KEEPING OUR CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES SAFE FROM GUN VIOLENCE
Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Illinois, surpassing car accidents and drug overdoses. In an average year, 1,505 people die by guns in Illinois.
The increasing firearm-related mortality reflects a longer-term trend and shows that we continue to fail to protect our youth from a preventable cause of death.
Enforce safe zones in schools, college campuses, government buildings, and other sensitive locations that prohibit open or concealed carrying of firearms.
Increase state funding for evidence-based violence intervention programs directed to the most effective programs in communities most impacted by violence.
Prohibit individuals who are convicted of misdemeanor hate crime offenses that involve violence or threats of violence from acquiring or possessing firearms.
Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds or less.
Background checks for all gun sales.
Ban the sale and transfer of semi-automatic assault rifles and require current owners to register their weapons.
Create state-level gun violence prevention research centers in order to better understand the root causes of gun violence and the most effective preventative solutions.
Protecting access to Women’s Healthcare
With the recent news that the U.S. Supreme Court is planning to take us back decades in time and end 50 years of progress with Roe v. Wade is egregious. A woman and her doctor should be able to make her own health care decisions without politicians getting in the way..
Illinois has taken essential steps to protect abortion rights at the state level regardless of what happens to Roe v. Wade with the passage of the IL Reproductive Health Act. One thing is clear: Illinois must remain a safe haven for women in surrounding states seeking refuge.
Pass 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.
Mandating that sexual education is properly taught in every school, because the gap between the sex education students should receive and what they actually receive is incredibly harmful.
Providing protections for women coming into Illinois from neighboring states to get an abortion.
Fighting for Lower Property Taxes and Affordable Housing
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 heavily on middle-class citizens, whose salaries have not increased in relation 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.
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 for its constitutional obligation to fund education. It is time to stop pressuring the middle-class and working residents into paying the shortage of education funds by increasing their property taxes.
Reform Tax Increment Financing Districts to ensure 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.
It is time we stop the normalization of societal and workplace abuse, harassment, and discrimination. We must support survivors and victims to come forward, ensuring their safety when doing so. In the wake of the #MeToo movement in state government, it is imperative that we work together to abolish sexual harassment within all public and private workplaces.
Support legislation like 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 for victims of sexual harassment.
Strengthen penalties for those who help coverup or suppress complaints related to workplace harassment.
Secure greater funding for legal aid resources for survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
Investing in a Sustainable Future
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.
Illinois water lines 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 contaminated by 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.
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.
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.
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 Illinois’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.
Taking on Big Insurance
Insurance companies and prescription drug companies are out of control. 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.
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.
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 understand how much of a burden student loans can be. The burden of those 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.
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 to attend college.
Push the federal government to pass a student loan forgiveness program.
The state must prioritize protecting and expanding social services. This is why I will work to promote and help support laws that aim to increase the budget allocations for essential social services.
Secure more funding for social services across the state of Illinois.
Work to make sure that every school in Illinois has a social worker present and that every student has access to mental healthcare.
Ensure that budget cuts are not targeting essential social services.
Secure funding to ensure mental health services are available to all regardless of economic status.
Expand social services for low-income seniors.
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.
Support laws and initiatives which better protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.
Create mandatory training courses for teachers to become 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.