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.