline Democrat argued against HB 1000 in debate on the House floor saying that Class C fireworks are the cause of 88% of fireworks related injuries seen in hospital emergency rooms.

"The majority of fireworks injuries are to children under the age of 15," Boland said. "It is irresponsible to put these types of fireworks into untrained hands, the majority of whom are children," Boland stated. "This is undoubtedly why the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians opposed this dreadful legislation," he added.

Boland, a 10 year veteran of the Illinois House of Representatives, listed the other groups opposed to HB1000, including the Office of the State Fire Marshall, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, the Illinois Firefighters Association, the Illinois Fire Service Association, Associated Firefighters of Illinois, the Chicago Fire Department, Professional Firefighters of Illinois, the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts, the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association and the Illinois Fire Service Training Institute.

"The experts in the field know this is bad legislation, They know that Class C fireworks were involved in the Rhode Island Night Club fire and the recent Argentina fire. They know that last July two people were killed (one in Calumet City, Illinois) because of misuses of Class C fireworks.", Boland stated. "If this bill is not vetoed by the Governor medical and property insurance claims will rise and greater burdens will be put on local fire, police, and EMS services which are funded by taxpayer dollars. " Boland emphasized. "A veto by Governor Blagojevich of HB 1000 will be a win- win- win situation, a win for public safety, a win for insurance consumers and a win for taxpayers," he concluded.

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In the end, Boland and his firefighter allies were successful in their effort to prevent the final passage of this legislation. On 4\8\2005 Governor Rod Blagojevich Vetoed HB1000 as amended by the Illinois Senate, putting to rest this attempt to weaken Illinois law concerning fireworks displays. Although this effort will never show up on a list of standard legislative accomplishments, the defeat of HB1000 was truly representative Boland's first legislative accomplishment of 2005.

Another important, but often overlooked facet of serving as State Representative includes supporting local organizations in their efforts to receive grants from State, Federal and Private sources. Here is a news release from Februrary 2005 outlining one successful effort to help a local non-profit better serve the needs of the community. In this particular example, it was the second time Boland and his staff had been able to help assist this particular non-profit group in getting grants to fund their efforts to bring computer technology to under-served communities.

Boland Support for Non-Profit Group Helps to Net Grant

MOLINE, IL State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) announced today that due to Boland's and his office staff's assistance, a local non-profit group is due to receive a $15,000 grant. The head administrator of Technology Now Associates, Jim Garbet, recently notified Boland of the award and thanked the State Representative for his district office's efforts in helping to secure the grant. Technology Now Associates is a local non-profit group working to bring computer and technology training to under served communities. The $15,000 grant award is from telecommunications giant SBC as a part of that company's Excelerator Competetive Grant Program.

"I am very proud that my office could help Technology Now Associates' effort to get this grant and help to bring technology to under served communities here in the Illinois Quad Cities," Boland stated. "My office staff helped to get the ball rolling, by taking the initiative to notify Technology Now Associates of this grant opportunity back in July, and then following up with a letter of support for the actual grant application in August," he added. "All too often my staff and I never hear back from non-profit groups after providing letters of support, so we were absolutely thrilled to hear from Jim Garbet that his organization was going to get an award," Boland continued.

"I'm told that Technology Now Associates had applied for SBC grants without success in the past, so I'd like to think our efforts and assistance helped make a difference in this success," Boland commented. "My office had already provided assistance to Technology Now Associates in securing a state grant to provide computer access and training for the Hispanic community in Moline, so we already knew of their good work and were happy to assist again with support for this grant proposal," he said.

"I've always been willing to put my personal efforts and support behind worthy ideas and ideals, like Technology Now Associates shows in working to gap the €˜ €˜digital divide' for minority youth," Boland said. "Whether it was in the days when I was working as a founder of the Citizen's Utility Board, or during the many other battles I've fought for working men and women, I've been a man willing to put my personal time and effort into worthwhile projects and causes," he emphasized. "I hope my continued efforts and support for non-profit groups and agencies serving the community speaks loudly that I remain true to my core constituencies and ideals; I have not, and will not, forget my roots and the folks who elect me to serve them," Boland concluded.

Boland's district office regularly receives notices about available grants and assistance to non-profit groups in Illinois from Federal, State and business sources. Interested non-profits groups are encouraged to contact Boland's district office to be added to his grant information notification e-mail list. Boland's office also can provide assistance to local agencies seeking grants by providing letters of support for worthwhile grant applications by non-profit groups. Boland's district legislative office is located at 4416 River Drive in Moline and can be reached by phone at 309/736-3360 or via email at ILRepMikeBoland@aol.com.
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Representative Boland has a longstanding record of working with Firefighter's and first responders to craft and pass legislation to benefit these brave public servants. During the most recent session of the Illinois General Assembly, Boland sponsored and passed into law a measure to make the impersonation of firefighters a crime. Boland's legislation (which was initiated due to an incident in the wake of the tornado that ravaged Utica, Il) closed a loophole in the law concerning firefighters, it was already a crime to impersonate a Police Officer, a Doctor or an Attorney.

Governor Signs Boland Bill Making Impersonation of a Firefighter a Crime

SPRINGFIELD - Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Mike Boland (D -East Moline) that makes impersonation of a Firefighter or an Emergency Management Worker a felony passed was signed into law last week by Governor Rod Blagojevich. House Bill 596 makes the impersonation of a firefighter a Class 4 Felony in Illinois, carrying a possible prison sentence of up to 6 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

"This is common sense legislation and I am pleased to see such broad bipartisan support," Boland said. "Currently in Illinois it's a crime to impersonate a police officer, a doctor, or a lawyer," he continued. "Our communities depend on the bravery of our Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians, and there's no doubt in my mind that they deserve the same kind of protection," Boland added. "This bill will help to assure that nothing interferes with the trust that the public places in these dedicated men and women," Boland asserted.

Boland's legislation was written in response to an incident which arose after a tornado devastated the town of Utica last spring and claimed the lives of six people. While emergency crews worked hard to coordinate the rescue efforts, a fire truck approached with men claiming to be trained and authorized firefighters. Authorities discovered this to be untrue, and they denied the men access to the site and detained them. However, law enforcement officials were not able to charge the imposter Firefighters with any criminal act.

"More than anything else, this bill addresses a serious safety issue," Boland said. "It takes years of hard work, dedication, and training to become a Firefighter or an Emergency Management Worker. If an unqualified person tries to intervene in an emergency situation they are not only putting themselves at risk, but also endangering the lives and well being of the of the trained professionals actually responding to the emergency. This bill sends a clear message that there is no room for amateurs when lives are on the line," Boland concluded.

Mike Boland represents the 71st District, which includes portions of Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside, and Carroll Counties. Boland is serving his 6th term as State Representative, and has been awarded the Legislator of the Year award by Illinois Firefighters, as well as one of their highest honors, the Golden Helmet Award.

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In two prior sessions of the General Assembly, Representative Boland served as Chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Campaign Reform (he is currently Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Institutions), so he has a strong background in working to help make elections and government more ethical, accountable and efficient. The following news release outlines the provisions of HB 2455 which was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich on 8/16/2005.

Boland Calls For Free Flow of Financial Data on Public Officials
State Representative Calls on Governor to Sign HB 2455


MOLINE - State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) called today on Governor Blagojevich to sign into law reforms concerning individuals who view the economic interest statements of candidates or public officials. Representatives Paul Froehlich (R-Schaumburg) and Mike Boland's teamed together to advance this proposal which would do away with existing "Soviet-style" provisions in the law that impede the free flow of information about the financial interests of those holding or seeking public office.

Froehlich and Boland's House Bill 2455 would do away with the requirement that County Clerks send a notice to any public official or candidate required to file a Statement of Economic Interests with the Clerk whenever a reporter of anyone else looks at the Statement. The current Illinois Government Ethics Act requires the person looking at the statement to first fill out a form stating their name, occupation, address, telephone number, date of examination, and their reason for looking at the statement. The Clerk must then send a copy of this form to the official whose statement was examined.

"The effect of the provision is to intimidate individuals into not looking at information that should be available to them just for the asking," Boland said. "A person who considers looking at a politician's Economic Interest Statement may very well decide not to because they don't want to risk the wrath or disdain that the politician may have in response," Boland added.

Froehlich and Boland introduced the bill at the request of Sangamon County Board Representative Sam Cahnman, who recently received a notice from the Sangamon County Clerk that someone had looked at his Economic Interest Statement, and was surprised this law was still on the books. Sam Cahnman also related stories to Representative Froehlich and Boland about instances where politicians have launched verbal attacks on researchers, lobbyists, or reporters because of receiving a notice that their Economic Interest Statement had been viewed. A similar provision in Illinois Election Code existed for people who looked at a candidate's financial disclosure reports, a listing of who made campaign contributions and how they were spent, but it was repealed in 1998.

"The purpose of the Statement of Economic Interest, which must be filed annually, is to disclose potential conflicts between the official or candidate's financial interest and their official or their potential official duties," Boland stated. "The theory is to let the sun shine in by putting everything out in the open and then letting the voters decide if they want a public official who, for example, acts in his own financial interest as opposed to the interest of the governmental entity they are serving," Boland said. "For Economic Interest Statements to do their job, there must be free and unimpeded flow of the information in the statements, and under current law there is not," Boland. concluded.

The notice provision in existing law does not apply to legislators' Economic Interests Statements that are filed with the Secretary of State, because those documents are already available for inspection on the internet. HB 2455 passed out of the Illinois House with unanimous support in March, and the State Senate approved the measure without a single dissenting vote in May. Froehlich and Boland's proposal currently awaits signature into law by Governor Rod Blagojevich.
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Another legislative accomplishment of Representative Boland's during the 2005 legislative session was the passage into law of a bill known as a "Child Labor Ban". As mentioned in the following news release, this bill was modeled on legislation passed by Boland in an prior session of the General Assembly that was known as the "Slave Labor Ban".

Child Labor Ban Signed Into Law
Boland Bill Will Help Prevent Foreign Child Labor Abuses & Protect American Jobs


MOLINE - State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) announced today Governor Blagojevich signed a bill that Boland had passed from the Illinois General Assembly to prevent Illinois tax dollars from being used for the purchase of goods made by foreign child labor. HB 2460 would create the State Prohibition of Goods from Child Labor Act, which would require contractors providing goods to the state to certify that the products were not made by child labor. Boland's "Child Labor Ban" passed from both houses of the General Assembly with strong bi-partisan support and was signed into law by the Governor yesterday.

"The exploitation of children in foreign countries to produce goods exported to the United States is a serious problem facing both our state and nation," Boland stated. "Many citizens who carefully track their purchases and investments to avoid contributing to the exploitation of children would be shocked and appalled to hear that their tax dollars might not be used as carefully," he added. "With the passage of this legislation, folks will be assured that their tax dollars aren't being used to purchase goods made by exploited children," Boland said.

"The problems associated with goods produced by foreign child labor are not just a moral issues, they create economic problems as well," Boland stated. "No hardworking men or women here in the "Land of Lincoln" should be forced to compete with children from third world countries for a job," he continued. "By passing this "Child Labor Ban" we can help to protect both the jobs of Illinois workers and the welfare of foreign children," Boland emphasized.

"Child labor is a pervasive problem in the developing world," Boland said. "According to the International Labor Office, the most current estimate is that there are as many as 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 working across the globe," he added. "Banning the State's purchase of goods made with child labor is one way we can think globally and act locally' to end the physical exploitation of children in the developing world, and the economic exploitation of working men and women in Illinois," Boland concluded.

Boland's Child Labor Ban is similar to legislation he passed in a previous session of the General Assembly to prevent the State's purchase of goods made by political and religious prisoners overseas.

Not long after the terrorist attack on 9-11 and the ensuing invasion of Afghanastan and Iraq, Representative Boland was the primary sponsor of legislation which created the Military Family Relief Fund - a bill which created a voluntary income tax check-off with procedes to go to help relieve the financial burden of the familes who have had a member called to active duty with the National Guard or Reserves. Illinois was the first state to take this sort of action, and now following the template of Boland's Military Family Relief Fund Act many other states have created similar military family relief funds.

Again working to provide support and assistance for our brave men and women serving in the various branches of the Armed Services, Boland sponsored and helped to pass legislation creating a special lottery game with proceeds to help with the health care costs for Veterans.

Boland Bill Will Create Illinois Veterans' Assistance Fund
Dedicated Lottery Game Could Generate $10-12 Million To Help Illinois Veterans' With Variety of Problems From Homelessness to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


SPRINGFIELD - State Representative Mike Boland (D-East Moline) proudly announced today that Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed legislation that Boland had sponsored to aid soldiers returning from military service in the war against terrorism. Representative Boland was the Primary Sponsor of HB3472 which would create a special dedicated fund to assist all veteran's with post-traumatic stress disorders, homelessness, health problems, disability benefits and long term care. A special lottery scratch-off game dedicated to Illinois' veterans will provide the mechanism to finance the "Illinois Veterans Assistance Trust Fund" which this bill creates. Boland's HB3472 passed from both the Illinois House and Senate with bipartisan support and was signed into law by the Governor on August 15, 2005.

"Many active duty and returning soldiers, as well as their family members, are now reporting clinical signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as depression or marital and family discord," Representative Mike Boland stated. "Many will come home suffering from physical or mental health problems, and some face the prospect of inadequate health care or even homelessness. The Illinois Veteran's Assistance Trust Fund can provide a way to help address these problems," Boland added.

"Our great 'Land of Lincoln' is home to more than 900,000 veterans dating back to World War II, and we currently have 5,900 Illinois National Guard members and reservists on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan," Boland said. "And while many assume that our country's veterans are well taken care of, the reality we face here in Illinois is quite different," he stated. "Knowing when and where to turn for help can make a real difference for some of these valiant folks who have put their lives on the line for freedom," Boland asserted.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) often result in a domino effect of negative consequences. The first signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders often begin as sleep disorders, panic attacks, violent outbursts and acute anxiety. If untreated, PTSD often culminates in drug abuse and even homelessness. A national survey from 2003 estimated that nearly a half million veterans experienced homelessness, and that as much as 25% of all homeless males were veterans of military service.

The VA currently funds fewer than 200 beds in Illinois homeless shelters, yet it is estimated that there are about 20,000 veterans without roofs over their heads in Illinois. And veterans lucky enough to have a home may still lack health insurance. A recent study - "America's Neglected Veterans" - revealed that 1.7 million veterans nationwide did not have health care insurance nor did they receive ongoing care at VA hospitals.

"The funding to assist our brave protectors of freedom, to create and fund the Illinois Veteran's Assistance Trust Fund, will come from a new lottery scratch-off game modeled on West Virginia's popular €˜Veterans Cash 5' game," Representative Boland stated. "The simple addition of that one game to their lottery lineup raised $2.4 million to benefit West Virginia's veteran's nursing homes. It's estimated that a similar game here in Illinois would generate $10-$12 million to assist the brave soldiers who have come home from their role on the front lines," he added.

"The bottom line is that the people on the homefront are eager to help the troops," Boland said. "And the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our safety, are finding that they return from one war only to face a different battle at home, the battle to get the health care assistance they both need and deserve," he continued. "This proposed new lottery game gives everyone a convenient way to express their appreciation to Illinois vets, and to make sure they get what they deserve when they come home," Boland concluded.

In a previous session of the legislature, Boland helped pass legislation known as the Military Family Relief Fund, which is an voluntary income tax check-off that funds financial assistance for the families of Illinois National Guard and Reservists who were called to active duty to fight the war on terror. For further information about the already existing Military Family Relief Fund or the newly created Illinois Veterans Assistance Trust Fund please contact Representative Boland's district legislative office. Boland can be reached by phone at 309/736-3360 or by mail at: 4416 River Drive; Moline, IL 61265.
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NOTE: The following additional press release was submitted as a comment in the Boland discussion post October 21, 2005 and moved here due to it's length.

In my earlier submission on behalf of Representative Boland I briefly mentioned legislation Representative Boland had passed in a prior session of the General Assembly creating a Military Family Relief Fund. As the following news release will describe in further detail, this legislation provided Illinois Taxpayers with the ability to make voluntary donations to a state fund to assist National Guard and Military Reserve families across Illinois.

Not only was this effort a success in Illinois, it has served as a template for many other states to follow suit in creating similar funds. Here is the full news release announcing the signing of the Military Family Relief Fund into law.


Tax Checkoff Will Fund Aid for National Guard & Military Reserve Families

MOLINE, IL—Illinois State Representative Mike Boland (D-71) looked with pride today, as Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation to provide aid for families of Illinois National Guard and military reserve members called to active duty as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and our ongoing war on terror. House Bill 2742, which Boland introduced to the legislature and sponsored, will create the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund. This newly created fund will provide financial assistance for military families during this time of national crisis. Funded by a voluntary state income tax check-off, Boland’s proposal is similar to current voluntary check-offs for wildlife preservation, child abuse prevention and breast cancer research. This legislation passed both the Illinois House and Senate without opposition before being signed into law by Governor Blagovich.

“The brave men and women patriots who have been placed on active duty are on the front lines of our ongoing battle against terrorism,” Boland stated. “Here on the homefront, our obligation is to make sure the families of our fighting men and women are not in financial distress,” Boland said. “Many Illinois military families have taken dramatic reductions in their income because military pay is substantially below their normal civilian salary,” he continued. “The Military Family Relief Fund can, and will, provide some much needed assistance for these families while giving Illinois taxpayers a direct and efficient way to contribute to our fighting men and women,” Boland explained.

“I’ve met with the spouses of some of our civilian solders who’ve been called up,” Boland said. “For example, I talked with one mother who has three children under the age of 6. Her husband has been called to active duty, and their family is struggling to make ends meet,” Boland explained. “This example strongly illustrates why I introduced this legislation. We need to provide appropriate support and assistance for military families so our soldiers can worry about the enemy and not the everyday welfare of their wives and children,” Boland stated.

Boland’s proposal includes assistance for the families of reservists from all branches of the United States Armed Services who are Illinois residents and have been placed on active duty status due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Families of Illinois National Guard members would also qualify if they had also been placed on active duty. Under Boland’s proposal, the Illinois Department of Military Affairs will be responsible for establishing eligibility requirements and setting rules for the grant program.

Current voluntary donation checkoffs already on the State of Illinois individual income tax form include: wildlife preservation, child abuse prevention, Alzheimer’s research, homeless assistance, breast cancer research, prostate cancer research, and the World War II Memorial fund.

During a previous term in office, Boland served as Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. For more information on the Military Family Relief Fund, please contact Boland’s district legislative office at 4416 River Drive; Moline, IL 61265; or by calling 309-736-3360.

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