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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives wish to congratulate Joel Jay Africk on his
4retirement from full-time employment as CEO of the Respiratory
5Health Association and commend him for his unwavering
6commitment to improving the health of residents of Illinois;
8    WHEREAS, Joel Africk is a native of Chicago; he graduated
9from Niles North High School, the University of Illinois
10(Urbana), and Harvard Law School; afterward, he clerked for
11the Honorable Judge Bernard M. Decker and became a partner in
12the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block, LLP, where he
13represented clients in a broad range of business litigation
14matters from 1984 to 2001; and
15    WHEREAS, Joel Africk became the CEO of the Respiratory
16Health Association in 2002, focusing on creating a safer and
17healthier environment for Illinois families; and
18    WHEREAS, Joel Africk helped pass the Chicago Smoke-Free
19Ordinance in 2005, amending the Clean Air Act to make all
20places of employment 100% smoke-free in the City of Chicago;



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1    WHEREAS, Joel Africk's leadership helped pass the 2007
2Smoke-free Illinois Act, making all restaurants, bars, and
3other workplaces in Illinois 100% smoke-free; the law is
4considered the strongest smoke-free law in the country, as it
5includes casinos and private clubs in its list of required
6smoke-free venues; this policy was supported by more than 450
7organizations and tens of thousands of advocates; and
8    WHEREAS, Joel Africk helped pass the State's first No
9Idling Diesel Law, which limited diesel truck idling in the
10metropolitan Chicago and metro East St. Louis areas to 10
11minutes; following this legislation, the Respiratory Health
12Association along with Citizen Action/Illinois formally
13launched the Illinois Campaign to Clean Up Diesel Pollution,
14with the aim to significantly clean up diesel pollution in the
15State; to date, over 80 public health, community, labor, and
16environmental organizations have endorsed the campaign; in
172008, he helped secure $19.5 million in federal Congestion
18Mitigation and Air Improvement funding to clean up diesel
19engines in the Chicago metropolitan area, the largest amount
20of money the committee has dedicated for diesel cleanup in
21Chicago; and
22    WHEREAS, Joel Africk launched the first annual Living
23Better Together COPD Conference in 2005, the largest patient
24gathering in the U.S., and led a coalition in the development



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1of the nation's first statewide COPD plan to reduce
2COPD-related morbidity and mortality, which improved the
3quality of life for people in Illinois living with COPD; he
4created the COPD Caregiver's Toolkit in 2017, which was
5digitalized and became available nationwide on the National
6Institute of Health website in 2023; and
7    WHEREAS, Joel Africk's effort to ensure smoke-free places
8for Illinois residents enabled the Chicago Parks districts to
9adopt a smoke-free park policy, covering 580 parks, 90
10gardens, 90 museum campuses, 9 lakefront harbors, 9 skating
11rinks, and more than 24 miles of lakefront property, becoming
12the largest smoke-free park district in the country; the
13Respiratory Health Association's efforts, with the help of
14many advocates and institutions, reduced the adult smoking
15rate in Illinois from 20.9% in 2011 to 12.1% in 2021 and the
16statewide youth smoking rate from 12.5% in 2009 to 1.1% in
172021; and
18    WHEREAS, Joel Africk was passionate about raising
19awareness and support for community events that supported the
20mission to create smoke-free environments in Illinois; he
21championed initiatives through creative community events,
22propelling The Witt Hotel and The Hustle, which has raised
23just under $21 million over its lifetime, the Jewelry
24Television, and Catch Your Breath fundraisers and three



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1Chicago Auto Show black-tie galas to support the Respiratory
2Health Association and community efforts in promoting
3Smoke-Free Illinois and patient support programs; and
4    WHEREAS, Joel Africk and the Respiratory Health
5Association worked with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in 2009 to
6release a Green Construction Executive Order, which requires
7all state-funded road construction projects, in non-attainment
8areas, to use clean construction practices; and
9    WHEREAS, Joel Africk and the Respiratory Health
10Association worked to pass the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act in
112021, which sets Illinois on the path to 100% clean energy by
122050 and commits millions of dollars to quickly expand
13transportation electrification in Illinois; this law has been
14instrumental in closing or preventing 23 coal power plant
15operations; and
16    WHEREAS, Joel Africk was born to Diane (Lazow) and Richard
17Africk, along with younger siblings, Michael Africk and Juli
18Noll; he married Julie Magyar on December 17, 1989, and they
19have three children, Jared (Kate), Megan, and Sarah Africk;
21    WHEREAS, Joel Africk looks forward to spending more time
22with his family, traveling, and cycling in retirement;



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1therefore, be it
4we congratulate Joel Africk on his retirement from full-time
5employment as the CEO of Respiratory Health, and we commend
6him on his many years of service on behalf the residents in the
7State of Illinois and beyond; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
9presented to Joel Africk as a symbol of our esteem and respect.