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Extension leader brings a wealth of experience to government relations role

Carl Baker photo

URBANA, Ill. — University of Illinois Extension provides decision-makers with practical, timely, and research-based information, giving leaders the tools they need to strengthen their communities and improve the quality of life in areas throughout Illinois. To further communication and collaboration with governmental leaders, Illinois Extension has named Carl Baker to the position of assistant director, government relations.

Baker moves into the role after spending over eight years with Illinois Extension as the county director serving Clay, Effingham, Fayette, and Jasper counties.

“I want to leverage success in Extension working with local, state, and federal elected officials along with state and federal agencies,” says Baker. “Extension is a valuable resource and asset to the University of Illinois System along with the people of Illinois. My goal is to build upon the government relations program that is already in place within Extension and continue working with the staff throughout the state and on campus to achieve our mission.”

Before joining Extension, Baker held positions with the American Red Cross, first as the director of government and external relations in Springfield, where he championed legislation to expand services in disaster preparedness, first aid, CPR, and AED training, and then as the executive director in Decatur. Previously, he was the director of regional medical programs and government affairs for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, advocating for legislative issues at state and federal levels.

“We are delighted to have an experienced and enthusiastic leader in this role as Extension works to expand our relationships with elected officials, state agency directors, and governmental leaders,” says Shelly Nickols-Richardson, director of Illinois Extension. “Carl brings unique perspectives from service as a county director to our statewide initiatives designed to grow partnerships and presence with policymakers.”

Baker is a facilitator for Navigating Difference: Cultural Competency Training and has served on various diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility committees. He has led poverty simulation sessions and spearheaded the MyPI youth disaster preparedness curriculum for Illinois Extension.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from University of Illinois Springfield and is pursuing a doctorate in education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. He serves as the District 6 representative for the University Faculty Senate and previously served on the Council of Academic Professionals and the CAP grievance committee.

SOURCE: Carl Baker, Assistant Director, Government Relations, Illinois Extension

WRITER: Dolan Klein, Sr. Manager for Marketing and Communications,

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.