Policy Positions

Health Care – “Medicare for All”

 

I have long publicly advocated for universal health care in this country. We still have 30 million people uninsured. That should be unacceptable in the wealthiest country in the world.  Our entire health system is fatally warped by profit-taking by hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. I support a single payer health care system based on Medicare.

 

"Medicare for All" plan would cost the federal government an additional $32.6 trillion over 10 years more BUT the total amount spent on health care in the US by the federal government, states, businesses, and individuals — would come in below current projections.  The total cost of health care would go down, and more than 30 million uninsured Americans would get access to healthcare. Individuals and businesses would pay far less under a “Medicare for all” plan. This would ensure that Americans would realize their right to health care. I support the legislation already introduced -HR676 and S1809- as effective ways to begin to move us to a single payer system based on Medicare.

Transportation and Community Development that includes Affordable Housing

 

I believe that building stable, vibrant neighborhoods is critical.  It is more than just building in the Central Business District. We must invest in our neighborhoods so there is good and affordable housing, good transportation to jobs, shopping, healthcare and recreation which will keep people in the neighborhoods.  We spend billions on transportation projects but we do not use that for community development.

 

I pledge to develop funding and investments in communities in a way that lifts everyone.  We must connect education and training issues and funding with creating good-paying jobs and jobs in growth industries, especially in green industries that will enable people to provide for the families. We must connect a strong and robust infrastructure bill that can rebuild infrastructure across the country and thus rebuild communities, provide training/jobs for community residents and connect community residents to good-paying jobs.

 

However, it is not enough to support investment broadly.  For Chicago, that means a greater investment in transit and transportation focused on neighborhood investment and impacts as well as on regional transportation efforts (freight, roads, bridges, ports, airports etc)  that keep the region’s competitive advantage because of our highways, port, railways and our international airports. Recent reports have shown the incredible financial and social costs of segregation. Attacking that on many levels is a priority. One step is to focus on vacant land and development around rail stations.

 

The challenge is to initially focus this on an achievable proposal that moves the larger idea. One way to start is to have the federal government and CTA to fund planning for all Blue, Orange and Pink line stations outside of the Central Business district and West Loop areas which should also include looking at both affordable housing and commercial development as part of the planning effort.  This would involve working with and empowering community organizations and others to create proposals that would lay out how investment can lead to more neighborhood development.

Immigration

 

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives shamelessly passed a bill praising Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This is the very same federal agency that has been setting-up sting operations to capture, separate and deport non-violent immigrants across the country. ICE is the tip of the spear for the Trump administration’s efforts to use terror to intimidate immigrants into leaving the U.S and punish immigrants who are legal residents. The agency was originally created to seek out and deport immigrants with criminal records and those that may cause harm to the U.S., but has now perverted their mission into one that targets hard-working, non-violent families.  Instead of a “pat on the back”, ICE needs to be totally overhauled and given a new set of priorities.

 

In many U.S. communities of color, ICE actions have served to intimidate Latinos with a legitimate right to federal assistance and have resulted in a 22% REDUCTION in ACA signups among legal, eligible Latinos and reduced access to food stamps by 10%. This creates unnecessary pain and suffering for children. The Trump administration, with the support and encouragement of House Republicans, fully backs a policy of sowing fear and turning citizens and residents in low-income and immigrant communities into second-class people.  That should be unacceptable anywhere, but especially in the wealthiest country on the planet.

 

There are better ways to manage our borders.  We want freer movement of people, goods, and ideas which is essential to growing this country.  Instead of congratulating ICE, Congress should be reigning them in and strictly defining their role as an agency that prioritizes enforcement against violent and felonious criminals and not tearing families apart. We have to create a better system that respects our communities, effectively deals with customs issues and humanely promotes immigration in line with our history and values. When I am in Congress, I will press the ICE issue so that ICE will either be a constructive part of humane immigration mission or we will move on from ICE.

 

It is also a priority, as part of any proposal, that we must address DACA and the plight of DACA families, as well as the larger issue of providing a path to citizenship for the 10 million-plus undocumented people in this Country.