2015 Community Development State Legislator of the Year

James Clayborne
Award Category: 
State Legislator of the Year

Illinois state Sen. James Clayborne is the State Legislator of the Year. Since his appointment to the Illinois Senate in 1995, Sen. Clayborne, D-Belleville, Ill., has worked tirelessly to promote growth opportunities for his district. Sen. Clayborne, who serves as the second-highest-ranking member of the state Senate, achieved notable success in seeking innovative ways to promote Illinois as a place to do business, including establishing a new state incentive for investment entities that have been approved for the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. The Illinois New Markets Development program, which was created by Sen. Clayborne's legislation, became law in 2008 and was one of the first state-level New Markets Tax Credit programs in the country.

Sen. Clayborne consistently backs business-orientated economic development initiatives such as the NMTC to help support small and developing businesses in low-income and underserved areas. He ushered through a New Markets Tax Credit program extension in both 2010 and 2012, leading to the award of $125 million and $250 million, respectively, in two rounds in 2014 and 2015. The senator's extension efforts have led to four rounds, totaling $500 million for Illinois' low-income communities.

Congratulations to state Sen. Clayborne for his steadfast commitment to providing economic opportunity for low-income communities.

"Sen. Clayborne's support of business-oriented economic development programs stems, in part, from the reality of representing an area still dogged by economic programs and his desire to create opportunities," said Jeff Craver, a principal at Advantage Capital Partners. "Many of these small businesses would otherwise be unable to qualify for development or expansion loans from large lending institutions because they lack credit history or necessary collateral."