The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii will virtually host its 20th annual Lost Child Pilgrimage Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon for individuals grieving the death of a child. The speaker will be clinical social worker Emily Tegenkamp. Registration is open until Friday, Oct. 23, at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lost-child-registration-124354037273. Donations are welcome. For information, contact Cathy Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 421-3757, ext. 303.
Archives for October 2020
In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Loretto Hospital is offering free, 2D and 3D tomosynthesis mammograms for uninsured or underinsured people throughout October.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among all female populations in the U.S., and while incidence of breast cancer is comparable among Black and White women, Black women are 40% more likely to die from the disease than their White counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Loretto medical team is working hard to remedy that disparity and bring to light the importance of preventive breast cancer screenings.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live his or her healthiest life,” said Deatra Howard, vice president and chief nursing officer at Loretto Hospital. “Early detection is vital, and the Loretto Hospital remains dedicated to ensuring every woman, regardless of race or insurance status, has access to potentially life-saving breast screenings this year.”
The hospital offers state-of-the-science breast tomosynthesis technology, which utilizes low-dose x-rays to produce a three-dimensional image of the breast tissue, thus helping radiologists detect cancer when it is most treatable. This Food and Drug Administration-approved technology is considered superior to conventional 2D mammography alone, especially for women with dense tissue. The 3D images can separate breast tissue that may appear overlapping in 2D imaging.
The Loretto Hospital will round out Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a Facebook Live event titled “The Pink Table.” On Thursday, Oct. 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m., interested individuals are invited to attend the roundtable-style discussion, which will feature several of Loretto’s breast cancer warriors as they share their personal experiences with the disease and the importance of screening and early detection. Those interested in attending can visit https://www.facebook.com/Lorettohospitalchicago/ on the day of the event.
The Loretto Hospital is located at 645 S. Central Ave. and is offering same day mammogram appointments for those who qualify. For more information or to schedule a screening, call Loretto’s Diagnostic Imaging Department at 833-TLH-LOVE or visit https://www.lorettohospital.org/our-services/radiology-diagnostic-imaging/.
By Madeline Makoul
Three candidates are running for Cook County’s state’s attorney in a race that has become more contentious in the lead-up to election day.
Kim Foxx, the incumbent and Democratic candidate, said growing up in Cabrini-Green public housing gave her firsthand insight into the violence communities experience—something she hopes to continue to address in office.
Gazette Chicago asked Foxx about criticism she has received about her office dropping charges against Jussie Smollett, who fraudulently claimed he had been a victim of a hate crime.
“Diversions for low-level cases happen every day,” Foxx explained. “Indeed, we should have better informed the general public of this process. As you know, the special prosecutor critically reviewed this case and ultimately found no outside influence, no criminal activity, and that I had no role in the final decision.”
Foxx has drawn criticism concerning other dropped felony cases. Foxx said she has opened felony case load data to the public to enhance transparency about what felony cases come in, which her office drops, and which her office completes. Foxx previously said the office spent significant time on drug possession cases, with less attention to violence, shootings, and homicides.
“Drug addiction and substance abuse is a public health issue, but 40% of the cases that come into our office are drug cases,” she said, noting she would rather focus on drug pushers and violence. Instead of using so many resources on cases of drug possession, Foxx said, she wants to divert those cases to treatment options, so her office can spend more time on “those who are causing harm” through violence.
She added prosecutors may drop some felony cases because they lack sufficient evidence, and she will not pursue a case with “evidence that is not sustainable” to ensure the right people are convicted, noting that her Republican opponent, Pat O’Brien, “oversaw 27 wrongful convictions” in his career.
Foxx asserted the state’s attorney’s office has prosecuted more gun cases in her first three years than the last administration did in its final three. Foxx wants to continue allocating resources to ensure her office tries and convicts offenders in gun cases. With the Gun Crimes Strategies Unit, Foxx has assistant state’s attorneys working with police to help build stronger gun cases, a protocol she hopes to continue in a second term.
About looting over this past summer, Foxx explained police make the arrests and present her office with the cases they believe have enough evidence to make a felony charge stick. The police can file cases they deem misdemeanors on their own, without the state’s attorney. While opponents have asserted Foxx was not tough on looting, she said her office approved 90% of the felony looting cases that police presented. In the second round of looting in August, of the 42 felony charges Chicago Police presented, her office approved 40 cases.
Foxx’s office differentiates retail theft from looting, and she said she has been charging fewer cases of retail theft. As she explained, other states set higher dollar amounts for retail crime to count as a felony, with states such as Wisconsin charging retail theft as a felony once it reaches $2,000 versus Illinois at $300—a lower threshold that can increase caseload and take attention away from violent crime.
While retail theft clearly differs from looting, Foxx said some are “conflating” looters with “non-violent peaceful protesters, people arrested for curfew violations, or those loitering in the streets. Those were cases we are not going to use our limited resources to go after. But we are going after looters.” Foxx said her office continues to work with police to build cases, looking at videos and social media to ensure police arrest looters.
Foxx feels her relationship with the police constitutes an important partnership. “The notion that we are at war with the police is absolutely false,” she said. “I need our police on every case we have, and I have to be able to support them. At the same time, if they do something wrong and I have to prosecute a police officer, I will do that like I would anyone else. But we have a strong working relationship, and that’s how we are able to approve cases and win—because our police show up and do the job they are asked to do.”
“In 2017, 2018, and 2019, violent crime has gone down in Cook County,” Foxx said. “The ‘lock ‘em all up’ policies of the past did not help the police and certainly did not help public safety. My office has increased the total prosecuted cases related to serious and violent crime by 7% from the previous administration. Not only are more individuals with violent crimes arrests being charged, but the overall conviction rate has also risen from 81% to 83% since 2016.”
When asked about criticism of electronic monitoring of offenders, Foxx said, “Let’s be clear, this monitoring system is handled by the sheriff’s office, and my Republican opponent, Mr. O’Brien, should know this given his experience in the office. Mr. O’Brien is simply playing politics and is using Trump-like fear tactics to exploit recent tragedies to connect them to electronic monitoring.”
To learn more, visit www.kimfoxx.com/
Patrick “Pat” O’Brien,the Republican candidate, has practiced law for 45 years, serving as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney from 1975 to 1981 and from 1986 to 1993. O’Brien also worked as a Cook County Circuit Court judge, elected as a Democrat, from 2006 to 2015 and has been in private practice since then. He switched to the Republican Party in 2019 in planning his run for state’s attorney.
O’Brien felt motivated to run after seeing how incumbent Foxx handled the Smollett case. O’Brien believes Smollett was “given a sweetheart deal because he was politically connected, and the state’s attorney violated her oath of office and integrity.”
O’Brien wants to change how officials oversee individual recognizance bonds and hopes to improve the electronic monitoring system. He said the sheriff’s office does not have resources to oversee the current number of people under electronic monitoring in Cook County, and because it lacks GPS, some violations go unreported upon first incident.
“I would make sure there’s a unit that monitors the monitors so the first violation they get pulled in, because when you have a violation with electronic monitoring, that’s actually considered an escape,” he said.
O’Brien also would work to ensure the bond court recommends appropriate bonds for each crime, not lowering the bond price if the person cannot pay it in the case of more serious crimes.
O’Brien asserted he would prosecute felony narcotics cases vigorously and not drop them, saying, “In gangs, narcotics fuel their ability to get money and stay flush. You can’t separate drugs from gangs, so I would prosecute drug offenses and look to make cases against gang leaders.”
He charged that the state’s attorney’s office “isn’t working hard enough” on violence, adding, “I don’t necessarily blame the assistants. It’s direction; it’s leadership. They have a state’s attorney that thinks they are a social justice warrior.”
O’Brien said he wants more funding for a witness and children security program to keep witnesses safe, even after they testify and cases are closed, to ensure witnesses feel comfortable and safe testifying with no protection when they return to the communities in which the people who they testified against live. O’Brien suggested using Federal grants to fund relocating witnesses to provide a “safety veil” so people aren’t afraid to testify.
Regarding his prosecuting 27 cases later deemed wrongful convictions, O’Brien said many stemmed from a lack of sufficient DNA processing—an issue he would focus on in office. O’Brien said testing DNA, and quickly, would be key to ensuring prosecutors try and convict the right people of crimes.
Concerning minor drug convictions, O’Brien said he would ensure the state’s attorney’s office expunges them quickly. He supports group expungements versus handling one defendant at time, expunging those with charges for fewer than 30 grams of drugs. While he would do his best to contact those affected by expunged charges so they know drug convictions are off their records, he would write expunging orders aggressively for groups of charges even if the office could not reach individuals, wiping small drug charges from their records at an efficient rate.
Concerning looting, O’Brien asserted Foxx has extended more sympathy to the defendant than the victim. While prosecutors can treat retail theft as a felony at the $300 level, he charged Foxx failed to prosecute unless the value was $1,000 or more which, he believes has allowed looting to continue.
“Why are the people who obey the law paying the price for the people that break the law?” O’Brien asked. “That doesn’t make us safer. You have to act as a prosecutor, working all the time to make communities safer and make the victim’s voice heard.”
If looting continues, O’Brien said he would make it clear the office would prosecute looters and would want assistant state’s attorneys with the police to photograph and take inventory of stolen items to ensure they have proof beyond reasonable doubt when dealing with looters.
Brian Dennehy,the Libertarian Party candidate, works as a tax lawyer and accountant. A former marine, Dennehy was motivated to run for the position because he believes “the country is heading in the wrong direction, and I wanted to do something about it.”
About dropping felony cases, Dennehy said, “My basic operating premise is don’t hurt people, don’t take people’s stuff, and if you’re not hurting people and not taking people’s stuff, it’s difficult to charge that person with a felony.”
Dennehy said he understands why the state’s attorney’s office drops many felony cases if they were lesser felony charges that hurt no one and said he too likely would drop felony cases involving drug charges, possessing or distributing small amounts of illegal drugs, and possessing a firearm without an owner’s identification card.
Dennehy called the looting “unprecedented” and believes Foxx did the best she could, considering the situation. Dennehy said, if looting continues, he would prosecute those with prior convictions for theft or violence as well as those who had a more professional thieving operation and stole volumes of expensive items.
“The state’s attorney’s office has to dissuade people from acts of looting by charging them with the appropriate offense and hope the word gets out that, if you’re caught looting, you’re going down,” Dennehy explained, stating that for “those cases where people were backing up U-Hauls or breaking into people’s property, we charge them with burglary and the highest offense and keep them in jail.” For those who may have gotten “caught up in the moment,” Dennehy said he would seek restitution for the people and businesses harmed, making a better difference for looting victims than “locking someone in a cage.”
Dennehy would focus on violence associated with drugs, noting “the black market prohibition is the driver of a lot of this violence. If your product is illegal, you can’t call the cops or use the courts, so gangsters rely on street justice to solve their problems because they can’t rely on the police.”
As a remedy, Dennehy said he would call to decriminalize drugs. Instead of a blanket policy that decriminalizes all charges, Dennehy explained, “I wouldn’t prosecute any drug cases when it’s a voluntary transaction by consenting adults. With kids, charge the drug seller. If someone is selling drugs cut with fentanyl, I would consider that a form of violence and would charge that person.”
Dennehy said that, aside from decriminalizing drugs, Illinois needs more reform to provide alternatives for people to earn money so the drug trade is not their only option.
While Dennehy supports many of Foxx’s reform efforts, he said her “adversarial relationship” with the Federation of Police is unhealthy for the system. “The FOP isn’t the enemy of the people,” Dennehy said, “They are part of the system too. I don’t think she will be able to repair that relationship. I don’t have any baggage with the FOP, police, or mayor’s office, and I understand that everyone needs to work together.”
Looking to forge new relationships, Dennehy said, “I’m coming into it with the mindset that we need to do collectively what’s in the best interests of the people—including the police, Black Lives Matter, and the families of people who suffered from police brutality. I have a mindset of ‘how do we fix this?’ without being beholden to anyone or having baggage of some old case or accusation.”
To learn more about Dennehy, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Brian-Dennehy-for-Cook-County-States-Attorney-100302215125511/.
By Eva Hofmann
In the 1st Congressional District, two challengers are taking on the longtime incumbent. The 3rd District will have a new member of the House of Representatives no matter who wins.
While parts of the South Side 1st District include communities that house world-class health and educational institutions and a diverse array of businesses, there are others where youth unemployment, poverty, and acts of violence are far too common.
Incumbent Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat, has been in Congress since 1993. Rush serves on the House committee on energy and commerce, which has taken steps to protect Americans’ health and give families peace of mind during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Rush told Gazette Chicago that his top two priorities are violence prevention and jobs. “A lack of jobs is a key factor in the rise in violence,” he said. “I have introduced legislation to require a national registration system for firearms as well as to make gun trafficking, which is responsible for so many of the illegal guns in Chicagoland, a Federal offense. I have also introduced legislation that will help retrain workers for new economy jobs by providing them the skills and education they need to succeed.”
Concerning the coronavirus’s impact on business, Rush said that Congress needs to make sure that small businesses “and their workers have the resources they need to make it through this crisis and ultimately recover.” He supports the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program, and “would expand the PPP, particularly for minority- and women-owned businesses,” Rush said.
He noted that “Black banks…are now in danger of disappearing. I have introduced legislation to strengthen these critical institutions.”
Rush believes in immigration reform that addresses the issue in a comprehensive and humane fashion. He supports strengthening America’s borders while creating a pathway to citizenship, firmly and fairly enforcing the laws, and restoring and ensuring due process. He added America must address family reunification, and believes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who have not broken any laws and have been contributing members of society should have a path forward in the only country they know.
For more information, go to https://rush.house.gov or https://www.facebook.com/congressmanbobbyrush.
Philanise White served as Republican committeewoman for Chicago’s 7th Ward from 2016 through March 2020. She also worked on the 2016 Illinois Ben Carson for President campaign as a liaison for the 2nd Congressional District. She then became the Illinois co-director of Black American Engagement and Outreach for the Trump Republican National Committee that helped craft the Republican party platform for its 2016 convention in Cleveland. Currently, she serves as president of Great Lakes Illinois Republican Women and secretary of the Bessemer Park Advisory Council.
White’s two legislative priorities are school choice and “American first.” She advocates school choice policies allowing more parental involvement in how and where a child is educated—including choosing curriculum and staff—according to the child’s academic level. Parents would determine how to allocate their tax dollars if their child does not attend a public school or government-run institution. “Those dollars should follow the child,” said White. “The parent should be free to determine the academic needs of their child without having government intervention or pressures from unions.”
To promote her “American first” agenda, White seeks to bring back manufacturing, promote securing the southern border, support law and order, and build communities. “This would ensure that Americans receive the benefits due them as citizens and will create a pipeline for a stronger economy and quicker recovery throughout every part of our nation, both rural and urban.”
According to White, putting Americans first means less government intervention in business, religion, and personal decisions. “The individual is capable of building successful businesses without a lot of government red tape or regulations,” she said. “I would advocate for businesses small and large to collaborate with each other to establish networks of opportunities that would benefit them both individually and collectively.”
White said she could address immigration by encouraging congressional members to enforce laws currently on the books without making such enforcement a political issue. “If we work together on what is good for the country, we could collectively move toward the goal of a sensible path to citizenship for individuals that want to come to our country legally,” she said.
For more information, go to https://philaniseforcongress.com or call (312) 554-5015.
Born and raised in Englewood, one of Chicago’s most socially disenfranchised neighborhoods, independent candidate Ruth Pellegrini spent most of her life in Chicago’s 1st District. Working with church-based education programs gave her the desire to improve literacy among inner city youth.
Based on her experience, Pellegrini said she has a heart for struggling single moms, vulnerable girls, and anyone who wants to start and run her or his own business. “Chicago is people, and the people deserve better,” said Pellegrini. “Let’s help our kids, improve our schools, build businesses, and get back on track. Together we can heal the city, one step forward at a time.”
Education is key to getting the country back on track, according to Pellegrini. “We need to transform our schools and education system,” she said. “The foundation that needs to undergird our children has crumbled in the last two generations, and the schools are a big part of the problem. A child who has the fundamentals of education is a child with a future.” She would work to make the schools “safe and well-equipped environments.”
Pellegrini also wants to address the family structure’s erosion. “I believe that our problems have become big because we stopped doing the small things, like respecting one another, respecting one another’s personal belongings and property, and treating each other the same as we would like to be treated.”
To help constituents recover from the coronavirus’s effects, Pellegrini believes job creation would offer a great springboard to recovery, helping motivate people who have suffered months of lockdown. “It would be an incentive and a healing balm after an unnaturally long period of forced isolation,” she said.
Pellegrini also hopes to address climate change if elected. “We must look after the environment and keep it strong for the next generation and the generations to come,” she said. “It is the responsibility of every person on the planet to consider their part in keeping the earth healthy.”
On immigration and DACA, Pellegrini said, “This country was built on immigration, and it’s part of what makes us great. I’m in favor of helping anyone get citizenship as long as they follow the rules.”
To learn more about Ruth Pellegrini go to https://ruthcongress.com.
The 3rd District comprises much of the Southwest Side and some south and west suburbs. Long represented by conservative Democrat Daniel Lipinski, the district will have a new representative no matter who wins, as Lipinski lost his primary in March.
Born on the Southwest Side and raised in St. Barnabas Parish, Marie Newman later moved to Palos Park with her family. After college, she worked her way up to become a partner in one of the country’s largest ad agencies and later started her own consulting business.
When one of her children experienced severe bullying, Newman co-founded a non-profit program, Team Up To Stop Bullying.
She worked with State and Federal legislators to prioritize anti-
bullying policies and wrote a book to provide solutions for parents and schools.
After narrowly losing the Democratic primary to Lipinski in 2018, the progressive Newman defeated him this year to become the Democratic candidate.
Her two biggest priorities are creating an economy that works for everyone and implementing universal healthcare. “I am determined to fight on behalf of working families to support unions, raise wages, create new good paying American jobs in our district, and ensure that Federal policy is tailored towards everyday Americans, not big corporations.
“We must fight for universal healthcare and against the actions of Republicans and the Trump administration who are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” said Newman, added that migrating over time to Medicare for All is the most practical path forward.
“Adopting Medicare for All will remove costs like doctor visits, ambulance trips, blood tests, and completely cover vision, dental, and prescription drugs as well,” said Newman. She believes a single-payer system is the only way to reduce costs, eliminate restrictive networks, and provides the most security for families.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn, Newman said she will fight for increased funding for testing and personal protective equipment and to ensure broad and equitable access to a vaccine once it becomes available.
Newman considers climate change a threat to public health and the economy. “In just the past few months we’ve seen enormous fires in the West, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and record heat throughout the country,” she said. “But this tragedy also presents us with an opportunity to come together as a country and create millions of union jobs, modernize our transportation systems and infrastructure, as well as create a 21st century economy that works for all.” Newman strongly advocates a green stimulus package to address both the economic and environmental crises.
She also advocates protecting immigrants’ rights and DACA recipients and establishing a clear and direct pathway to citizenship. “We must streamline the green card and immigration process so that those who want to immigrate to this country have the opportunity to come here safely and legally,” she said.
Newman finds it critical to reform voter suppression tactics and to overturn Citizens United.
To advocate for middle class working families and combat unemployment, Newman would encourage establishing workforce and short-term certificate training at local community colleges to create employment opportunities within traditional trades and a robust tech industry.
To combat national student loan debt, Newman said Congress needs to intervene.
For more information go to https://www.marienewmanforcongress.com.
Republican Mike Fricilone has served on the Will County board since 2012. During his tenure as finance chair, he cut taxes four years in a row. While staying fiscally conservative, he oversaw the Building Will County Financial Plan, which included a new public safety facility, 911 center, county courthouse, and county health center.
Fricilone said he will push for legislation that “lowers taxes, creates a better way of life for families and seniors, and improves the business climate of our district” as well as improve healthcare services while lowering costs.
He also wants to help the community recover from fallout resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19). “We need to address the hemorrhaging of millions of jobs, the closing and bankruptcies of countless employers, and the civil unrest in our nation’s cities,” he said. “These are big jobs, and the solutions for them will not come from one political party. They will need to be bipartisan.
“No matter who is president, I will work in a bipartisan fashion to create legislation that requires more staple medications, PPE, and medical supplies to be made in the United States. I would do this by creating incentives for companies who manufacture these much needed goods here in our country. In the 3rd District, we have the capacity, the workforce, and the transportation systems to be a leader in the production of these goods.”
Fricilone supports the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Paycheck Protection Program. “Now I hope both sides of the aisle can come together for the HEALS [Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act], which will continue to move our country in the right direction economically. Plus, I believe we should continue to provide student loan forgiveness and direct stimulus paychecks to help invigorate our local economies.”
Fricilone supports legal immigration and said we must protect our borders and find a solution for DACA. “Legal immigrants are welcome in our country as productive citizens who add to the fabric of our society,” he said.
Fricilone is known on the county board for pushing for use of renewable clean energy. “In Will County, I am proud to be a Republican that is respected for protecting our environment,” he said. “My comprehensive energy plan is meant to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, protect our environment, and unleash American innovation.”
He opposes the Federal government paying for college education, is a fan of President Trump’s tax cuts for the rich, and voter ID.
Fricilone would not support a single-payer healthcare system.
For more information, go to https://mikefricilone.com.
By Mallory Cheng
One Democrat and one Republican are running in each of the 4th and 7th Congressional districts; the race for the 7th also includes an independent.
Democrat Jesús “Chuy” Garcia,
the incumbent, has represented the district for the last two years. Garcia and his campaign did not respond to Gazette Chicago’s request for an interview. He formerly served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners and ran for mayor in 2015.
Garcia serves on the House financial services, transportation and infrastructure, and natural resources committees. He also serves on the equality, Hispanic, progressive, and new Americans caucuses.
Garcia’s top priorities are affordable and comprehensive healthcare, immigration reform, labor and worker rights, and affordable neighborhoods. He also firmly supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and permanent protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
Jesus Solorio Jr.,theRepublicancandidate, has workedfor former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, former Governor Bruce Rauner, and the Illinois Republican Party in building coalitions and outreach. He chairs the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois and serves on the Chicago Young Republicans board.
Creating jobs for constituents is his top priority, and he wants to “ensure businesses are going to reopen their doors,” Solorio said.
He wants to ensure businesses move back into the district by creating an “environment that is friendly for job creators,” Solorio added. “Regulation after regulation and tax increases make it hard for regular small businesses to succeed.”
Solorio also prioritizes education, saying he wants to put decisions back into the hands of parents instead of teachers’ unions. “I want to give parents and students real opportunities,” he said. “Parents should have a final decision of where their kids go and what the kids are learning.”
Concerning teachers’ unions, he said, “When their demands are not met, they’re going to continue to hold our kids hostage.”
On healthcare, he believes “any individual that has a pre-existing health condition is covered by healthcare,” Solorio said, “I want quality affordable healthcare.” He adamantly opposes Medicare for All, and would replace the Affordable Care Act with medical care based on the law of supply and demand.
As for climate change, Solorio opposes the Green New Deal. “The climate is changing,” he said. “It has been changing since its inception. Instead of having government overreach, we need to incentivize the private sector to reduce the cost of energy.”
Solorio advocates “an immigration compromise.” He believes in strong border security. “Illegal immigration needs to be reduced significantly,” he said. “It hinders people who come here legally.”
He disagreed with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and even other Republicans over their handling of DACA, charging they “played political games.” As an alternative to DACA, he would like to see paths for high-skilled immigrants for all fields of employment and “adopt an immigration plan based on societal merit.”
If elected, he emphasized, “I want to put Main Street back in charge of government. I want to make sure they have a voice. I want to make sure that the policies are going to benefit Main Street families.”
Democrat Danny K. Davis, the incumbent, has represented the district for23 years. He serves on the ways and means committee and on seven Congressional caucuses including the Congressional Black, progressive, urban, and community health centers caucuses.
Davis has made creating solutions to the coronavirus (COVID-19) impact his priority. He supports the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a bill created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. The Democrats’ bill fights for more money for working and needy individuals, while the Republicans want to give less money to workers and more to corporations.
“The big hope is to come up with a vaccine,” Davis said. “We need to arrest the virus and get it under control, which is something we have not done with a national plan.”
His second priority is “safely putting people back to work” with the necessary COVID-19 precautions. “Small businesses are the economic engine of our economy,” Davis said. “We need to save and salvage as many as we can.”
Through his role on the ways and means committee, in 2019 he introduced and sponsored the Pathways to Health Careers Act, which would give low-income individuals opportunities in health professions.
He strongly supports the Green New Deal and its work opportunities. “I support approaches that would shift the reliance upon fossil fuels to green energy,” Davis said. “We have to make use of the scientific discoveries and scientific knowledge that we have.”
Davis supports comprehensive immigration reform. “America is big enough, broad enough, and has enough resources to welcome other people to this country,” he said. “We can grant them the opportunity to experience the goodness and greatness this country has to offer.”
Concerning DACA, he opposes separating individuals from their families “on technicalities that one was born in this country and the other was not.”
Davis would continue to make public policy decisions that are “focused on the needs of the disadvantaged, the poor, individuals, and groups of individuals at the low end of the socioeconomic ladder.”
Davis strongly supports Joe Biden for president.
See https://davis.house.gov/or call (773) 533-7520.
Republican Craig Cameron and his campaign did not respond to Gazette Chicago requests for an interview. His background focuses on industrial, commercial, and residential construction.
Cameron’s top priorities are bringing jobs back to Chicago, promoting best practices in policing, and increasing funding to states with high-crime rates.
He also focuses on gun control for those engaged in criminal activity while maintaining the right to bear arms, lowering healthcare costs, community bond programs, and tax break incentives for companies to increase job op-
See more at https://cameron4congress.com/. His email is email@example.com.
Independent candidate Tracy Jennings served in the United States Army, worked in telecommunications, and started his own real estate appraisal company. Most recently, Jennings worked with the State of Illinois as a public service administrator at the Department of Human Services, the Department of Children and Family Services Legal Division, and the Department of Employment Security.
Education ranks as Jennings’s highest priority. “The gap in receiving an adequate education in low-income communities versus affluent communities is far too large in our district,” Jennings said. He opposes Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s policies, which “directly attacked public education.”
Jennings strongly advocates for police reform and supported the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act of 2020. This act would hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police trainings and policies.
“Police officers are juggling too many things,” Jennings said. “We need to break out some of the responsibilities that they have. Too many times police officers are getting on the scene when someone is having a mental breakdown. They might follow orders because they’re just in a bad state mentally. They shouldn’t lose their lives just because of that.”
He strongly supports the Affordable Care Act, especially since COVID-19 appeared. “It is the government’s responsibility to make health insurance available to all citizens,” Jennings stated. People should “not have to choose between a medical procedure or feeding their families.”
On climate change, he recognizes he does not have all the answers. “That’s an area I’m really interested in to read the reports and really educate myself. I am going to listen to the experts and follow the data.”
Jennings supports immigration reform. “We have to establish a pathway to citizenship with DACA individuals,” he said. “They did not do anything wrong. We have to have a deep discussion of birthright citizenship for children whose families broke the law entering the United States. It is unfair to the children if we don’t have those types of discussions.”
Seehttps://tracyjenningscongress.com/ or call (312) 803-0391.
By William S. Bike
Several candidates are running unopposed in local races in the November 3 general election for the Illinois General Assembly and therefore are guaranteed to keep their seats. All are Democrats.
State Senate, 1st District
Senator Antonio Munoz has represented the 1st District since 1999 and is assistant majority leader. He chairs the executive appointments committee and serves on the assignments, executive, insurance, veterans affairs, and energy and public utilities committees as well as the committee of the whole.
For more information, log on to www.senatortonymunoz.com.
State Senate, 13th District
Robert Peters has represented the 13th District since January 2019. He serves on the committee of the whole, criminal law, financial institutions, human services, telecommunications and information technology, and veterans affairs committees. He chairs the committee on public safety.
For more information, log on to www.senatorrobertpeters.com.
State House, 2nd District
Second District State Representative Theresa Mah became the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2016.
Mah vice chairs the health care licenses committee and co-chairs the environmental justice subcommittee. She serves on the appropriations-elementary and secondary education; energy and environment; international trade and commerce; and museums, arts, and cultural institutions committees and the subcommittee on negotiations.
See www.theresamah.com for more information.
State House, 4th District
Delia C. Ramirez has represented the 4th State House District since December 2018.
Ramirez vice chairs the adoption and child welfare committee and sub-chairs the special issues (ACSI) subcommittee. She serves on the appropriations-human services; elementary and secondary education: administration, licensing, and charter school; judiciary-criminal; and mental health committees and the subcommittees for juvenile justice and system involved youth and for sex offenses and sex offender registration.
Ramirez is the first Guatemalan-American to serve in the Illinois General Assembly.
See http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?MemberID=2747 for more information.
State House, 5th District
Lamont J. Robinson, Jr. is a freshman Democratic legislator.
He vice chairs the prescription drug affordability committee and serves on the appropriations-public safety, financial institutions, personnel and pensions, and transportation: regulation and roads committees as well as the administrative and substantive and local retirement systems subcommittees.
See https://ilhousedems.com/project/rep-lamont-robinson/ for more information.
State House, 6th District
Democrat Sonya M. Harper has served in the Illinois General Assembly since October 2015.
She chairs the House economic opportunity and equity and the agriculture and conservation committees as well as the environmental justice and public benefits subcommittees. Harper also serves on the appropriations-public safety, elementary/secondary education school curriculum policies, energy and environment, and human services committees.
State House, 9th District
Lakesia Collins has not previously held elective office. Arthur Turner is the incumbent but chose not to run again; Collins won the March Democratic primary.
Collins is a nursing home worker and leader in the nursing home reform movement. She supports paying promised pensions to state workers, the fair tax, green energy, and higher wages for workers.
Her website is www.lakesia4.rep.com.
State House, 10th District
Jawaharial “Omar” Williams has represented the 10th District since May 2019.
He serves on the appropriations-capital, financial institutions, public utilities, and transportation-vehicles and safety committees.
See https://ilhousedems.com/project/jawaharial-williams/ for more information.
State House, 26th District
Kambium Buckner has been the 26th District representative since January 2019.
He serves on the appropriations-elementary and secondary education, child care access and early childhood, higher education, judiciary-criminal, transportation-vehicles and safety, and firearms and firearm safety committees.
See https://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?MemberID=2765 for more information.
By Madeline Makoul
Just after 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, after a weekend of protests and looting, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) made a sweeping announcement to the City of Chicago via Twitter.
The tweet read, “Service Suspended. At 6:30 p.m., service will be suspended on all bus and rail lines at the request of public safety officials. Service is expected to resume tomorrow morning.”
One hour later, an emergency alert rang on the smartphones of residents in Chicago, warning of the public transportation shutdowns. Fifteen minutes later, bus routes and train lines stopped in their tracks as City personnel raised bridges to the Loop.
The response to the social unrest that has swept across Chicago and the country this past summer did not end the last weekend of May. In fact, the transportation shutdowns continued, occurring again months later in August as protests and looting saw a resurgence.
W. Robert Schultz III, a campaign organizer for Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on making walking, biking, and public transit safe, said the City provided little notice of the shutdowns beforehand, and with crowds of protesters in the city for George Floyd demonstrations, the City did not give people time to leave before transportation options closed.
“Getting around the city is hard enough on the CTA, and we have been working as an organization to speed up the frequency and speed of buses,” Schultz said. “So, to just totally shut down a system that people are reliant on and have no alternative means—and there has been no planning of any alternatives whatsoever—is just an inconsideration of the most vulnerable people that rely on it.”
Schultz went on to say that transportation is a human right, and in a city in which many people do not have cars, shutting down transportation left protesters and essential workers alike with few alternate means to get to where they needed to go, leaving expensive ride shares as one of the few options.
While representatives from the CTA declined to comment, they did provide the following statement regarding the first round of public transportation shutdowns at the end of May.
“The changes made to CTA service were part of a larger, citywide effort led by public safety officials in response to the protests. CTA made the changes at the request of those officials, to help ensure the safety of CTA customers and employees, as well as CTA property. With many of the bridges leading to/from the downtown area lifted, and with street closures occurring throughout the day, CTA was unable to continue providing service along a number of our rail lines and bus routes.”
Implications of transportation shutdowns
In the aftermath of the initial transit shutdowns in May and June, Active Transportation Alliance conducted a survey through social media for people to share their stories, revealing the range of impact for those who depend on transit.
Schultz said it is “unconscionable” to shut down an entire transportation system, as the survey showed it affected those who need it most. People taking care of family members, those with disabilities who rely on public transportation to be independent, and many essential workers provided a range of responses.
“The whole system shouldn’t be shut down without alternatives, especially overnight when it’s already a challenge to move about the city if you’re an essential worker, in the health field, or any number of activities,” Schultz said. “This is a global city that functions 24/7.”
Schultz noted that Divvy, too, was unavailable during the initial public transportation shutdowns, further limiting transportation options for those dependent on transit.
Kate Lowe, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at University of Illinois Chicago, said that, in a large city such as Chicago, public transportation users are diverse across incomes, races, and geographies as many opt to go car-free.
Lowe added that low and moderate income households own cars at a lower rate, making them more reliant on public transportation as their sole means of transportation. Especially with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, when those who can work from home can avoid transit, those affected by closures were disproportionately black and brown and essential workers, Lowe explained.
“Who has the choice to not move right now?” Lowe asked. “Freedom of mobility is really important, as is the freedom not to move during a pandemic, and essential workers are who will be most burdened by these shutdowns. Universal policies have inequitable effects.”
Based on her research on social equity in transportation, Lowe said she is “deeply troubled” by the transportation closures.
“We already know from our research that black and brown individuals face a whole host of intersecting barriers to accessing destinations—from jobs, to healthcare, and parks,” Lowe explained. “There are cost burdens, with South and West Siders that have to travel far outside of their home communities to get to work. It’s already a huge burden.”
In the communities most affected by protests and looting, however, the shutdowns came as a bit of relief. Jim Wales, president of South Loop Neighbors, said the first weekend of protests at the end of May caused massive damage, something shutting down transportation helped alleviate.
“I think it’s a catch-22 position for the mayor and the City,” Wales said. “Clearly, shutting down the transportation has an impact on people leaving, but it also did prevent some people from coming into the Loop to continue damaging property.”
Wales added transportation closures helped make the community feel safer, noting that destruction in the South Loop because of the looting was “tremendous” and something South Loop residents and businesses grappled with for weeks after.
Wales believes the City could have been better prepared for the protests that resulted in the shutdowns.
“Knowing what was going on around the nation, we can’t be making knee-jerk decisions,” Wales said. “There has to be some proactive decision-making, looking at the potential problem places and setting up so you’re ready to deal with that. I understand it’s easier to look at that in hindsight, but there needs to be some proactive planning done instead of just reactive.”
As Chicago prepares for the possibility of continued protests in months to come, both City officials and residents weigh options for handling transportation moving forward.
While several City of Chicago agencies declined to comment, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications provided a statement explaining the “public safety drills” conducted in the aftermath.
“These drills are strictly part of ongoing precautionary efforts and are not in response to any planned event but has been in the works for the last several weeks and will focus on the safety and well-being of residents, workers, businesses, and peaceful gatherings within heavily trafficked pedestrian areas. The City will continue to conduct similar public safety drills along Chicago’s neighborhood corridors and communities over the coming weeks and months,” the statement read.
Schultz said Active Transportation Alliance’s work to document those who were affected will go on, especially as shutdowns continue. He believes it’s the “bare minimum” to institute an alternate plan so those doing essential activities can use transportation.
“This is an administration that has built its calling card on seeking equitability in Chicago,” Schultz said. “It would seem to me that if this is something they are considering, they need to have an alternative plan in place, so people are not stranded.”
Lowe, on the other hand, said she does not believe these shutdowns are the best response based on the unjust effect they can have on the diverse residents who make up the city’s fabric.
“I’m hesitant to talk about how to do the shutdown better because the shutdown simply shouldn’t have happened,” Lowe said. “That was not an appropriate response, and it was a response that most burdened black and brown essential workers. And not only were the burdens inequitable, the lack of information and suddenness exacerbated it.”
Learn more about Active Transportation Alliance at https://activetrans.org/. For more on Kate Lowe and her work, visit https://cuppa.uic.edu/profiles/lowe-kate/. Visit www.southloopneighbors.org/ for more on South Loop Neighbors.
The St. John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 22.
The center, located at 700 S. Morgan St., attends to the spiritual needs of UIC students and others, hosts weddings, and provides assistance with vocations to religious life.
“We have many reasons to celebrate our history, and to look forward to the graces God has in store for Newman,” said the Rev. Connor Danstrom, director. Turning 40 is a mixed blessing, though. While our mission here is young, some of our infrastructure is getting old.”
The center needs a new roof, boiler, and air conditioning unit, and Fr. Danstrom and staff hope to raise $40,000. To make a contribution, go to www.givecentral.org/location/464/event/12008.
For information, call (312) 226-1880.
By Bonnie Jean Adams
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) notified Roosevelt University and Robert Morris University Illinois, both located in the South Loop, that it had approved their joint application to make Robert Morris part of Roosevelt. The HLC accredits colleges and universities in the central United States, including Illinois.
The integrated university will continue under the name Roosevelt University. Ali Malekzadeh, PhD, will remain president of Roosevelt University while Mablene Kreuger, MBA, current president of Robert Morris University, will become chief operating officer of Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus. The merger means Robert Morris will operate under Roosevelt’s name as Robert Morris Experiential College of Roosevelt University and oversee many of Robert Morris’s current programs.
Roosevelt University, the larger of the two institutions, counts an enrollment of about 4,100 students compared to Robert Morris University’s 1,800. Roosevelt’s offerings include a liberal arts and sciences core and a set of online programs. It also runs a broader set of graduate programs than does Robert Morris, which focuses on career and brings two-year programs to the merger.
Robert Morris’s bachelor of science in nursing and associate degrees in allied health will complement Roosevelt’s baccalaureate programs in biology, biochemistry, allied health, and health science administration, and Robert Morris’s master of information systems program will fold into Roosevelt’s computer science program. Robert Morris’s associate degree in culinary arts complements Roosevelt’s baccalaureate in hospitality management.
The Roosevelt-Robert Morris merger represents a first step in addressing lower enrollment. Both universities have seen enrollment declines, which means shrinking tuition revenue; many private colleges and universities depend on tuition and therefore face difficulties when their student populations wane. Both Roosevelt and Robert Morris have lost students and shown signs of financial stress in recent years, with Robert Morris under financial pressure for much of the last decade. Roosevelt leaders expect a balanced budget in the coming year. Malekzadeh said projections show the budget balancing after acquiring Robert Morris.
Integration, not assimilation
Malekzadeh described the merger as “an integration of the two schools’ cultures, not an assimilation.” Both Malekzadeh and Krueger said it combines the best of both schools. When asked what contributed to the merger’s success so far, Malekzadeh said, “magic,” and both Malekzadeh and Krueger believe the merger will conclude as a seamless transition for students, faculty, and staff.
The institutions set up 35 task forces composed of administrators, faculty, staff, and students to ensure all voices are heard.
“We are just at the beginning phase of seeing what the future looks like,” Malekzadeh said. “I was reading in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the challenges across the nation; about how 60% of universities and colleges did not meet their enrollment goals this past fall. The challenge we’re pushing against is this nonsense about, ‘Is college worth it?’ It is a substantial investment. Right now, our students, in one semester, are paying more for their books than some people used to pay for a whole semester of college tuition. They’re taking on more debt, more challenges. So we need to be there with all kinds of academic programs to make it easier for them and show the path, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
While leaders aim to combine the two universities to create a single institution to better serve student demand for different types of education and programs, the reality requires identifying what employers and students need, Krueger said.
“Students still are looking for a degree that is useful to making money to provide for their family and, especially for first generation students, that link to career has to be there because many of them have obligations while they’re freshmen in college or even in high school,” Krueger explained. “So helping them see how they can build on and stack those credentials continues to be important. They want to know what degree leads to what career and ‘How am I going to pay for it?’ and ‘Is that a return on my investment?’ Outcomes have to show students the need to put education to work right away.”
Krueger added, “We have a number of advisory boards, and Roosevelt does as well, and we’ll be building some new ones, to be sure that employers in very specific geographical areas and industries are willing to work with our students to provide internships. We need to help students see that they have many more options. We have to continue to find out what employers need, and that’s what programs we will build.”
As the first in her family to attend college, Krueger is especially passionate about first-generation students’ strengths and challenges. Malekzadeh’s belief that access to higher education is every American’s right and one of the pathways to living the American dream has resulted in expanded services for veterans and students with disabilities and new programs for multicultural students.
“The future of us begins with them,” Malekzadeh said. “The commitment is there. The goal is to expand opportunity.”
For more information, call (312) 341-3500 or log on to roosevelt.edu or robertmorris.edu. Roosevelt is located 430 S. Michigan Ave., and Robert Morris is located at 401 S. State St.
The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans will hold an outdoor Proud and Positive rally on Monday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. at the former site of the statue of Christopher Columbus at Arrigo Park, 801 S. Loomis St. The date of the event will fall on the Columbus Day Federal holiday.
“We will celebrate our Italian culture and recognize the contributions Italian Americans have made to the development of this city and this country,” said Ron Onesti, JCCIA vice president and coordinator of the event.
For more information, call (708) 450-9050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.