Simon launches online military survey to rank health care, education, work force issues

News-DemocratAugust 6, 2013 

CARBONDALE - Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon on Tuesday announced her office will launch an online survey for state residents to share views on issues facing towns near military bases -- including Scott Air Force Base -- or are home to Illinois National Guard and reserve units.

The community and virtual listening posts come as communities around the metro-east, Quad Cities and North Chicago areas struggle with the economic impact of sequestration and potential cuts to military base budgets.

The listening posts -- including one held late May at Southwestern Illinois College -- enabled Simon and her staff to talk with residents, business owners, military families and others about how the state can help make their communities better places to live and work, Simon said in a statement.

"It is important that residents who weren't able to attend these meetings have a way to be heard, so I encourage people to participate in this survey. Together we can make Illinois the best state for military families," she said.

The survey, which is being administered in partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), will close Friday, Sept. 6.

The brief online survey includes questions pertaining to business climate, education, workforce training and quality of life, and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Simon's office will work with the IIRA to compile the survey data with information from the three listening posts held in the Metro East, Quad Cities and North Chicago, where she met with military families, employees of the U.S. Department of Defense, veterans, employers and educators this spring and summer.

Simon plans to present survey findings to the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), which she chairs. The IMBSEDC coordinates the state's activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois, and provides advice and recommendations for base retention, realignment and reuse.

Simon's online survey can be found at the following address: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ILDefenseEconomySurvey>

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