By Jake Ekdahl and William S. Bike
Four candidates are running on the Democratic side and, after two Republican candidates dropped out, one on the GOP side in the Tuesday, March 17, primary to represent Illinois’s 1st Congressional District in Washington, DC. The winners of each party’s nomination will face each other in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Robert Emmons Jr. did not respond to Gazette Chicago requests for an interview.
He has worked as a manager of program information for OneGoal, focusing on efforts to increase college participation in low-income communities. He later served as a community leader with the Obama Foundation, assisting organizers around the country.
Emmons’s priorities are eliminating gun violence and promoting human rights, education, and healthcare as well as economic, climate, and criminal justice.
His website is www.robertemmons.org, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Gad, as a medical student and medical researcher, survived a near-fatal car accident, which resulted in her becoming addicted to opioids and being incarcerated in Cook County Jail. She turned her life around and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. Gad founded Addiction 2 Action to raise awareness about the need for opioid addiction treatment.
Gad “would like to see a transition to a single payer system” for healthcare, she said, noting she is “in favor of Medicare for all, but there are a lot of wrinkles in current proposals we need to iron out to make sure every person has universal access to quality care.”
Campaign finance reform is necessary because “we treat political spending as free speech, and what ends up happening is the people who have the money are heard more loudly,” she said. She opposes voter suppression and would support a nonpartisan commission on Congressional redistricting.
Concerning the economy, “we overlook the importance of neighborhood jobs like local markets, delis, and bakeries—they bring economic stability,” Gad said, noting she would like to promote “more access to transportation so people can get to jobs.”
She opposes the Trump Administration’s privatizing education policies. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to use tax money for private schools.” Gad would work for more funding for schools “in low income areas,” she said.
A proponent of government funding of higher education, Gad said, “I think the economy would see a lot of growth if we actually had the government pay for college. It costs more money to put somebody in a cell in Cook County Jail than it does to send them to DePaul.”
Gad supported impeaching President Trump, saying “not impeaching would have set a dangerous precedent.” She believes Trump poses a threat to national security.
Gad would work to resolve the border crisis and wants “a more robust” version of the Second Chance Act to provide job training for ex-offenders.
See sarahgad2020.com or call (773) 236-0041.
Ameena Nuur Matthews is a community activist who has worked as a violence intervention and interruption expert with Cure Violence, an organization devoted to reducing shootings and homicides. She also trains people in violence reduction techniques and was the subject of the 2009 film documentary The Interrupters.
Concerning healthcare, Matthews wants “a more equal allocation of resources” to organizations in the community, she said.
An opponent of voter suppression efforts, Matthews said, “I think it’s criminal.” Regarding a nonpartisan commission on Congressional redistricting, “I’m for that,” Matthews added. “I think that is a way that we can teach democracy fairly. We can clearly see the way that they cut up Illinois, and it does not look like it’s for equality or empowerment for all of the communities.”
To increase employment, Matthews noted “union support can be vital and good to secure a position and to open up the avenue of education for black and brown young men and women of the middle and lower classes.” She also believes “we should give them [people with criminal records] a second chance,” she said.
Matthews supports “raising of the minimum wage as the cost of living rises,” she said, with $15.75 as her current goal.
Regarding education, Matthews said, “I believe that all Americans should have quality and empowering education that connects them to the real world, not one that will circulate them back into a system of incarceration.”
She supported impeaching President Trump, saying Congress “did exactly what the constitution rules say,” and Matthews believes “a psychological evaluation should be required for presidents.” She also believes Trump poses a threat to America’s national security.
If elected, she would work to shut down the holding facilities for immigrants, support DACA recipients, and reform economic and criminal justice policies.
See ameenaforcongress.org or call (312) 761-3633.
Bobby Rush is the incumbent, having represented the district for more than 20 years. He serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and chairs the House Subcommittee on Energy. He also serves on subcommittees for Health and Consumer Protection and Commerce.
Rush voted for the Affordable Care Act “under President Obama when it first passed,” he said. “I’m absolutely in favor of protecting it.”
He also favors campaign finance reform “absolutely,” Rush said. “I think every contributor to a campaign should be part of the public record.”
Concerning voter suppression, he said, “no state has been immune to it, but states with bigger minority populations have been more vigorously suppressed; their right to vote has been diminished. We need to ensure the right to vote is protected for all Americans.”
Rush opposes a nonpartisan Congressional redistricting commission because “minorities are often underrepresented,” he said. “I’m not for that because I think that ultimately it will result in reducing the number of minority members of Congress.”
For job growth, Rush introduced the Green Collar Jobs Development Act to “prioritize education and training for energy and other jobs,” he said, noting it would insure that “underrepresented groups like women, minorities, and veterans have access to jobs in our righteous march towards green economy.” Rush voted for the $15 per hour minimum wage and wants to increase it to $17 to $18 per hour.
Public school funding “has diminished under Trump,” Rush said, noting Secretary of Education Betsy de Vos “has probably been the most harmful secretary of education that we’ve ever had. He believes “that students should be guaranteed college education, for those who want it,” he said, noting the Federal government should pay for it.
Rush voted to impeach President Trump. “He’s the number one threat to our national security,” Rush said.
He would work against Trump’s “assault on the Affordable Care act, his climate change denial, and his assault on education.” Rush supports Michael Bloomberg for president because of Bloomberg’s plans to increase African American home ownership and business opportunities.
See rush.house.gov or call (773) 779-2400.
After candidates Lynne Renee Franco and John Wassenaar were disqualified from the ballot, Philanise White is the only GOP candidate running.
Philanise White is the Republican committeewoman for the 7th Ward but decided not to run for re-election for committee-woman. She worked on Ben Carson’s campaign for president and was Illinois co-director of outreach and engagement for the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign.
She believes the ACA “should be rescinded to allow people the freedom to choose the health/medical care that best fits them individually and as a family,” White said.
A proponent of campaign finance reform, she believes “many elections have become tainted with large donations from lobbyists and other special interest groups that try to buy elections and/or candidates.”
Concerning voter suppression, she said, “Anyone who is legally able to vote should be able to exercise that right. However, if there are votes being cast by deceased people, people who are not U.S. citizens, and people voting multiple times within their states or others, then the right to vote is being infringed upon by the individual, not the U.S. government.”
She supports “nonpartisan efforts in congressional districting,” White said. “The process should be run by non-government officials and non-lobbyists—no person or organization affiliated with government, but everyday people who work as a team to come up with a district that realistically reflects the population and citizenry of that district.”
Regarding jobs, White said, “The Trump Administration has done an outstanding job of lowering unemployment across all demographics, including middle class families. Supporting the president’s tariffs on other countries’ imports will help to strengthen the economy even further. New jobs are created by encouraging small businesses to operate without restrictions or unnecessary government intervention or regulations.”
Concerning the minimum wage, White said, “How a company sets its minimum wage should be based on the qualifications of the individual and not necessarily on the economy as a whole. The way to ensure a fair wage would be to maximize the training, skills, and continuing education of the workforce.”
White calls herself “an advocate for education and individual choice,” she said. “It is necessary to allow parents to make the decisions on where and how their child will be educated. That can come in the form of vouchers to use for schools outside of the district they live in, including the choice to home school.”
The Federal government “should not be required to pay for one’s college education, especially for non-citizens and those who do not contribute to the funding of the country’s resources,” White said.
She opposed impeachment of President Trump, claiming that “The manner in which it was conducted, solely by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, violated the president’s right to a fair trial, due process, and the right to present witnesses.”
White does not believe Trump is a threat to national security. If elected she would work to end the war on drugs and protect 2nd Amendment rights “to bear arms and protect ourselves and our families.”
See https://philaniseforcongress.com or call (312) 554-5015.