ROSEMONT – One of the top public education advocates in the Illinois General Assembly is the recipient of the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside), was recognized with the award at the IEA Representative Assembly on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill.

IEA President Kathi Griffin said the three-term representative has consistently distinguished himself as Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and as a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee.

“Representative Welch believes in local control of schools. He is the chief sponsor of legislation (HB 768) that would empower local school boards to create charter schools, rather than having the state charter school commission dictate that decision. He opposes measures that would divert public money to private schools and supports providing schools and education employees with what they need in order to deliver a high-quality education to all students,” Griffin said.

Welch’s commitment to education predates his time in the legislature. He served for years on the Proviso Township High School District 209 Board of Education and led efforts to create Illinois’ first suburban-based magnet high school, the Proviso Math and Science Academy.

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The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.