Each year, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans proudly selects a person who exemplifies the virtues of caring, humility and good will that were the hallmark of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin tenure in Chicago. Because of all of his qualities, then and now, our president, Antonio M. Romanucci, has chosen State Representative Angelo “Skip” Saviano to be the recipient of the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian Award.
Angelo “Skip” Saviano is one elected official who has never forgotten his roots. He proudly has attended every Columbus Day Mass and Wreath Laying ceremony since he has been in office. He serves as the Master of Ceremonies for this event. Immediately following, he continues downtown to be the announcer for the reviewing stand for the Columbus Day parade.
Both Skip’s mother and Skip’s father were born and raised in that area of Taylor Street near Our Lady of Pompeii and Arrigo Park. As a young boy, he and his family lived three doors away from me in Elmwood Park. He showed leadership qualities as a young man. He was always smiling then and was always willing to be helpful in any way and he is still smiling and helpful to all. Through the years, I have grown very fond of him and am very proud of all of his accomplishments. His is the real story of the “kid next door” making it. State Representative Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) is regarded as one of the most influential, effective and distinguished members of the Illinois legislature. His long list of credentials and dedication to public service has earned him several distinctive honors in the Illinois General Assembly.
Saviano was born on May 20, 1958 in Chicago,. He graduated from Holy Cross High School in River Grove in 1976 and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago in 1980. After graduating from college, Saviano remained in Chicago, where he owned and operated a paralegal service from 1982 to 1989. In 1989, Saviano was elected supervisor of Leyden Township and served until 1993 when he began his first term as state representative of the 77th District.
Since 1995, Saviano has served as Chairman of the Registration & Regulation Committee. In 1997 he was officially appointed to the position by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, making him the first member of a minority party to hold a chairmanship in the modern history of Illinois politics. At that time, he was the only Republican to hold a chairman position in the Illinois House, a position he held until the committee was disbanded. Saviano was elected to the Republican State Central Committee for the 5th Congressional District in 2002. In January of 2009 Representative, Saviano was appointed Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
In Addition to his legislative duties, Saviano chairs the House Republican Organization, the political arm of the House Republican caucus responsible for electing and retaining House Republicans.
Saviano’s commitment not only to his constituents but to all residents throughout the State of Illinois has been honored through many awards on behalf of the disabled, young and elderly.
Representative Saviano remains Chairman of Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. He also serves on the Aging, Appropriations-Public Safety, Business and Occupational Licenses, Health Care License and Public Utilities Committees, as well as being appointed a member of the Guardian and Advocacy Commission by the Governor.
Saviano resides in Elmwood Park, Illinois with his wife Julie and two daughters, Bianca and Gianna.
In December 2005, our beloved Robert G. Cimo suddenly passed away. In his memory we created the Peacemaker Award. Bob was the perfect example of promoting unity and harmony while working towards the common good and success of Italian Americans. Each year, we present this award in his name to a person of the community who best exemplifies Bob’s spirit. This year, our president, Antonio M. Romanucci, has selected Judge Joseph Urso, who is an outstanding example of a man of peace.
Judge Urso is a retired judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County (1977 – 2011). A longtime resident of suburban Melrose Park, he has been married to Mary P. Urso (Lisuzzo) for over 43 years. He is the father of five children — Laura, Joseph (Kelly), Ross (Denise), Maria (William) Katsi Giannis, and Nicole Urso — and is the grandfather of eight — Lauren, Joey, Rossi, Allison, Jacqueline, Michael, Kyli and George.
A graduate of Proviso East High School, Northern Illinois University (with honors) and DePaul University Law School (Juris Doctorate, 1969), Judge Urso served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Illinois from 1969 to November 15, 1977. Assigned to Criminal Appeals Juvenile Court, 1st Municipal District, Felony Review Unit and the Felony Trial Courts in the Criminal Division at 26th and California, he served as Chief of the Felony Review Unit (1973-1977) and Supervisor of the 1st Municipal Division until his appointment as an Associate Judge in November 1977.
He was appointed an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County on Nov. 15, 1977, and a Circuit Court Judge of the Illinois Supreme Court on July 1, 1994. Judge Urso was elected a Circuit Court Judge in November 1994, and served for over 34 years as Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. His assignments included Traffic Court, Gun Court (Br. 27), Violence Court (Br. 66), Trial Courts at 26th and California, and Supervising Judge, Criminal Division, from 1994-1998. He was appointed Presiding Judge of the Third Municipal District in December 1998 until his retirement in 2011. He supervised the operation of the Third Municipal District Courthouse located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois and handled all types of cases from 33 municipalities and 37 police departments.
Judge Urso personally tried thousands of felony cases and presided over 200 capital cases. He presided over many notable cases including P. vs. Larry Eyler, P. vs. Patrick Sykes, (Girl X case), P. vs. Johnnie Lee Evans, P. vs. Lawrence Jackson, P. vs. Skyler Chamber and Turner Reeves and P. vs. Lawrence Nyberg.
He is an original member of the Special Supreme Court Committee on Capital Punishment, the Executive Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference and the Cook County Committee for the selection of Associate Judges.
We ask all of you to join us in honoring these two prominent Italian American success stories, who are certainly deserving of these awards, on Aug. 20 at the South Ballroom of the Donald Stevens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails, followed by the program, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $150. Contact Marie at the JCCIA office at 708-450-9050 or E-Mail at email@example.com.