Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) hosted a town hall and workshop on Wednesday to review the process for applying for capital and agency funding and discuss the possibility of a future capital development bill in Illinois.

Over 30 local community agencies ranging from health, social service, the arts and afterschool programs gathered at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture for the event.

“We wanted to make sure we expanded what people knew about the capital bill, that it goes into infrastructure, it goes into brick and mortar stuff, and how we’re going to be creative in making sure that we’re getting equitable dollars in our districts,” Aquino said.

Speakers included Becky Locker, Director of Policy and Budget for the Illinois Senate Democrats, Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council, Colleen Smith, Legislative Director for Illinois Environmental Council and Representative Luis Arroyo.

Topics ranged from the 2009 Illinois Jobs Now capital program, which included $16 billion in state investment, to speculation on what a future capital bill could look like.

“The two-year budget impasse hurt many organizations out there, so now we want to make sure we engage them so that we will be able to start doing some new things,” Martinez said. “I think the most important thing is our civic engagement, so our constituents can see that we’re working for them and we’re ready to respond to their concerns.”

Attendees were also able to ask legislators questions about the details of the funding application process.