Castro2017resizedThe following op-ed by Senator Castro was published in the Daily Herald on Nov. 6. 

As the newest appointed member of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission -- essentially the internal affairs division of the legislative branch and its employees -- I'm eager to get to work. It's time for us to establish new, modern guidelines for how sexual harassment claims are handled at the Capitol. We've been remiss in this regard, and it's our obligation to do better on behalf of any future accusers and the accused.

Among the improvements for which I will advocate:

• Mandatory, yearly sexual harassment training for elected lawmakers and staff;

• Public posting of instructions for reporting sexual harassment, abuse and assault; and

• Establishing procedures and deadlines for filling future legislative inspector general vacancies and ensuring timely disposition of complaints.

Sexual harassment and gender bias are not new concepts. I would venture to say most women have experienced it at some point during their education or careers. I can recall several conversations in the workplace over the years that became inappropriate or raunchy, but I was comfortable enough to shut them down. Not everyone is able to do that, though. They rely on others to be their voice.

What's stunning about the situation in Springfield is that it apparently has been going on relatively unchecked for years because of the inherent power structure. It has to stop.

Read more ...

Category: News

05192017CM0079ELGIN- The newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement in response to Julie B. Porter’s appointment to Inspector General of the commission:

“Julie Porter has a proven record of fighting public corruption as the Assistant United States Attorney,” Castro said. “She has extensive experience seeking justice for the people of Illinois. I look forward to seeing her get to work as our new Inspector General. I’m confident she will work swiftly and thoroughly to investigate and resolve all outstanding complaints.”

Porter is well known for her work trying complex cases as the corruption case that led to the conviction of Illinois powerbroker Bill Cellini and top Mayor Richard Daley’s top aide Robert Sorich, among others. Porter worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for 12 years and was appointed chief of the office’s criminal division before leaving to join a private practice in Chicago.

Category: News

864ELGIN – The newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission said she intends to push the agency to be more timely and responsive in its handling of complaints.

“I want to make it clear that I intend to help drive a culture of swiftness in the actions of the Commission. When there are accusations of wrongdoing, I intend to be thoughtful and fair – but the Commission should make every effort to act in a timely manner,” said Illinois State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin.

Castro officially joined the Legislative Ethics Commission on Friday, November 3.

She hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the commission.

Castro, a former marketing and communications manager in the private and public sector, was first elected to the Illinois Senate last year. She now serves as a full-time legislator for the 22nd State Senate District.

Castro said her first priority is filling a vacant inspector general post so complaints that have lingered can be investigated and adjudicated.

“It’s unacceptable to have complaints sit as long as they have. That’s going to change,” Castro said.

The eight-member commission is charged with ruling on findings of ethical misconduct within the legislative branch and its employees. The commission was created in December 2003 by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

For more information about the commission, visit its website.

Category: News

elginELGIN – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) demanded today that the governor do his job and release the funds Harper and Elgin Community Colleges desperately need.

After months of negotiations, the General Assembly put together a responsible and bipartisan budget that included cuts, reforms and revenue. Although the budget included $225,000 for Harper and Elgin Community Colleges, the state has not released the funds.

“I fought for a budget because I did not want to have this lingering uncertainty over Harper and Elgin Community Colleges and the work center,” Castro said. “It is important that we cover the cost of operating the Education and Work Center because it has a meaningful impact on the lives of the people in our community.”

Harper College partnered with Elgin Community College and the Chicago Cook Workforce at the Hanover Park Education and Work Center to provide services to community members. The center provides a variety of career skills development and English as a Second Language, basic adult education and high school equivalency instructions.

If the state does not release the funding, then the center might not be able to remain open beyond the fall semester.

“I am tired of Governor Rauner neglecting his duties,” Castro said. “The two-year budget impasse had a shattering impact on colleges and universities in Illinois and if he doesn’t release these funds, he will leave a lasting and staggering effect on the economy in my district.”

Category: News

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Contact Info

District Office:
The Professional Building
164 Division Street, Suite #102
Elgin, IL 60120
847-214-8864 phone
847-214-8867 facsimile

Springfield Office:
M121 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone