This campaign is first and foremost about you and your family. It’s about making our country and our communities better places to live, work and thrive for all of us.
My daughter and I are living examples of the importance of quality, affordable healthcare. Like millions of other American women, I am a breast cancer survivor. During my treatment two years ago, and while my daughter was struggling with a pre-existing condition, I was informed that our family would be dropped by our insurance company. Since then, we have had healthcare coverage from three different companies due to the changing market. I understand firsthand the fear of not getting coverage due to a pre-existing condition. The recent healthcare bills presented in Congress by Republican legislators would make it difficult, if not impossible, for my family to find insurance coverage.
I believe that anyone with a medical condition should always be able to get treatment. My family’s insurance provided us with access to the doctors and treatments that my daughter and I needed, and I believe that everyone should have the same access to the best healthcare possible.
The House bill that Peter Roskam voted for raises costs, cuts coverage and weakens vital protections for those with pre-existing conditions including cancer, heart disease, stroke, epilepsy and certain mental health disorders. It also allows insurers to charge people over the age of 50 five times more for premiums than others, creating what the AARP calls an “age tax.” It calls for cuts in Medicaid which will cause an estimated 650,000 working Illinoisans to lose health care coverage altogether. Many groups, from the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Catholic Health Association, say it would cost everyone more by hiking up co-pays and premiums and also cause tens of millions of Americans to lose access to life-saving care.
Peter Roskam called the ACHA “a good bill” but refuses to hold open town hall meetings, look 6th District voters in the eye and explain why he voted to make them pay more but get less care.
The bottom line is that all Republican proposals will cause you and your families to pay more money to get less insurance coverage for health care.
I believe that a public option for all people to buy into Medicare, existing alongside private insurance plans, is the fastest way to give Americans more affordable choices when it comes to their healthcare coverage. People would have the ability to buy into Medicare if they want, but would also be free to choose private insurance.
A study by the Congressional Budget Office found that a public insurance option would save taxpayers $158 billion over 10 years and extend coverage to the millions of Americans who remain uninsured. I will work with anyone who shares the ultimate goal of lowering costs and increasing coverage.
We must also reduce the high costs associated with health care in our country. The same procedures and medicines that we use here cost much less in other countries. In order to lower prices, I would work to end price gouging by hospitals, allow Medicare Part D to negotiate lower drug prices just like the Veterans Administration does now, crack down on drug companies that spike prices for life-saving medications like EpiPens and inject competition into the health care system to get our health care spending under control.
I’m fully committed to protecting and enhancing Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations to ensure our seniors are protected.
With education costs rising, it’s getting harder and harder for families to send their kids to college, putting the American Dream at risk for many. Thanks to my parents’ sacrifice and the values they taught me, I was the first in my family to attend college, earning a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. And because loans were affordable when I attended college, I was able to pay mine back.
For too many families today, it is simply not possible to save enough money to cover the spiraling cost of higher education, resulting in many students getting loans that turn into overwhelming debt after they graduate.
I support making continuing education affordable and reforming the student loan system. Students should be able to obtain or refinance loans with low, competitive interest rates and use income based repayment plans for payback. By 2020, it is estimated that 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree and another 30 percent will require certifications or an associate degree. That’s why I support making it easier to transfer credits from community colleges to four-year universities, allowing a more affordable path for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. I advocate increasing the number and dollar amounts of Pell Grants available to lower-income students. Enabling the most motivated in our society to attend college without the fear of crippling debt should be the foundation of our government’s investment in the future of our workforce.
For those who choose to not pursue a four-year degree, we must provide training for the actual jobs available today and in the future. Blue-collar jobs are essential to our community and should provide workers with a good standard of living. I will work to foster university-industry partnerships to ensure America’s companies have access to the best trained workforce. It is vital that in addition to raising the next generation of scientists and mathematicians, we must present young people with the opportunity to learn skills in craft and trades that are still needed for today’s workforce. I also fully support retraining programs to ensure Americans whose jobs are at risk due to automation have the opportunity to go back to school to learn new skills.
Defending Public Schools
I will stand up to Betsy Devos and Bruce Rauner and their plans to divert federal and state school funding away from DuPage, Kane, Cook, McHenry and Lake County public schools, giving vouchers and tax breaks to those who send their kids to private academies and for-profit charter schools. It’s just another back door giveaway to the privileged that guts funding for public schools and forces higher property taxes on everyone else.
I have been a fierce advocate for the environment all of my life. As Energy and Environment Outreach Coordinator for the national Obama campaign, I organized volunteers around the country to deliver the campaign’s message on environmental protection and clean energy investment and how the latter can create economic growth. I was also elected to the Illinois Environment Council in 2014, where I have been able to lend my voice to important environmental issues.
The Earth’s climate is changing – that is a fact. How we deal with it and what kind of environment we leave to our children is up to us. The United States should be adhering to the Paris Climate Accord. We can’t let the Trump Administration roll back protections that only benefit billionaires and large corporations at the expense of everyone else.
Innovation has always been the American way and we should focus on developing new energy technology that is better for the environment and spurs economic growth. We can combat climate change and create millions of jobs by turning America into a clean energy superpower that leads the world in developing solar, wind and fuel cell technology while expanding energy efficiency. Efficiency is key because the most plentiful and cleanest energy is the energy we don’t waste. Installing energy efficiency technology creates thousands of high-paying union jobs, the kind we need here in the western suburbs.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the US economy. We must support policies that enhance the growth of small businesses, whether through tax breaks or incentives, ensuring that they can continue to hire new workers. My husband is a small business owner so we understand the challenges faced by millions of Americans who want to both grow their business and provide good paying jobs to members of their community. We have seen the positive effects of encouraging entrepreneurship right here in Chicago. Organizations like 1871, Chicago’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, have helped hundreds of startups launch and grow into successful companies. We need to encourage this sort of leadership and partnership with businesses and learning institutions.
American infrastructure is also facing a major crisis. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated our nationwide infrastructure a D+, underscoring how critical it is that the government take action to rebuild our crumbling roadways, railways, seaports, and airports. I will support bipartisan efforts to invest in rebuilding and expanding our infrastructure nationwide, which will both create high-paying construction jobs in the short-term and spur investment and economic growth in the long-term.
Creating Good Jobs
Millions of Americans still feel insecure about their economic situation. The basis of the American Dream is that if you work hard, you can get ahead. Three of my grandparents worked in factories, earning a solid middle-class wage. I will work to ensure that these kind of well-paying jobs are available in the Illinois 6th Congressional District and nationwide to ensure that Americans have opportunities for themselves and their families.
Wages have stagnated while major corporations earn record profits and the stock market hits all-time highs. I support a minimum wage increase to $15. Every hard-working Illinoisan working a 40-hour week deserves a living wage and should be able to support themselves while saving for the future. It is estimated that in the next decade, the US will need to fill 3.5 million skilled manufacturing jobs which is why I support job training initiatives, including tax incentives for employers, so businesses can help students pursue careers in high-tech manufacturing.
The combination of property, sales, state, and federal taxes make Illinois one of the highest taxed states in the country. We need to cut waste, eliminate unneeded regulations and reform the tax code to reduce the burden on the middle class. I will work to eliminate tax breaks for special interests, like the carried interest loophole, and ban tax breaks for companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas.
I am proudly Pro-Choice and stand with Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide numerous healthcare services to women nationwide. I also support fair pay maternity leave and equal pay policies at the federal level.
Women must have the freedom to make decisions about their own health without fear of government encroachment. The Affordable Care Act expanded access to health services critical for women, including: maternity care, annual well-woman exams, birth control, screening and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases and domestic partner violence. I am deeply troubled by Republican attempts to repeal these services and will fight to ensure they are provided for in any healthcare reform bill presented by Congress.
Planned Parenthood is often the only source of healthcare for many women nationwide. The efforts by Peter Roskam and President Trump to defund the organization threatens the availability of pregnancy services, STD testing, health education and numerous other programs for thousands of women. I am and will continue to be a staunch defender of Planned Parenthood.
Other developed nations have fair pay maternity and paternity leave policies that enable women to spend time with their newborn children. I believe mothers and fathers should have the right to paid family leave so they can spend time with their families when they are needed most.