Politics is complicated, but that means we must have a strong moral foundation that centers us and keeps us honest when difficult questions arise. For me, that ethical cornerstone is the Consistent Life Ethic. This means promoting policies that will protect the life and dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death, and opposing attempts to dehumanize the most vulnerable among us, whether they are unborn, sick, disabled, elderly, or undocumented. It means opposing violence against humans in all its forms, and seeking justice for women, people of color, and queer people. And it means always putting working families first.
LIST OF ISSUES
The way public schools are funded in Illinois is fundamentally unfair, unequal, and leaves our rural schools behind. Unlike most states around us, we depend too much on property taxes, placing a high burden on local taxpayers. We have to invest more in our schools from, from the state level.
We also must properly value our teachers and school support staff, who are underpaid for the tremendous services that they do for our communities. My teachers were my most important mentors growing up, and now I work in the public elementary school that I was raised in. Teachers, and paraprofessionals, deserve a raise.
Western Illinois is also home to several important institutions of higher education, including private universities, community colleges, and a public university, WIU. We MUST defend our public institutions, especially WIU. We must not just fully restore the funding it lost during Rauner's years, but ensure that its funding increases and the university is able to drive growth in our region for years to come.
Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege for those who can pay. Illinois should lead the country in providing universal healthcare to all of its residents. This is a matter of economic common sense as well as human dignity.
This must include access to mental healthcare. In our communities, farmers have among the highest rates of suicide of any group. Our young people, including my close friends and family, struggle with accessing mental health care that is out of reach financially and physically. We must do better.
Protecting our right to healthcare also means protecting our rural hospitals and VA homes from predatory downsizing and privatization. We cannot afford that the only healthcare providers for miles around be for-profit or thinly veiled "non-profits".
Fair Tax - A Tax Cut for Workers
My campaign won't just be to get me elected, but also to mobilize voters to approve the Fair Tax referendum that will be on the ballot in 2020.
Passing the Fair Tax is necessary for multiple reasons. First, it will provide a much needed tax cut to 97% of all taxpayers in Illinois, which currently has one of the most unfair tax systems in the county. Second, it will make the super wealthy, millionaires and billionaires, pay the fair share that they have been avoiding for decades. Third, it will finally pull the state out of the budget crisis that has wreaked havoc on our workers, businesses, and communities for the past 4 years.
Almost all of our neighbors in the Midwest, including Republican states like Missouri and Iowa, already have some version of the Fair Tax. The Fair Tax is possible, and it is necessary for Illinois working families.
After winning the Fair Tax, we should work toward further reducing regressive taxes, like sales and gas taxes, that put a greater burden on working people than the very rich. 2/3 of corporations in Illinois still pay no taxes. We have to demand that those who have most benefited from our unfair system start paying back, so the rest of us can grow too.
Jobs, Unions, & Workers' Rights
Companies are reaping higher profits than ever, but the jobs that are being created in Western Illinois are, for the most part, not jobs that working people can raise a family on. We are working multiple l0w-wage jobs with crazy hours just to make ends meet. I strongly support raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, and I think that 5 years is too long for our working families to wait.
We shouldn't have to wait for the private sector to get its act together to get good jobs either. Universal employment and public jobs programs were once considered reasonable policies for both Democrats and Republicans. Hiring people at a living wage is the best stimulus an economy can receive. Illinois should step up and provide universal employment through public jobs.
Unions built a strong working class, and we must strengthen and expand unions if we are going to create good paying jobs in our communities. We must reject, once and for all, "right to work" for less attacks against the unions that represent working people. Working hand-in-hand with unions & workers' cooperatives, we must work to achieve democratic worker control of our economy.
Environment & Green Energy
Climate change is happening, and we must act. Our rural areas are connected to the land, and we are directly affected by the floods, droughts, and otherwise unpredictable weather brought on by global warming. We should begin moving toward agricultural practices that reduce carbon emissions and runoff, and use our prime location to become world leaders in wind production.