BioState Representative Mary Flowers was first elected to the Illinois House in 1985. Rep. Flowers has devoted her career to the needs and rights of children, fighting for working families, encouraging company investment in minority areas, bringing attention to issues concerning public aid recipients, and increasing the availability and quality of health care in Illinois.
As a strong advocate for our children, Representative Flowers sponsored "Kids Initiative 95," which is a series of bills pertaining to children's legal rights and needs. She also introduced legislation that created the state's first in-school daycare center at a Chicago public high school.
As a champion for better health care, Flowers was the architect and original sponsor of The Illinois Managed Care Act of 1999. This new law effectively reforms health care and health maintenance organizations operating in the state of Illinois. Flowers considers this law to be her most substantial professional accomplishment.
To strengthen her community and neighborhoods, Flowers passed legislation to encourage the State Treasurer to deposit funds in banks located in minority communities and to increase loans to minority owned and operated businesses. Flowers also led the movement to rename Calumet Expressway after Bishop L. Ford. The Bishop L. Ford Highway became the first expressway in Illinois named after an African American.
Flowers sponsored the first low-income energy assistance program in the state of Illinois. She sponsored legislation to keep public pension funds from being invested in South Africa and a resolution urging the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in South Africa. She also proposed legislation requiring African-American sensitivity training for all police officers in Illinois.
Over the years, Flowers has served in many legislative leadership positions including Assistant House Majority Leader; Illinois Conference of Women Legislators; Co-Chairperson, House Democratic Task Force on Abused and Neglected Children; and Minority Spokesperson, House Insurance Committee. In addition, she has served as a member of numerous House Committees including Health and Human Services, Financial Institutions, Consumer Protection, Sub-Committee on Child Welfare, Task Force on Welfare Reform, and Task Force on School Violence.
Prior to being elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, Mary Flowers held a position at the University of Chicago and served as a volunteer for former Chicago Mayor, Congressman and State Senator Harold Washington. Flowers attended Kennedy King Community College and the University of Illinois-Chicago. She lives in the Chicago community with her husband, Daniel, and their daughter Makeda.
Awards and Honors-
1996 Award of Appreciation, First Jurisdiction of Illinois
1997 Outstanding Legislator of the Year, Campaign for Better Health
1998 Legislator of the Year, Community Behavior Healthcare Association of Illinois
1999 Outstanding Alumni, Simeon Career Academy
Black Rose Award, League of Black Women
Outstanding Leadership and Legislative Award, IL Dept. of Human Rights and IL Municipal Human Relations Assoc.
Legislative Appreciation Award, Chicago Teachers Union
Community Service Award, Ada S. McKinley Board of Directors
Kizzie Award, Black Women Hall of Fame
Friend of Labor Award, Illinois AFL-CIO
Star Performers Award, Phi Theta Kappa-Lambda Rho
Appreciation Award, West Englewood Organization Clara's House
Legislator of the Year, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association
1999 Award of Appreciation, Arab American Action Network
1999 Ida B. Wells Award, Illinois Chapter of National Organization of Women
1999 Special Recognition Award, Citizen Action Illinois
2000 Legislator of the Year, The SIDS Alliance of Illinois
Community Service Award, The Southwest Community College