Fighting for a Government that Works
- Ban legislators from accepting campaign contributions from industries they directly oversee and committees they serve in, so they can no longer put their self-interest over public interest.
- Impose a 5-year ban on lobbying for former legislators, to limit people from going back to lobby their former colleagues and taking advantage of their inside knowledge.
- Work to make the Inspector General’s office independent
- Tax contributions over $1000 to finance publicly funded elections—allowing anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status an opportunity to serve in elected office.
After thirty years of the same representation, we have to ask ourselves, who has Illinois been changing for? It is no secret that lobbyist and corporate PACs have a huge influence in financing campaigns; thus, shaping the faces of our elected officials. However, something we don’t often shine a light on is how these very PACs and lobbyists shape our democracy. Representatives whose campaigns were funded by PAC’s and lobbyists have brought change that benefits these groups instead of change that benefits the working people, middle-class, immigrants or people of color. Unlike my opponents, I am the only candidate who refuses to take a single dollar from neither lobbyist nor PAC’s. I am determined to limit the influence of corporate interests, fight corruption, and put power back in the hands of the people of Illinois.
When legislators accept campaign contributions from the industries they directly oversee or committees they serve in, they no longer serve the interest of the people of Illinois, but the interests of the industries or committees that are making them money (paying them). I vow to ban legislators from accepting contributions from industries and committees (for personal gain) that do not benefit the working people of Illinois.
In order to represent the best interest of the working class, we need to create opportunities for anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, to have the chance to serve in office. This is why I plan on taxing all campaign contributions over $1000 and limit those with money of being the only eligible candidates with the chance to represent us in office. This tax will create more financial equality between candidates for a better representation of the people, by the people.
Departing lawmakers are highly sought after by lobbying firms, especially if they held a position of power during their Hill tenure. The five-year ban would limit people from going back to lobby their former colleagues and taking advantage of their inside knowledge. Companies like ComEd and Exelon hired such capable lobbyists to achieve their 1 billion dollars in tax cuts in subsidies for their nuclear power plants in western Illinois. This money could have gone towards a cause that helped the people of Illinois, such as clean energy initiatives.
Fighting for Lower Property Taxes
- Enforce a longer property tax freeze for seniors and increase senior homestead exemptions, so seniors with a fixed income can afford to continue living in their homes.
- In school district 73.5, 82% of property taxes goes to local schools. It is time to hold the state of Illinois responsible to its constitutional obligation to fund education. It is time to stop pressuring the middle-class and working residents in paying the shortage of education funds by increasing their property taxes.
- Reform TIFs ensuring that tax dollars that should be going to public goods are NOT used to subsidize big corporations.
- Ensure that the Fair Tax is passed and that voters are educated on the issue and the billions of dollars it will create in financial relief for Illinois residents.
Our community is being pushed out of their homes due to a broken property tax system. I will work to create a transparent system that holds the ultra-wealthy accountable to paying their fair share while reducing the burden on the middle-class.
There are many different types of exemptions aimed at providing tax relief to different groups, from veterans to people with disabilities. However, even with the current tax freezes and exemptions, many citizens who are 65 and older are having a hard time paying their taxes. Most elderly people are on a fixed income; thus, less able to adjust to increasing property tax bills. To help seniors afford to live in their homes, I will implement an increase of senior homestead exemptions and the Senior Freeze value.
Illinois has a broken school funding system. While schools are predominantly funded by property taxes, the inflation of property taxes has fallen most heavy on middle-class citizens, whose salaries have not increased in accordance to their property taxes. It is time for the state to start making more contributions towards education funding in all districts, giving all children in Illinois the right to a worthy public education. Investing in public education is one of most effective ways our government could reach economic prosperity. boosting spending on public education significantly increases employment and reduces poverty. A well-educated workforce also raises median wages in a state. For these reasons, I will work relentlessly to assure there is more governmental coverage of school funding, to take pressure and funding discrepancies off of the every-day, working-class family.
I will fight to ensure that the Fair Tax proposal is passed in 2020. Illinois has one of the most unfair tax systems in the U.S. In Illinois, working-class and middle-class families pay more of their income to taxes than the wealthy do. Illinois is one of only eight states that have a flat-rate income tax system. A total of 33 states have a progressive income tax system that requires individuals to incrementally pay more as their earnings rise. I would further educate voters in key reasons of choosing the Fair Tax proposal, which include: tax fairness based on ability to pay, cutting taxes for working-class and middle-class families, providing property tax relief for Illinois homeowners, raising revenue and help produce budget stability, boosting the economy and creating jobs .
Protecting access to Women’s Healthcare
- Support legislation that removes barriers to reproductive freedom and provides further protections, ensuring the right for each individual to choose what is right for her and her body.
- Protect and promote funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood, so women have access to affordable healthcare and reproductive rights.
- Support repealing the 1995 parental consent law, because we need to trust youth in our state to make the health care decisions, without forcing them to risk their health.
- Mandating that sexual education is properly taught in every school, because the gap between the sex education students should receive and what they actually received is still wide.
Unfortunately, despite the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects a woman’s right to choose, abortion laws look different from state to state. Extreme politicians are trying to turn back the clock and restrict women’s reproductive freedom. I believe that every woman has the right to choose what is best for her and her body. I will work tirelessly for women’s healthcare rights through supporting legislative initiatives to remove barriers to reproductive rights, supporting organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and reforming sexual educational programs in schools.
Investing in a Sustainable Future
- Revoke bailouts for fossil fuel companies. Billions in tax dollars have gone to subsidize outdated and dangerous forms of energy.
- Support and promote the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which will push Illinois’ energy sector to become carbon free and 100% renewable by 2050.
- Work towards creating clean energy jobs across the state so that every community can benefit from this growing industry.
- Ban Fracking state-wide
- Invest in sustainable public transportation in every community that can significantly reduce pollution while creating safe transportation for all.
- Replace lead lined pipes throughout the state so that every resident has access to clean drinking water.
Coal mining pollutes water, damages or destroys prime farmland, and pollutes our air. Illinois regulatory agencies regularly award permission to mine through streams and wetlands, which also threatens water quality. Billions in tax dollars have gone to subsidize fossil fuels companies. By revoking bailouts for fossil fuel companies, and electing the Clean Energy Job Act, we can extinguish outdated and dangerous forms of energy that threaten our lands and lead way to more jobs and economic growth that will help Illinois become carbon free and 100% renewable by 2050.
I believe that a ban on fracking is the best way to prevent this irresponsible drilling practice. Fracking endangers communities while it poisons air, water, and the environment. Methane, fracking fluids, and wastewater contaminate water supplies. Although States regulate fracking, most allow oil and gas companies to withhold the identity of the chemicals used because they are “trade secret”—Many of which can be unknown chemicals and carcinogens linked to health problems. Frackers use a controversial legal tool known as “forced pooling” to force resistant landowners to submit to drilling. Under current Illinois law oil and gas companies can impose drilling on landowners if more than half of neighboring properties have agreed to gas or oil leases. Promoters of fracking deceptively use the creation of new jobs to get their practices approved. This is not quite true, as fracking jobs are short-term, often filled by out-of-state workers. Today, three times more Illinois workers are employed in renewable energy divisions than in fossil fuels.
Illinois waterlines are facing challenges as a whole. In Chicago alone, there are 392,000 known LSLs and up to 512,000 service lines that may be lead. EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children. Drinking water can contribute 40 to 60 percent of an infant’s lead exposure. I will fight to work towards replacing lead lined pipes throughout the state so that every resident has access to clean drinking water.
Despite transit’s important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, funding for the Illinois transit system is inadequate. While the transit agencies have been successful in recent years obtaining federal and state grants to fund green initiatives, additional funding is needed to implement the strategies included in this plan. I will support increased funding for public transportation and environmental that will allow the Illinois transit system to improve its emissions efficiency and become more environmentally sustainable.
Taking on Big Insurance
- Build a public option allowing Illinois residents to buy into Medicaid while moving towards a universal healthcare system.
- Strengthen the state’s ability to go after insurance companies who wrongfully deny coverage for life saving medical treatments.
- Support Legislation that cap the rising cost of prescription drugs such as Senate Bill 667, which caps the price of insulin to $100.
I am committed to fighting massive health insurance companies who have taken our healthcare system hostage. I am the only candidate running for the 16th district in the Illinois House who has not taken money from a corporate healthcare lobbyist. Illinois needs a public option so that working families have access to affordable, quality healthcare.
If they choose to, public-option plans would allow middle-income, working-class adults to choose a public insurance plan — like Medicare or Medicaid — instead of a private insurance plan. I believe that medical coverage is a right for all citizens, not just those who can afford it. Through public option efforts, we can move towards a goal attaining a universal healthcare system.
Part of equality in healthcare for all includes holding insurance companies liable for the coverage of life saving treatments. Too many times, the health of our fellow citizens are held in the hands of big insurance companies who deem lives as a transactional means of making money. These companies will be held liable for denying coverage to those in need of treatment to survive, despite the difficulty or cost of the treatment.
Illinois has taken a bold step towards a long road of fixing a broken medical system. By Passing the Senate Bill 667, which caps the price of insulin at $100, we have chosen to protect our citizen’s health. I look forward to continuing my support for this legislation and any other plan to help strengthen our state’s accessibility to affordable, quality healthcare.
Housing for All
- Lift the ban on rent control, an issue that has gained traction in Chicago and its gentrifying neighborhoods experiencing steep rent increases.
- Ensure that in all eviction cases, there is a court appointed attorney present to defend tenants.
- Putting an end to background checks on renting applications so every family has access to housing, regardless of their past.
- Stopping evictions from permanently denying families opportunities to housing.
- Stop criminalizing people experiencing homelessness and strengthen social services.
Illinois is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. While wages stay stagnant, rent is rapidly increasing, making it extremely hard for families to stay in their homes. To diffuse the affordable housing crisis and protect tenants from losing their homes, we must lift Illinois’ statewide ban on rent control. Furthermore, in order to fairly represent the tenant facing eviction in the court of law, proper representation by an appointed attorney is required for a trial that is just and without prejudice.
The Illinois background check on rental applications limit the eligibility of families in accessing housing based on credit, criminal, and rental history. Limitations such as prior evictions for already struggling families can hinder their chances in attaining safe, affordable housing. Constraining struggling families to their past, ensures a low probability of prosperity in their future. I will work towards initiatives which aim to stop evictions from permanently denying families housing opportunities. It is time we took action and stop criminalizing people experiencing homelessness by strengthening social services.
- Work on initiatives which put Illinois on a path to having tuition free, public universities and community colleges for Illinois residents.
- Increase investments in community college and trade schools for lower tuition costs.
- Fully fund state universities, to keep our residents from moving to other states for schools.
As a recent college graduate during uncertain times, I understand how much of a burden student loans can be. The burden of student loans are not just on the student, but their families. Families have an enormous amount of pressure to send their kids to college. Unless you are part of a very small group of parents who were able to save for their child’s college tuition, middle-class families are labeled as making “too much money” for financial assistance, forcing them to take out student loans.
The average annual in-state college tuition in Illinois was $18,329 for the 2018-2019 academic year. This is $3,922 higher than the U.S. average and ranks Illinois amongst the costliest as the 10th most expensive and 43rd most affordable state or district to attend college. The higher tuition and board rates are causing Illinois residents to leave home and attend college in other states. This is why it is imperative that our state’s students have access to higher education at an affordable price. I will work on initiatives which ensure our residents have access to tuition
- Increase State funding for local education so that access to quality public education is not heavily dependent on property taxes.
- Reform the broken student-based budgeting model, ensuring that each school meets their needed budget.
- Ensure that the state’s new funding formula is fully funded every year.
- End the proliferation of charter schools.
- Make sure teachers and support staff have the ability to bargain for the resources needed for their students.
- Support legislation for an elected school board representing the interests of parents, students, and community stakeholders.
As a product of public schools, I believe every child, regardless of area code, race, or socioeconomic status, should have access to high quality public education. Illinois’ current education funding system focuses entirely on the distribution of taxpayer money, vs. what is good for the students.
By design, Illinois leaders long ago constructed a school funding system that relies on local property taxes for their funding. It’s been two decades since the last significant attempt to alter the dynamic. Originally intended to support the state’s most at need school districts, the $4.8 billion GSA (General State Aid) has become, in a single decade, a non-inclusive formula that provides subsidies to a few select districts. Vast majority of the GSA was distributed to school districts that exhibited the need. Nearly 90% of aid went to districts that lacked the local funds to meet the state’s minimum funding standards (property taxes). This has caused pressure for middle-class families with inflating property taxes meant to make up for the lack of government support towards education funds. Our government must take responsibility for providing more education funding and stop pressuring middle-class families with inflating property taxes.
our experience in Chicago shows that charter proliferation presents a surplus of schools. This over-flow is now driving declining enrollment, budget cuts, layoffs and charter schools closing, just as it has been doing at district schools. Charter school boards are unelected and almost always exclude parents. With few exceptions, charter schools are founded without unions and kept that way through a harsh, anti-union setting. Teachers risk getting fired when they want to advocate for student rights. I am in support of ending the proliferation of charter schools. I am passionate about reform within the broken student-based budgeting model, while ensuring that each school meets their needed budget, making sure teachers and support staff have the ability to bargain for the resources needed for their students.
- Initiate further funding efforts for youth programs that keep kids in safe and productive environments.
- Advocate for stronger gun laws that require comprehensive background checks on all gun purchasers and more harshly punish illegal gun sellers who bring dangerous weapons into our communities.
- Invest in underserved communities and address the affordable housing crisis.
I am committed in developing a comprehensive approach to dealing with issues around public safety. I propose further funding initiatives for programs which keep kids safe and advocate for stronger gun laws which require comprehensive background checks.
- Support the Workplace Transparency Act, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act while working towards implementing extensive sexual harassment training for all employers including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
- Support extending the statue of limitations to file suit from 300 days, to 5 years for victims of sexual harassment.
It is time we change our culture in the workplace, preventing abuse and discrimination from happening while supporting victims to come forward. In the wake of several #MeToo allegations in state government, it is imperative we work together to abolish sexual harassment within both local and government workplace.
- Hold our government responsible for creating more funding to invest in our social services across the state of Illinois.
- Work to make sure that every school in Illinois has enough social workers.
- We must end the homeless crisis.
It is our government’s responsibility to create adequate funding to meet our resident’s needs. This is why I will work to promote and help support laws that aim to increase the budget plans assisting programs such as Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, and childcare assistance for working families in need.
- Abolish cash bond system which disproportionally affects people of color.
- Invest in communities across the state that have not seen economic opportunity.
Racial minorities are jailed for all crimes at rates higher than whites. In juvenile detention centers, racial minorities are disproportionally represented. Courts considerably higher bail amounts for people of color than they do for white individuals, which only increases the chances of people of color serving pretrial time for crimes they are accused of.
Courts are using digital risk assessment algorithms (RAAs) to advise bail amounts for accused criminals. But these systems are repeatedly prejudice, falsely flagging people of color twice the rate of whites. The algorithms of these systems are biased. A recent Harvard Law Review explained, “risk assessments depend upon criminal justice data that is neither neutral nor objective.” When computers look at data about which populations are arrested at a higher rate, centuries of racism from slavery to the modern Jim Crow are embedded in the data alongside classism and other prejudices. This is why I am passionate about abolishing cash bond systems which prejudicially target people of color.
- Support laws and initiatives which better protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.
- Create mandatory training courses for teachers to becomes educated on LGBTQ+ issues, so they can better advocate for students in need.
- Create mandatory training courses for staff and correctional officers of jail, juvenile and prison systems on LGBTQ+ issues, so they can better advocate for inmates in need.
One in four LGBTQ+ people report undergoing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity over the course of a single year. It is to my truest belief that no one should ever be unsafe, unheard, or disempowered because of who they are or who they love. This is why I will work to create training courses for teachers in schools and staff of our prison systems with education and training to help better protect and advocate for vulnerable people in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Supports strengthening the Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) system
- Supports legislation to ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines
- Supports background checks for every gun sale
- Supports keeping guns outside of schools
There is no shortage of disturbing statistics about our gun violence epidemic. The rate of gun deaths in Illinois increased 41% from 2008 to 2017, compared to a 17% increase over this same time period nationwide. In Illinois, there is an average of 17 hours between gun suicide deaths. An average of 765 people in Illinois die by gun homicide every year. I am passionate about supporting future laws and policy to increase standards of purchasing guns to better protect our community.