Economy

The Covid-19 pandemic created unprecedented economic challenges for working families. Small businesses and large corporations alike have struggled to get back up and running; supply chain issues have hampered a speedy recovery; and rising gas and grocery prices have created substantial hardship in our community. While the Paycheck Protection Program, American Rescue Plan, and other Covid-19 relief legislation helped save us from falling into a depression, so much work remains to be done to move our economy, and our country, forward.


As your representative in Congress, I will do all I can to get our economy back to full strength and put the Covid-19 pandemic behind us for good, putting Americans, and American businesses, back to work.


As cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, and Web3 continue to develop we need a new regulatory framework that protects consumers but also ensures that the United States remains the world headquarters for these technologies instead of sending these promising technologies abroad because of bad regulation.

Public Safety

Families have a right to feel safe and secure in their own neighborhood, but crime is completely out of control. Enough is enough.


The shameful murder of George Floyd in 2020 brought about a much-needed reckoning over policing in this country – and the ongoing injustice and tragedy of police abuse and violence perpetrated, in particular, on our Black and brown communities. The public outrage that followed has led to some real progress – here in Illinois and across the country – with new legislation banning chokeholds, requiring officer intervention in instances of excessive use of force, and improving tracking and reporting for such incidents, to name a few. But far more criminal justice reform work remains ahead.


At the same time, in 2021, both Cook County and Chicago suffered from a wave of homicides not seen in a quarter century, as crime rates in communities big and small climbed to historic highs. That is simply unacceptable, and we must do more immediately to make our communities and our cities safer. We cannot allow politicians on either side of the aisle to paint violent crime as a partisan issue; it is an issue we all should care about addressing.


As a Marine, I fought to defend our country. In Congress, I will fight to protect our community by demanding federal funds to hire more police officers and add more FBI and ATF agents to help get illegal guns off our streets. I will also push for stricter sentences for gun crimes and strategies to bring investment and job opportunities to disadvantaged communities. Nothing is more important than keeping our families safe.


The fact is, we need smarter policing, not less policing, and that means more funding for programs that we know work and that not only improve community-police relations but also reduce crime, particularly violent crime. We cannot ask police departments to improve the way they police our communities and get better outcomes for everyone by stripping away their funding.


We need more investments in officer training and officer safety, including de-escalation and domestic violence training. And we should provide more funding, including grants, for both officer recruitment and officer retention. We also should increase community-oriented policing grants; and we need to expand investments that get at the root causes of crime, including poverty, mental health, and addiction treatment. We simply cannot continue to ignore these underlying factors and expect lasting results.


As your representative in Congress, I will be a voice for real criminal justice reforms while also supporting smart, targeted investments in police and public safety in order to reduce violent crime rates, drug trafficking, and illegal guns in our communities in order to keep all of us safe.

Pro-Choice

Not since the passage of Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago has the right to choose been at greater risk in America. Lawmakers in states across the country – and Republicans in Congress – are intent on rolling back the clock on women’s reproductive health care. We can’t let that happen.


With the U.S. Supreme Court signaling an openness to overturning the constitutional right to an abortion – or, at a minimum, chipping away at those protections – it is past time for Congress to act now to codify the right to choose with the passage of strong pro-choice legislation. We also need to pass federal legislation that preempts the extreme anti-abortion laws being enacted in states such as Texas and Mississippi – laws that are so restrictive that they essentially ban abortion outright. The Women’s Health Protection Act, which narrowly passed the House last year but continues to face Republican opposition, would do just that. Finally, Congress must do more to support access to reproductive health care, including by ensuring that it is included in all health care coverage; and by providing more support and funding for essential services like Planned Parenthood.


As your representative in Congress, I will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose and prevent Republicans’ attacks on women’s health care and their efforts to enact extreme anti-choice legislation.

Healthcare

In a nation as rich as the United States, Americans should not have to worry about whether or not they can afford essential health care services, period. But despite significant gains made under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion – which helped tens of millions of Americans get health insurance coverage for the first time – too many Americans still aren’t covered, and too many of those who are still can’t afford the coverage they have.


I support creating a public health insurance option for all Americans, so that everyone has the ability to buy affordable health insurance who wants it. By doing so, we can achieve universal health care coverage while actually providing more, not fewer, options to families across the country; and bringing down costs through greater competition in the insurance marketplace. I also support legislation such as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would reduce prescription drug costs for millions of Americans by allowing the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices under Medicare, just as we already do under the VA.  The savings we get from negotiating these prices can be used to establish and expand vision and dental care under Medicaid. And we should further invest in FQHCs, which provide excellent health coverage to millions of Americans while also saving states and taxpayers.


As your representative in Congress, I will ensure we do all we can to lower costs and guarantee all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care.

Pandemic Preparedness

From the economy to health care and student learning, the Covid-19 pandemic has had disastrous consequences for us all over the last two years – and we have tragically lost nearly one million Americans to the virus. But while Covid-19 remains with us today, we cannot sit on our hands and wait for the next pandemic to strike.


Americans of all stripes – from our nurses and teachers to our grocery store workers and truck drivers – have acted heroically over the last two years to get our nation back on its feet, but our government’s failures and lack of sufficient preparation resulted in too many lives lost. Without significant action, our next response will be plagued by many of the same failures and deficiencies. We can, and must, do better.


We need to make significant investments in pandemic preparedness and response initiatives, from addressing supply chain and data systems issues to reviewing biosafety and biosecurity risks. We also need to invest more in pandemic and virus research in order to not just prepare for, but prevent, future outbreaks, while also ensuring robust safety protocols and oversight mechanisms for virus research, which comes with its own specific risks that require extreme caution and care.


We also must put safety first when it comes to all dangerous pathogen research, especially dual use research, and ensure that this area of research is properly regulated so that we do not potentially do more harm than good.


As your representative in Congress, I will make not just recovering from this pandemic, but preparing for – and preventing – the next one a top priority.

Delivering for Working Families

I know how tough it can be to raise a family while working – after my father died when I was just eight years old, my mother worked to pay the bills and keep a roof over our head. It wasn’t always easy, but she managed, with help from Social Security benefits. I also know how pivotal the Earned Income Tax Credit and other safety net programs can be for working families, particularly for single mothers working one or even two jobs to provide for their children. These types of investments are essential for families, and they also pay off in stimulating the economy and increasing spending at the same time.


Today, these challenges have only gotten tougher. We need to push an aggressive working families agenda in Congress today, including:

  • Extending the enhanced child tax credit under the American Rescue Plan, which helped so many families get through the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Passing Paid Family and Medical Leave at the federal level for at least four weeks

  • Investing in major child care expansion and subsidies and high-quality prekindergarten programs

  • Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, to eliminate pay disparities between men and women in the workplace 

  • Building on the success of the enhanced child tax credit by moving toward a federal Universal Basic Income (UBI) program to address wealth inequality and reduce poverty


As your representative in Congress, I will put working families first and push for legislation – from tax credits to paid leave to job protections and more – that will make a real difference for families across the country and right here in Illinois.

Affordable Housing

Despite efforts at the local and state level, Cook County, Chicago, and the state of Illinois continue to face major hurdles when it comes to meeting the demand for affordable housing and providing housing stability and assistance to low- and middle-income families.


Cook County has a housing affordability gap of over 100,000 units, as does Chicago. Estimates show that the nation as a whole is millions of homes short of where we need to be. The housing affordability crisis has existed for years, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made it even more urgent to address, as more and more families have been driven into homelessness. Even for those who can pay the rent or a mortgage, the high cost creates a drag on our economy, and hits Black and brown families the hardest.


A problem of this scale demands a bold solution, not a band aid. Congress needs to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in affordable housing solutions, today. Legislation must include a significant expansion of rental assistance programs, so more families can get off waiting lists and into affordable housing. It also should include big new investments in the federal Housing Trust Fund (HTF), which provides grants to state governments; and a once-in-a-generation investment in the Public Housing Capital Fund to rebuild, repair, and preserve public housing for low-income families. We also need to do more to find creative solutions to incentivize the creation of all kinds of housing and reducing the cost of new construction, which will bring down the cost of housing at all income levels.


As your representative in Congress, I will work to make major investments in affordable housing and provide real relief for low- and middle-income renters and homeowners alike.

Education

When I was 17 years old and a high school senior, the thought of going to college never even entered my mind. College was too expensive—and it has only gotten more and more expensive, year after year, since then. My family lived on a fixed income, and the cost of higher education was simply too high, as it is for so many families and young people today. But we can’t afford to let high tuition costs be a barrier to entry – and to a middle-class life – for so many Americans.


The fact is, a one-size-fits-all approach to higher education simply does not work; but by thinking creatively and making smart investments in successful programs, we can create pathways to careers for all of our young people.


Right here in Chicago’s 36th Ward, we have made great strides in building new dual credit, STEM, and job training programs in areas including solar arrays and wind turbines, carpentry, auto mechanics, and more. The programs in particular have helped minorities and women get a chance to develop skills early on and enter the workforce already on a path to a good-paying job and career. We can train a new generation of skilled workers while at the same time investing in infrastructure and clean energy and creating economic growth and prosperity.


As your representative in Congress, I will work to provide our young people with the chance to get ahead in life – whether that means more affordable tuition at colleges and universities or STEM programs in high schools and CTE centers or building trades apprenticeships with local unions. We have to do much more to create opportunities for continuing education, skills and job training, community college courses, and more.

Supporting Veterans

After my father, a Vietnam veteran, died when I was just eight years old, we lived on a fixed income, with my mother struggling just to pay for the essentials, like housing, health care, and food. But joining the U.S. Marines at age 17 gave me not only a sense of purpose, but a pathway to a career and a middle-class life.


That’s why I support doing more to support members of the military and veterans, including by passing legislation to enhance health care services and disability benefits for many Iraq and Afghanistan vets who were exposed to toxic substances during their service; and passing legislation to allow dependents of service members with TRICARE to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26, just as we do for those purchasing their care through the Affordable Care Act. It is an injustice that we have established a benefit for civilians but not created the same benefit for those who are putting their lives on the line for their country.


As your representative in Congress, I will fight every single day to ensure that our veterans are paid the respect they are due – and that they get the services, benefits, and supports they deserve and that they fought to protect for all Americans.

Unions

As the only former union member running for Congress in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District, I know firsthand the essential role our unions play in providing workers with the dignity of a good-paying job and a stable career. When I drove a bakery truck for nearly a decade, I was proud to be a Teamster and serve as a shop steward to make sure my fellow workers understood their rights and benefits.


In Congress, I’ll support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, which would empower the millions of Americans who would like to join a union but are unable to do so and would protect unions’ collective bargaining efforts from interference and outside influence from anti-union efforts. And I’ll support the America COMPETES Act, which would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for scientific research and manufacturing domestically, while also making significant investments in supply chain resilience and other key issues. These pieces of legislation together would boost our economy while creating countless good-paying union jobs and ensuring that the United States stays ahead of China and other nations when it comes to technology and high-tech manufacturing.


As your representative in Congress, I will be a staunch supporter of collective bargaining rights and labor unions across the state and across the country, and of making major investments in domestic manufacturing of all kinds.

Environment

No community is immune from the risks of climate change, and Chicago is certainly no exception. Already, we have seen the impact, with wild swings in water levels brought about by droughts and torrential rains causing sewage problems and flooding. And whether it’s lead pipes, industrial waste and pollution, or a warming world, it is too often our Black and brown communities that are hit the hardest.


While Republicans continue to deny the science of climate change, Democrats must step up and take immediate action. Chicago, and Illinois, can be a leader. In 2019, we became the largest city in America to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2035; we also committed to the complete electrification of the Chicago Transit Authority’s fleet by 2040. But we need action in Congress, and we need it now.


We need to make significant new investments in building out electric vehicle charging stations nationally; and improving the electrical grid to utilize renewable energy sources more efficiently; and we should create new tax incentives for renewable energy producers in solar and wind. These measures will help us reach aggressive goals to cut emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050 as a nation, all while creating good-paying clean energy jobs.


As your representative in Congress, I will work to address climate change so that our children, and our children’s children, have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a safe environment to live in and share with generations to come.

Seniors

In the richest country on earth, it is an outrage that so many seniors, living on fixed incomes, are often stuck choosing between paying exorbitant prices for prescription drugs or spending their limited resources on essentials such as clothing, food, and housing. And I’ve seen these issues firsthand, from my family depending on Social Security benefits when I was a child to my grandmother, who recently passed away, relying on a fixed income and Medicaid and Medicare to cover her health costs and assisted living services in her later years.


With these issues only getting worse with rising prescription drug and medical costs, we simply cannot wait any longer to act. Congress should pass legislation immediately to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices – just as the VA already does. This alone would save seniors tens of billions of dollars in drug costs over the coming years. We should use that savings to establish hearing and dental coverage under Medicare.  I will also oppose efforts by Republicans to privatize Social Security or to turn Medicare into a voucher program – changes that would put seniors’ savings and financial security at risk.


As your representative in Congress, I will ensure that seniors’ hard-earned benefits are protected from attempts to undermine them, so that we all have economic security as we grow older.

Immigration

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump demonized undocumented immigrants as “murderers” and “rapists.” As president, he sought to ban Muslims from entering the country and implemented the inhumane family separation policy on the southern border. The bigotry and hatred he showed, in both his words and his administration’s actions, don’t represent American values, but they do show just how broken our immigration system remains to this day because of partisan inaction in Washington.


We need to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for documented Dreamers – the millions of young people who have lived in this country legally for years as children but still might never qualify for citizenship. For too long, these Americans have been forced to live with the day-to-day uncertainty over their future—all while continuing to pay taxes and work essential jobs on the frontlines of a global pandemic.


We also must take action to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase health insurance for themselves and their families on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. Immigration status should not preclude anyone, anywhere, from providing for their family and their loved ones.


As your representative in Congress, I will fight for passage, finally, of comprehensive immigration reform, so that millions of undocumented immigrants in this country can come out from the shadows and continue to contribute to our state and our nation.

LGBTQ+

The United States has come a long way since the Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage, but more work remains to be done to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals and families can live their lives free from discrimination in all facets of life.


The Supreme Court’s ruling, in 2020, in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia was another definitive step in the right direction, prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals in matters of employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the ruling was a major victory for LGBTQ+ advocates, further protections are still needed – in areas including housing, education, and more. That is why we still need to pass the Equality Act, to broaden those protections and build on the gains we have made in the last decade.


As your representative in Congress, I will be a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, and not only work to protect those rights, but work to expand and strengthen them as well.