July 29 is National Intern Day! Sen. Pacione-Zayas welcomed two interns into her district office this summer. Read more about Melinda and Jonathan below.  

Melinda CPZMelinda Jara

Melinda is a Chicago-native living in the North Austin neighborhood. She recently graduated from Lane Tech College Prep, and is excited to be attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall. There, she plans to major in speech and hearing science to help her achieve her goal of becoming a speech pathologist. As a first-generation college student, she is excited to grow in a new and challenging environment.

Melinda is passionate about serving her community. In her future career path, she hopes to use her biculturalism and bilingual skills to connect to communities. The internship with Sen. Pacione-Zayas’ district office has allowed her to learn about the behind-the-scenes of health care through attending weekly Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership meetings. It has further shown her the importance community-building through working together with different organizations and stakeholders.

In her free time, Melinda enjoys everything music-related. She has played violin for 13 years, including four years with her school’s orchestra. She also danced with her school’s Puerto Rican cultural dance club, Alliance of Boricuas. She has a Shih Tzu named Sammy and her favorite food is Puerto Rican cuisine.

Jonathan BarreraJonathonB CPZ

Jonathon is from Chicago and lives in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. He is currently a senior at Aspira Business and Finance High School. After high school, he hopes to attend college or go to trade school, and plans to pursue a career in real estate.

In the internship with Sen. Pacione-Zayas, Jonathon has enjoyed working with the senator and getting to know all the people around the office. The experience has given him a better understanding of the life of a senator, as well as a strong grasp on other occupations that deal with government on a day-to-day basis.

Jonathon is involved with his school’s entrepreneurship program, which has inspired his interest in eventually studying banking and finances. In his free time, he enjoys drawing, hiking, calligraphy, and track. He is passionate about history and the lessons it teaches.  

Category: News

2878SigningCHICAGO – A wide-ranging new plan to bolster the early childhood education workforce in Illinois by creating a new Early Childhood Education Consortium was signed into law Wednesday, the result of legislation championed by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago).

“To truly provide Illinois children with the best possible education, we know that we need to invest in early childhood education, and that means investing in the educators who work so hard to help them learn and grow,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This is a step toward properly valuing those who do this incredibly important work, and it’s the beginning of a new chapter in our approach to raising our kids.”

The Early Childhood Education Consortium will be a broad coalition between all public universities and community colleges, as well as any private institutions that choose to participate. The consortium will use regional hubs to improve access to degrees, certificates, and other licensure for early childhood educators, with special priority given to those already working in the early childhood workforce and often need flexibility in their career education when it comes to scheduling, location and format.

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Category: Press Releases

CPZ telehealthCHICAGO – State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D- Chicago) commends Governor JB Pritzker for signing House Bill 3308 to expand telehealth in Illinois. The new law will ensure people who have been utilizing telehealth services during the pandemic continue to have access to the care they need.

“Expanding telehealth services will remove barriers that many face when accessing the medical care they need,” Pacione-Zayas said. “The new law includes an expansion of early intervention services, which is so important in ensuring infants and toddlers receive diagnoses that can help put them on track toward healthy development.”

The law signed Thursday will maintain and expand telehealth services, which were largely used during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow people to access their doctors when they could not leave their homes. Efficient and accessible health care is paramount to creating an equitable system that allows everyone to get the care they need.

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Category: Press Releases

Social Graphic CTC Social Graphic 1x1 Digital 061721 V1CHICAGO – State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) wants residents of the 20th District to know that they could be eligible for the federal Child Tax Credit even if they did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020.

“The American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit will provide an unprecedented amount of relief to families, and they should take full advantage of it,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Even if you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, you can still get this relief by filling out the non-filer application on the IRS website.”

According to data provided by the White House, there are hundreds of residents in the 20th District who did not file taxes in 2019 and 2020 who are eligible to sign up as non-filers to receive the Child Tax Credit. People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers or Social Security Numbers are eligible to apply. More information and the application are available on the White House website.

The Child Tax Credit will provide families with children under 6 years old $2,000 to $3,600 per child, and families with children from ages 6 to 17 $2,000 to $3,000 per child. To get money into people’s bank accounts quicker, the IRS will be sending families half of their 2021 Child Tax Credit as a monthly payment of $250 to $300 per child through the end of the year. Those who filed taxes in 2019 and 2020 should receive those payments automatically.

“Although payments started on July 15, families who sign up as non-filers can still get the full amount of this credit no matter when they sign up,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I urge everyone to check their eligibility and sign up to receive this relief if they are eligible.”

Families can check their eligibility on the IRS website and sign up as non-filers at any time.

Category: Press Releases

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020