Operation HerStory Akins TW1For Women's History Month, we will be featuring some of the brave women whose stories will be shared during our Women's History Month Panel. Kay Kinley Akins was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, and a Senior Master Sergeant in the Illinois Air National Guard.

On her service: "After four years, I got out of active duty Air Force as an E5. I was out for a little over a year and really missed the military so I enlisted in the Illinois Air National Guard and retired as an E8.

"I was in Supply both active and Guard but retired as the First Sergeant of my Supply Unit.  I was stationed in San Antonio, Texas twice and also served in Taiwan at Shu Linkou Air Station while on active duty. My Guard time was spent at the National Guard base at O'Hare Airport."

On why she joined: "The Vietnam war was going on and I had a cousin severely injured after stepping on a land mine.  Back then recruiters came into the high school cafeteria during lunch and after talking to the Air Force recruiter I felt the pull to enlist. 

"When I enlisted they actually took modeling poses of the female recruits - at least the Air Force did! As an enlisted airman I did not get to pick my career path - A thru H were chosen to be medics, I thru M - I was going to supply school! Of course back then only nurses were sent to Vietnam. We were not trained to shoot a gun or anything else and we always wore a skirt - with full girdle, nylons and slip! Thank God, times have changed! Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg women can now also be a soldier and a mom. When I went in you had to choose one or the other."

On her memorable experiences: "Seeing the world and making really good friends. I was activated in the Guard for Desert Shield and served in Spain prior to Desert Storm.

"As a female in uniform, I always felt I had to do my best. I was representing the Air Force but I was also woman in the Air Force. I am extremely happy that I was able to retire with benefits as a Veteran. I think serving also left me with the attitude that you have to step up and help in this world."

On Operation HerStory: "Everything was awesome! I feel extremely lucky to have met Ginny and had the opportunity to go. I met so many truly awesome women on the trip and we all shared a bond from the minute we met each other."

021022CT00036 rSPRINGFIELD – A measure by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) to create the Hydrogen Economy Task Force and establish Illinois as a Hydrogen Hub in the Midwest advanced out of the Senate on Friday.

“Through this legislation, Illinois has the opportunity to take the lead on a nationwide effort to spur clean energy and hydrogen generation,” Ellman said. “As a potential Midwest Hydrogen Hub, we can support our agricultural, refinery and transportation industries and create jobs for workers across the state.”

The Hydrogen Economy Task Force established under Senate Bill 3613 would be responsible for publishing a plan to create a Hydrogen Hub in Illinois, identifying opportunities to integrate hydrogen into the economy, analyzing barriers to hydrogen development, and recommending policies to catalyze deployment of hydrogen in the state economy.

Senate Bill 3613 is intended to put Illinois in a position to become a Clean Hydrogen Hub. Both the University of Illinois and Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. have partnered with the intent of participating in the federal Clean Hydrogen Hub program, through which the Secretary of Energy must select at least four regional Hubs to prioritize opportunities for skilled training and long-term employment.

“Illinois residents and the surrounding environment will benefit greatly from a Hydrogen Hub,” said State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport), a chief co-sponsor of the measure. “I am proud to partner with Senator Ellman in bringing clean energy to our state and continue the conversation about environmental justice.”

The legislation now goes to the House for further consideration.

020922CT00099SPRINGFIELD – Upon the Senate’s approval of Michael P. McCuskey as Legislative Inspector General appointee, State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) issued the following statement:

“The communities we represent expect a high standard of ethics and accountability from their governing body, and I am pleased to welcome the Honorable Michael P. McCuskey in helping us adhere to that necessary standard.

“At a time when our state is taking great strides forward, ethical oversight could not be more important, and I am proud to support an individual with the necessary skills and experience to maintain the office’s responsibilities.

“Judge McCuskey’s commitment to impartiality and his demonstrated ability to transcend politics is what Illinois residents deserve in their Legislative Inspector General.

020922CT00023 rSPRINGFIELD – A measure by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) to establish a Hydrogen Economy Task Force in Illinois advanced out of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Thursday.

"Through the establishment of our Hydrogen Economy Task Force, we set Illinois on track to become a hydrogen powerhouse in the Midwest, and nationwide,” Ellman said. “As a center of a potential Midwest Hydrogen Hub, we can harness our excess energy in the state to generate hydrogen, and in turn use it to support the agricultural, refining, and transportation industries in Illinois and across the Midwest.  Hydrogen Hub investment means innovation and good jobs.”

Senate Bill 3613 establishes the Hydrogen Economy Task Force, which is responsible for establishing a plan to create a Hydrogen Hub in Illinois, identifying opportunities to integrate hydrogen into the economy, analyzing barriers to hydrogen development, and recommending policies to catalyze deployment of hydrogen in the state economy.

The legislation is intended to put Illinois in a position to become a Clean Hydrogen Hub. Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. and the University of Illinois have partnered with the intent of participating in the federal Clean Hydrogen Hub program. Through this program, the Secretary of Energy must select at least 4 regional Hubs to prioritize opportunities for skilled training and long-term employment.

“Not only would a Hydrogen Hub boost our statewide economy and create jobs for our talented and driven workforce, it would establish Illinois as a national leader in clean energy and hydrogen generation,” Ellman said.

SB 3613 will now go before the full Senate.

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