CORRUPTION IN POLITICS
Fight for Term Limits
Any political science scholar will say that the number one goal of 99% of elected officials is to get re-elected. This MUST change! The number one goal of every elected official should be to serve and represent his or her constituents. In order for our state and democracy to thrive, we need an influx of innovative candidates and ideas. Many of Illinois’ elected officials have been in office for several decades and have not been representing the needs of the people; rather, these individuals have been enriching themselves and using their immense political power to preserve the status quo and enact the agendas of large corporations and donors. Enacting term limits will help to ensure that no politician gains too much power and will allow for everyday people to be better represented.
Reform Campaign Finance
Campaigns and candidates should be funded by the people; not by large corporations, lobbying groups, and Super PACs that attempt to influence policies in order to benefit their own agendas. Politicians who accept significant contributions from special interest groups are UNABLE to represent us. They are BEHOLDEN to the agendas of their large special interest donors. We cannot afford to continue to allow these compromised politicians to represent us. If elected, I will fight for legislation to ensure the integrity of our elected officials. This would include restricting donations from special interest groups and advocating for publicly funded campaigns.
Restrict Property Tax Increases
Due to corruption and the lack of integrity of our elected officials, our property taxes have gone through the roof. Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the United States. We must demand fair assessments and caps on property tax increases. Furthermore, property tax money needs to be spent much more efficiently.
Institute Progressive State Income Tax Rate System
Illinois currently has a flat state income tax rate of 4.95%. This means that Illinois’ richest households pay the same percentage tax rate on their income as Illinois’ poorest households. Illinoisans need a tax system that DOES NOT put the burden on the working class, but instead forces the rich to pay their fair share. If elected, I will support a plan that goes further than the Fair Tax for Illinois proposal by lowering the state income tax rate more substantially for all households earning $250,000 or less.
HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
Provide Universal Healthcare and Lower Cost of Prescription Medication
Our healthcare system is broken. America is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not offer universal healthcare. Prescription medication and medical care costs are through the roof and continue to rise. Insurance coverage, typically tied to an employer, varies greatly by plan. High deductibles and co-pays leave Americans with exorbitant bills. In addition, millions of Americans are still completely uninsured with no medical or prescription coverage at all. We need a universal healthcare system that works for every American regardless of his or her net worth, employer, or medical history. As your state representative, I will advocate for a universal healthcare system that puts the needs and well-being of all Illinoisans before profit. I will also work to enact legislation to regulate the cost of prescription medication. If we can bail out the banking system and the airline industry with trillions of dollars, we can certainly afford to take care of every American through universal healthcare which is a basic human right.
Combat COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our state and our country. Over one hundred thousand Americans have died and millions have been affected financially. The federal government and many of our elected officials have greatly failed us during this time of need. If elected, I will work tirelessly to do everything in my power to ensure that small businesses have what they need to stay in business and to continue to offer the services and products that are so important to the community. I will also work to provide additional unemployment compensation for individuals who have lost their job or a portion of their income due to the pandemic for as long as reasonably necessary. Furthermore, I will support legislation to provide reduced-premium COBRA healthcare coverage for families and individuals who have lost their job and coverage due to the pandemic. Additionally, I will advocate for legislation to prevent affected families from losing their homes or being evicted during the pandemic and subsequent recovery.
A FAIR ECONOMY
Build an Economy that Works for Everyone
Nearly 80% of American workers say that they are living paycheck to paycheck. The wealthiest 10% of Americans possess significantly more wealth than all of the remaining 90% of Americans. Illinois has a poverty rate of 13.5%. This is completely unacceptable and highlights an enormous failure by our elected officials. Our elected officials have placed the agendas of large corporations and the wealthiest Americans ahead of the needs of the average American. Further contributing to our economic inequality is the COVID-19 pandemic, outsourcing of quality American jobs, rising cost of living, and stagnant wages. As your representative, I will always advocate for legislation to help the average American and will not rest until our economy works for every hard-working Illinoisan. I will fight to increase pay for the lower and middle classes, while requiring the rich and large corporations to pay their fair share in taxes. I will also work to create more job training and educational opportunities, invest in and increase access to funding for local businesses, and incentivize corporations to create quality and high paying jobs in Illinois.
Empower Small Businesses
Small businesses provide the majority of jobs in the United States and are considered the backbone of our country. However, there are many laws and regulations that make starting, growing, and expanding a small business very difficult. This needs to change. As the son of a small business owner, I have firsthand knowledge of the impact many of our laws have on small businesses. We need legislation that empowers small businesses rather than stifling them. As your representative, I will work with small business owners to hear their concerns and fight for legislation that will prioritize their needs.
Create and Promote Job Training Programs
High school graduates and young adults in Illinois are often ill-prepared and lack the necessary skills needed to successfully build a career in today’s workforce. There is not enough focus in schools on learning the technical skills required by modern-day employers. I will work to forge relationships between schools and employers to equip our students with the skills required in today’s workforce. This can be done by offering on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs to any student interested in pursuing a technical career.
Make College Affordable
College tuition in the United States is becoming more and more unaffordable. We have a student debt crisis that is unheard of in other countries. Students and their families should not have to suffer financially for years just to cover the cost of college tuition. Education should be a right for all qualified students, not a privilege or a hardship. As your state representative, I will support and sponsor legislation that puts students first. This includes any bills that decrease public university tuition, mandate a freeze on public university tuition, allow for greater tuition tax deductions and credits, and support loan forgiveness initiatives.
VETERANS, SENIORS, AND WORKERS
Thanking veterans for their service is not enough. We need to take care of our veterans and provide them with the resources necessary to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. This includes job training programs, mental health programs, quality and affordable medical care, support and community groups, and financial and housing assistance. As your state representative, I will meet with veterans to better identify their unique needs and will work tirelessly until all veterans are provided with the resources they need and deserve.
Our senior citizens have earned the right to live comfortably with dignity and respect. It is our responsibility to make sure that we provide senior citizens with the resources necessary to make this happen. As your representative, I will fight to ease the financial burdens associated with retirement by supporting efforts to strengthen social security and Medicare coverage. I will also work to ensure increased access to mental health programs, support legislation that will provide affordable housing, and promote interactive community programs.
Protect Rights of Workers and Unions
Unions play a very important role in ensuring that workers are treated and compensated fairy. I recognize the need for Union empowerment and will work to protect and support unions and their members.
Make Childcare Affordable
America trails behind many first-world developed countries in providing reliable and affordable childcare. The cost of childcare in our country is unaffordable and takes a huge chunk out of hard working parents’ paychecks. A parent should not have to struggle to pay for high quality childcare. Our working families deserve better. If elected, I will support legislation that decreases the cost of childcare, offers tax deductions and credits for childcare costs, and incentivizes employers to offer childcare programs for their employees.
Recent events have shown our nation what many of us have known for a long time, which is that there is an urgent need for systemic reform in policing. Police departments are funded by the taxpayers for the purpose of protecting and serving our communities. It is a privilege to be a police officer and this privilege must not be abused. I will support and fight for legislation to increase police accountability. Greater independent oversight of police departments is necessary so that officers with legitimate complaints of abuse and misconduct are held accountable. For greater transparency, all police officers should be required to have their body camera on at all times while on the job and dealing with the public. Additionally, a large percentage of police officers should be required to live in the communities in which they serve. This will result in improved understanding, communication, and relationships between residents and officers. In order to increase trust between the public and the police, there also must be changes to the way police officers are trained. This could include further training on de-escalation tactics and the use of non-lethal force. I also believe that creating a forum in every community for open and honest dialogue between community members and the police that serve that community is one of the best ways to break down barriers, forge positive relationships, and come together to work towards a common goal of creating a safe community for everyone.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Reform Criminal Justice System
Criminal justice reform is long overdue. The United States incarcerates more individuals than any other country in the world. Despite having only approximately 5% of the world’s population, we have nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. In order to improve the criminal justice system, we must focus more on the rehabilitation aspect of incarceration including mental health and substance abuse counseling, as well as provide additional economic and job training opportunities to inmates while in prison. For a smoother transition back into society, I support a community service program whereby inmates, upon completion of their prison term, are given a paid and monitored temporary community service job until full-time employment can be obtained.
Because individuals living in poverty are much more likely to be incarcerated than the general population, we must invest more in these low-income communities. This will reduce poverty and increase opportunity. By investing in education, community and recreational centers, job training programs, and incentivizing companies to create jobs in low-income communities, we can decrease crime and lower the incarceration rate.
Reduce Gun Violence
While I am a strong supporter of our constitution and the 2nd Amendment, we must do more to prevent senseless gun violence and mass shootings in our country. I will support tougher laws to crack down on illegal gun sales, close loopholes on background checks, require comprehensive training to obtain a gun license, and ban the purchase of assault weapons. However, it is also important that we focus on mental health and changing the culture of violence that has become so prevalent in the United States today. If we do this and institute stronger common-sense gun legislation, we can reduce gun violence.
Combat Climate Change
Climate change is REAL and has already wreaked havoc on our environment. If we do not take significant steps forward to protect our environment during this next decade, the damage to our planet will be irreparable. I will support and strengthen strict state-mandated environmental standards, investment in clean energy technologies, environmental education, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.