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Gov. Pritzker Announces Eight Appointments to Boards and Commissions

Press Release - Friday, February 17, 2023

Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following appointments in his administration

Illinois Racing Board

Alyssa Murphy will serve as a Member of the Illinois Racing Board.* Alyssa Murphy brings over a decade of horse racing experience to this board. She currently serves as Director of Marketing for @properties Christie's International Real Estate. Prior to this, she was Director of Marketing and Communications, Marketing Manager, and Promotions Coordinator at Arlington International Racecourse. She also has experience working at Arlington International Racecourse and Gulfstream Park, a horse racetrack in Florida. At Arlington International Racecourse, Murphy oversaw a $1.5 million budget to manage paid media, event content, and digital initiatives. Outside of her professional experience, Murphy has worked with horses for many years as her father was a former horse trainer. She is passionate about horse racing and more importantly, the aftercare of horses in Illinois. She is also an experienced equestrian in dressage. Murphy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College.

Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education

Bill Ladd-Cawthorne will serve as a Member of the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.* Bill Ladd-Cawthorne has over twenty years of teaching and agricultural experience. He currently serves as the director of Urban Agriculture at the Gary Comer Youth Center, where he leads and coordinates all agricultural education and production activities on campus. Prior to his time at Gary Comer Youth Center, Ladd-Cawthorne was the Director of Farmer Training at Angelic Organics Learning Center. He led and coordinated farmer training programs for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, and contributed to the development of new and ongoing programs including Routes to Farms and Farm Asset Builder. Ladd-Cawthorne received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's College and a Master of Science of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Clean Energy Jobs and Justice Fund

Liliana Scales will serve as a Member of the Clean Energy Jobs and Justice Fund.* Liliana Scales has over a decade of professional advocacy experience. She currently serves as the State Director for Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC), where she was instrumental in helping to pass the nation-leading Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). This act improves public health, the environment, and creates equitable clean jobs across the state. Prior to her tenure as State Director, she served as an Advocacy Director at CHANGE Director. In this role, she led the coalition in building Chicago Fair maps, represented the organization on Just Democracy Illinois and Transform Illinois coalitions, and was responsible for their 2020 Census efforts. Scales has given back to her community in several ways, including as an Alumni Board Member for the Latin School of Chicago and serving on the Young Professionals Advisory Council for Mujeres Latinas en Accion. Scales received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from John Carroll University.

State Board of Health

Angela Oberreiter will continue to serve as a member of the State Board of Health.* Dr. Angela Oberreiter has been an optometrist at the Gailey Eye Clinic since 2012 where she treats and manages patient care. Previously, she served as the managing optometrist at Pearle Vision. She is actively involved in various membership organizations including the Illinois Optometric Association. In 2011, she was named Young Optometrist of the Year from the American Optometric Association. Oberreiter earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and a Doctor of Optometry from the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Labor Relation Board

Fran Hurley will serve as a Member of the Illinois Labor Relations Board.* Representative Fran Hurley has spent her twenty year career advocating for her community, currently serving as a State Representative in the 35th District since 2013. She is the Moderate Caucus Whip and a member of the Joint Committee of Labor, Public Utilities, and Elementary/Secondary Education Committees. Preceding her time in the General Assembly, Rep. Hurley was a Chicago Aldermanic aide to former Aldermen Ginger Rugai and Matthew O'Shea. She also spent time in the Cook County Sheriff's Office as a Project Manager with an emphasis on officer wellness. Rep. Hurley is an active member of the Mt. Greenwood Civic Association and former Director of the Saint Christina Manna Program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Xavier University.

Labor Advisory Board

Steven Avalos will serve as a Member on the Labor Advisory Board.* Steven Avalos has been a legal advocate for working families his entire career. He currently serves as the Executive Director for Labor and Employee Relations at CVS Health. In this role, he provides employee and labor relations expertise to operations consistent with the company's overall strategy. He also established relationships with national labor leaders to facility labor strategies. Prior to his time with CVS Health, Avalos was the Director of Labor and Employee Relations for Molson Coors Beverage Company. He successfully established the company's labor strategy related to collective bargaining and employee benefits. Avalos was the Chief negotiator in collective bargaining and served as first-chair in arbitrations and grievances company-wide. He continues to care for his community as he serves as a board member on the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois and University of Illinois College of Law, Latino Law Student Association, Alumni Scholarship Committee. He also sits on the In-House Counsel Committee for the Illinois Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. Avalos received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois.

Illinois State Police Merit Board

Michelle Hoy-Watkins will serve as a Member of the Illinois State Police Merit Board.* Dr. Michelle Hoy-Watkins has over twenty-five years' experience as a forensic psychologist. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, as an Adjunct Professor at College of DuPage, and is the President at MHW PsychLaw Services. As President of MHW, Dr. Hoy-Watkins provides criminal forensic and police psychological services. She has also served as Director of Threat Assessment with Northwestern University Police, where she was the central point of contact to identify, assess, and mitigate concerning behaviors. She co-facilitated violence prevention/active violence presentations campus-wide and provided in-service trainings to command, patrol, dispatch, and community service officers. Trainings included de-escalation, violence risk and worked with individuals who presented mental and behavioral health concerns. At the College of DuPage, Dr. Hoy-Watkins teaches students who are a part of the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy. She has also been awarded the Gisele M. Casanova Leadership Award from Diversity MBA Magazine's Top 100 Under 50 Award. Dr. Hoy-Watkins received her Bachelor of Science from Xavier University, and her Master of Arts and Doctor of Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology, Alameda.

Human Rights Commission

Mona Noriega will continue to serve Chair of the Human Rights Commission.* Mona Noriega previously served as the Commissioner and Board Chair of the City of Chicago's Commission on Human Relations. Civil rights protections under Noriega's guidance were expanded under the City of Chicago's anti-discrimination ordinances to include credit history and military status as protected categories and to include protections for gender non-conforming individuals when accessing public spaces that are private in nature. Noriega helped open the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal Defense, which advances the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, and people living with HIV/AIDS, and later served as its Midwest Regional Director. A seasoned community activist, Noriega was Comptroller Mendoza's 2020 LGBTQ PRIDE Honoree. Noriega earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Master of Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

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