Valeri DeCastris

2018 Democratic Candidate for State Representative – Illinois -District 67

Rockford Native, Citizen Servant and Community Activist

Valeri DeCastris is a Rockford native who returned to her hometown in 1995 to help with rebuilding it, particularly the south and west sides. Appalled at the sad degradation of her once-vibrant South Rockford neighborhood—where she and five generations of her family have lived on Cunningham Street—she went right to work at changing things. 

Valeri has been a community volunteer activist throughout Illinois for decades and brought many years of career experience in southern Illinois and Springfield back home to Rockford—and she has made a difference.

Val learned the Illinois legislative process and how to make good public policy as a research associate for the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield. She spent nearly a decade there gaining experience with State of Illinois agencies. Valeri knows how Springfield works—and doesn’t work—and wants to make a difference there for the citizens of Rockford as a State Representative for District 67.

Rockford’s revitalization can be credited to many people like Valeri who have come together to rebuild and restore the city’s historic, cultured neighborhoods. Val founded the city’s Ethnic Village Neighborhood Association, and has become an active leader within many organizations and non-profit boards. She has spearheaded several successful community projects ranging from Neighborhood Beautification to Business Development, Civic Planning and Cultural Preservation. She has been the recipient of many activism awards, including: Crusader Clinic’s Spirit of Caring Award, and a National Make a Difference Day Award.

Valeri has been married to David Beccue for 19 years, and they live in her ancestral home (which they renovated) on Cunningham Street. She is a retired State of Illinois and private sector environmental scientist. and a small business owner. Higher education achievements includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences, and a Master’s Degree in Geography and Environmental Resources from Southern Illinois University, where she was a President’s Scholar

Val has a passion for social justice and has committed her life to improving the quality of people’s lives through action. She empowers other people to become involved in civic affairs and the political process at every level.

Valeri DeCastris has been—and will continue to be—an integral part of Rockford’s revitalization. She is constantly working to improve our communities, and is a strong advocate for the city of Rockford and District 67 in Springfield.

Policies For The People

I Stand For The People, and By People—Not Only District 67—For All Americans As We Fight For Progress And Greater Causes That Will Benefit Everyone

Economic

I am very concerned about the decline in Rockford’s great manufacturing base.  Once a nationally-recognized manufacturing powerhouse, home to hundreds of industries, our city has transitioned into more of a service and medical economy.  Bringing new (and retaining) manufacturing jobs to our city and supporting our small and medium-sized businesses are vital.  Rockford needs to continue to be the center of innovation that it has historically been.  I support increasing job-training and re-training programs, investments in smart growth and technology, and tax incentives and public/private sector partnerships to promote business growth.  Rockford property taxes are too high and many of our schools are still inadequate.  I will fight for property tax relief, fair education funding, lower and middle class tax cuts and credits, closing corporate loopholes, a fair minimum wage and the right for workers to organize and collectively bargain in their workplaces.  There has been a “war on workers” for decades and I will stand strong for the hard-working people of this state who have often been left behind.  I will vigorously fight for the continued revitalization of the west side of Rockford and downtown and to bring dollars and programs from Springfield to Rockford.

Public Safety

Like everyone, I am alarmed at the increase in crime in our city.  We didn’t even have real keys to our house until the 1990s and our neighborhood used to be filled with people walking day and night.  Crime is part of every section of our city, but it disproportionately affects minority and low-income people.  I support innovative programs to reduce crime and recidivism, the State’s Attorney’s Office’s Deferred Prosecution program for non-violent offenders, more street lighting, increased police patrols and community policing, elimination of for-profit prisons,  and strong neighborhood organizations and youth programs to aid law enforcement.  JOB CREATION and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT is KEY to REDUCING VIOLENCE!

Government

As a consumer advocate for many years, I support stronger ethics, transparency and accountability in our government functions.  Government is supposed to be “of the people, for the people and by the people”.  Too often it serves special interests and not the interests of average hard-working people.  Our government must be efficient, cost-effective and responsive to the people.  Elected officials must serve their bosses – the citizens and taxpayers of Illinois.  I support increased consumer and environmental protections that are vigorously enforced.  Strong environmental policies mean better public health.  We must protect people, particularly the vulnerable like children and the elderly.  Innovative energy savings strategies are smart for the health of our economy and put dollars back into the family budget. Legislators in Springfield and Washington, D.C. must work together to forge common solutions to problems that people face and not be beholden to big-money interests.  The failure of Illinois to produce a balanced budget for two years was very destructive.  State colleges nearly closed, scores of social service agencies went out of business or barely survived, state bonds teetered toward junk status – and as a result, we are terribly in debt.  The “Turn Around Agenda” of Governor Rauner “Turned Us Upside Down!”  I want to help keep people in Illinois and restore respectability and vitality to our state and not be on the national news for being “last” in things or “first in public corruption!”

Families

Our state could be much more family-friendly.  Parents often have to make difficult choices without adequate support systems that were once in place.  There are many stressors today on parents that didn’t exist before.  I support health care as a right, mental health and drug addiction treatment programs, child care assistance and family leave programs.  Poor people must have affordable and adequate healthcare.  Assistance programs for disadvantaged families must not be weakened.  We must address the epidemics of opioid addiction and domestic violence with strong interventions.  Women must receive equal pay for equal work and make healthcare decisions for themselves.  People should be able to love the person of their own choosing.  The rights of the disabled must be protected and job opportunities for them and disadvantaged people must increase.  Families are the foundation of our community and they are struggling.  We must support them with compassionate, sensible and cost-effective programs.

Reasons to Vote for Val DeCastris

Citizen Servant Community Activist

Valeri DeCastris – Notable Achievements

State of Illinois and Private Sector Environmental Scientist

State of Illinois Appointee to the Illinois Human Rights Authority

Spirit of Caring Award Recipient from Crusader Clinic

National Make a Difference Day Award Recipient

Statewide Consumer Advocate

Technical Advisor to Illinois Legislature

Decade of Experience Working in State Agencies

Decades of Community Volunteer Work

Small Business Owner and Published Author

Beautified and Improved South Rockford

Downtown Redevelopment Participant

Upgraded and Increased Street Lighting in South Rockford

Instrumental in South Main Street Redevelopment and Morgan Street Bridge Plans

Founded, Developed and Created Immigrants Park at Cunningham and Winnebago Streets

Founder of Rockford’s Ethnic Village Neighborhood Organization (President)

Founding Member of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations

Obtained Grants for Planning and Developing Memory Garden at St. Anthony of Padua Parish

Initiated a Sister City with Ferentino, Italy and Rockford City Council

Served 19 years on the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)—Illinois’ Largest Consumer Advocacy Group

Co-chair Officer of Admissions for Rockford’s Annual Festa Italiana

Board Member of the Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA)

Former Director of Southwest Rockford Community Development Organization—Obtained Grants for Beautification and Infrastructure for South Rockford

Founding Member of Rockford Park District Foundation’s City of Gardens

Mayoral Appointee to the Rockford’s Brownfields Advisory Task Force—Reclamation of Abandoned Contaminated Properties

Active in Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce

Contributing Member of Midway Village Museum’s Immigration History Exhibit—its Largest Exhibit

Contact Val

Citizens For Valeri DeCastris
918 Cunningham Street, Rockford, Illinois 61102

Phone
+1 (815) 969-8899

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