On this World AIDS Day, as I do every day, I remember so many friends, loved ones and people around the world that have died after being infected with HIV and succumbing to AIDS. In America, despite having the best … Continue reading I Will Never Forget
Ask most farmers, they’re over President Trump’s Trade and Tariff War.
Ask businesses, both small and large, the growing uncertainty in the Trump economy is making life more difficult.
Ask working families, they’ve not received much if any of the benefits of the Trump-Republican massive tax cuts that have created historic Trillion Dollar Deficits.
It would be difficult for anyone to defend let alone to fight to prolong these failing economic policies for our rural communities. Continue reading Rep. Shimkus is Retiring
There is so much mistaken in “Jesus Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve.” It appears this statement was intentionally crafted to be political, divisive and discriminatory. Continue reading Challenging Extremism at Home
Considering the unfortunate state of our international relations with our longterm allies, the frayed nature of the alliances that have helped prevent a third World War continue to be stretched under the Republican Trump Administration. On one hand, you have the President demanding our NATO allies to step up to the plate with more money and forces. On the other hand you have both the President and Sen. Graham complaining about these same allies discussing setting up such an army while they increase funding to the alliance. It’s not easy to see through the hyperbole and double standards.
Subservience to a party over the people is a road paved in good intentions without checking in on the results.
When our national security is at stake, it’s crucial we get it right. Continue reading Sensitive President, Party Flails in Europe
This campaign was about people and policies for an economy that works for everyone, education that prepares our children for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and a healthcare system that is both affordable and accessible for our residents. Despite … Continue reading A Campaign About People and Policies
The fear of being attacked and killed for who you are and for your faith is something no one should have to experience. It is the experience of many Americans. We can do better. We do that by working together, standing up to hatred and bigotry in all of its forms, and not turning away when those in our own families and communities use divisive and hostile rhetoric that we know is against our American values. Continue reading Solidarity After Anti-Semitic Attack
As your representative, I will fight to end the abdication of the Legislative Branch. We need stronger and more independent oversight of the Executive Branch that challenges and holds the President and his administration accountable, regardless of party. Continue reading The Saudis, Arms and American Values
I would support the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017, which has broad bipartisan support. It’s one of the areas where my opponent and I are in agreement.
Unfortunately for our teachers and spouses, this bill has been sitting in the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security since March of 2017. It is not even listed on the Subcommittee’s website as a bill introduced in the 115th Congress, so the GOP is not serious about solving this problem. Continue reading Social Security Fairness Act
If we don’t create equity in the early education system in the 15th District, many of our communities will never catch up in the modern global economy. We all know that funding education through property taxes is a failing policy for businesses and families alike. Rural school districts suffer while booming communities are able to fund robust education programs. Our children deserve better. Early Education is the foundation on which a child’s future is built. With a renewed American investment in our children, we will better compete in a global economy, halt the brain drain, and bring better paying jobs back to the 15th District. This is what having a broad, generational vision can bring to America. It is long overdue. Continue reading Early Childhood Education
September 11th. A time of loss and mourning for our country.
It was also one of the last times our country came together in solidarity.
Shared pain and suffering has a way of bringing people together. How could we do anything but coalesce as a nation and a world after such an attack? Continue reading 9/11: Loss, Mourning, Solidarity
As many of us have witnessed over the last few days since his passing, he has many loud critics on both sides of the aisle.
That’s what happens when you stand up to your own party and stand up for what you believe in, regardless of the political fallout. Continue reading A Testament to Public Service
The Republicans need this ballot referendum because they have no positive agenda or results on which to run this November. My position on the Second Amendment has remained consistent. I will never support legislation that bans firearms. Continue reading Gaither Speaks Out on Ballot Referendum
Instead of electing career politicians who rely on big dollar donors and offer rubber stamps and excuses, we should be focusing on what will build an economy, rebuild our infrastructure, and deliver education that provides for a better future.
That’s why I decided to run against a 21-year incumbent who I saw as being out of touch with the hardworking people of the 15th District. They deserve someone that will listen to their experiences and concerns and act upon them in Congress.
That’s what I will do as your representative and why I am fighting to earn your support and your vote this November. Continue reading Tired of Falling Behind
I’d say there is plenty of common ground, common sense, and common values on this issue. Separating children from their parents is not just a tragedy, it’s traumatizing. I’m also concerned about our broken immigration systems, as many Americans are. We need to fix our broken immigration system so that people can come here legally, so that those seeking asylum can do so safely, and that we can grow as a nation and provide for hardworking Americans that have spent a lifetime working hard for their own families and communities. Continue reading Separating Families: Broken Immigration
To me, I’m focused like a laser on changing the conversation. Moving beyond this blame game. Finding common ground, using common sense, and utilizing common values to move our district forward. That is why I’m showing up, standing up, and speaking out everywhere I go. Wages have been stagnant for decades, in some industries wages have actually been decreasing. This is why the economic environment is so hostile to both workers and especially to business. Without eliminating the disincentives and punishments for getting back to work, the bridge to self-reliance is non-existent. When you examine downstate politics, the Republicans have one mantra. “Madigan.” That’s all they run on mostly, adding in one or two social issues that divide and separate as opposed to build and boost our local economies. I know that the People are exhausted by that boring, tired playbook. Continue reading People Over Party.
Check your voter registration.
Become engaged in your local, state, and federal government.
Other than that, the people are going to have to elect different representatives that fight to change the 1993 Voter Registration Act to protect your rights to ballot access. Continue reading Voting Rights, SCOTUS and You
Each of us has something to offer our country. What we remember on Memorial Day are the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters. This sacrifice means everything to protecting our freedom, our liberty, and our capacity to be of service … Continue reading Memorial Day: Sacrifice and Service
At some point, all of the people supporting the Second Amendment and all of the people that want to minimize gun violence in America, especially at our schools, must come together. I stand with both. Some people refuse to do so. Those that do not aren’t really in the conversation. Continue reading The Time for Accountability with Firearms is Now
Aren’t we sick of the partisan bickering, the pundit speculating, and the status quo strangling us all?
I know I am. That’s why I’m running for Congress because I’m sick of both parties doing nothing but make our problems worse. Continue reading Gun Sanctuaries and Broken Immigration
Yes, our 21-year incumbent representative in Congress, John Shimkus, did vote for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have allowed the federal government to raid the Social Security trust fund in order to balance the budget.
It’s about time we throw them out and get back to work.
Failure is not an option because our communities are on the line. Continue reading Fiscal Failure Under Shimkus-GOP
The lack of a diplomatic presence in the region is harming our efforts considerably.
Regardless of the results of the missile strikes, without a diplomatic strategy there is no chance for success.
From the hollowing out of the State Department to the continued struggles at the VA, when are the People going to hold Congress accountable? Continue reading Middle East Diplomatic Vacuum
By allowing these regimes to use these weapons without exacting an extremely high cost, we’re sending a message to other hostile regimes that we will look the other way while their innocent civilians are tortured and slaughtered.
When Assad did this during the Obama administration, I thought military action was justified. Congress flinched as did the President. When this happened last year, the Trump administration waited too long, allowing Assad to move his air force units elsewhere, making the strikes less effective. Continue reading Responding to Syrian Chemical Attack
Commitment to Ohio Valley watershed, Economic Development Strategy, Mental Health Treatment Continue reading Waterways, Economy, and Mental Health
I’m all for a reinvigorated American-based steel industry. We need these jobs to come back to America. Not only does that increase inflation risks but it could lead to layoffs in the manufacturing sector. We need to elect representatives that listen to workers, stand up for workers’ rights, and start doing their jobs. The people deserve nothing less than that. Continue reading On Tariffs and Trade
In the last two weeks and wherever I go, the issue of gun violence has been raised. It’s a serious problem in our country.
For a few, some types of firearms are simply more important than children. And, I’m a supporter of all of our rights not special interests. Continue reading Firearms, Rights, Action
My dedication and perseverance is to each and every citizen here, not some committee in Springfield or Chicago. Not some group that came up with a talking point list for politicians to regurgitate on command.
I respond to and for the constituents of my district. That’s what they should expect from their representative, and that’s what they should demand from any candidate seeking their support and their vote in any election.
Continue reading Focused on the 15th District
A number of our schools in Central and Southern Illinois have been receiving threats or rumors of threats in the wake of the Florida school shooting.
I’m tired of the ‘for or against’ culture in America because it doesn’t serve anyone. Continue reading School Threats and the Gun Debate
Here’s a side-by-side comparison between Carl and myself and how we approach the various issues.
What are your questions? Continue reading News-Gazette Candidate Questionnaires
This is about depressed wages, fewer opportunities for Union workers, and lack of fairness for taxpayers.
Just like this mother is fighting for her family’s future, these families are fighting for the future of their children. Continue reading Immigration and Economic Insecurity
There are some that strive to demonize, castigate, and perpetuate subclasses of humanity in order to raise their own stature above others. This behavior is the reason why children, adolescents, and adults are traumatized, roughed up, and killed. This behavior is why Ryan White was cast out of his home when he was suffering from HIV and AIDS. Continue reading ‘Pray the Gay Away’ Still a Threat
We’ve raised nearly $6,000 in just 6 months. That’s not a lot when compared to Rep. Shimkus’ special interest money, but it is more than our opponent in the primary has raised in a year.
We also have more cash on hand as well, because I spend only the money necessary to reach the citizens of this district. I also spend campaign monies at great Illinois union businesses that do amazing work every day.
One thing I will never do is loan our campaign any money. My primary opponent has loaned his campaign over $12,000. That’s nearly triple what he’s raised. We all make choices, but that’s just a bridge too far for me. Continue reading Building a Better Campaign
In Rep. John Shimkus’ recent WJPF interview, he offered the usual GOP talking points demonizing Democrats. What he failed to mention is that the legislation he helped to craft and push through Congress will ultimately end up increasing deficits and … Continue reading Shimkus’ Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Reality
2017 was a year of tremendous change for our country.
So many of us have responded to this change by standing up and doing something about the problems our families, our communities, our state, and our country face.
As the drivers of the change we deserve, we can lift our families and communities up.
We can only do that together. Continue reading A New Year, A New Direction
With the ending of net neutrality, providers can make consumers pay for faster speeds. They can limit what sites we have access to unless we pay more.
It’s actually the same dilemma workers often face when negotiating with the boss, which is why collective bargaining is such a crucial right for workers. Individually, they have little power.
There are reasons why consumers see rises in both their prices and the profits of these companies. We have few mechanisms afforded to us to protect us from the decisions of companies and government. Continue reading Ending Net Neutrality
I’m not one to blame our problems on one person or one party.
I also don’t believe that one solution will solve any of it.
Throughout much of my life, when I see a problem I do something about it.
I don’t complain, I get to work instead. Continue reading What Makes Me Different
Our current over two-decade incumbent Representative John Shimkus is now sitting on the House-Senate conference committee responsible with hammering out the final tax reform bill to be sent to the White House to become the law of the land.
The unfortunate reality for the 50% under the median is that they will be hurt by this tax bill. That’s what happens when you focus on one point along a continuum in order to obscure the massive tax cuts for the top 50% and permanent corporate tax cuts that we all know won’t be used to increase wages but be given to stockholders instead.
Continue reading The Reality of the Shimkus Tax Plan
What we should do is the following:
continue repairing the damage of decades of denial and decay
have representatives show up and hold the VA accountable in hearings
have representatives show up in their districts by listening to veterans and the groups that serve them
increase assistance to hard hit areas like Danville and Vermilion County
open VA sites within community health providers where VAs hospitals don’t exist
make the pipeline bigger for people going into healthcare specialties
increase grants and scholarships for students
increase money to colleges and universities
increase faculty and staff that educate and train these specialties
actually stabilize funding for Medicaid, Medicare, and local healthcare providers instead of starving them of resources. Continue reading Say Never to Privatization of VA
These allegations and realities from the past and present are as disturbing as they are common. We have to do better.
What we can do is to take the politics out of the equation, focus on the facts, and respect one another without ignoring the reality staring us in the face. Continue reading Allegations, Realities, and Standing Up
The costs of rebuilding America are high.
The costs of doing nothing are much higher.
I will fight to rebuild this District on every level and on every day. We can only do this together and by creating jobs, in the present and for the future. Continue reading Infrastructure: All of the Above
Enter the GOP plans to ‘overhaul’ the Medicaid program nationally by imposing work requirements on recipients.
I would call this effort an attempt to disrupt healthcare for millions of working Americans, veterans, the chronically ill, and many others. Continue reading Medicaid Work Reqs a Costly One
These old squabbles are as counterproductive as they are useful for Trump and the GOP to continue avoiding accountability and responsibility for any forward leaning vision for all Americans. Continue reading 2016 Primary Redux
I believe we should be talking about real immigration reform, not immigration deform. We need to be focused on real threats to our country, not some expensive unfunded Trump Wall that would be ineffective at stopping ladders and tunnels.
I believe we should be debating how better to track visa overstays, not hyper focused on people who’ve been here for most of their lives, working, paying taxes, and living their lives for decades free from violent crime.
I believe we should be talking about real policies that protect people instead of dividing the country on cultural and racial lines. Continue reading Terrorism, Immigration, & Precise Action
Signs of strain emerge in the Trump-GOP economy, says Chandra and Golle of Bloomberg. When savings are drained, it limits consumer spending. This is especially troubling ahead of the holiday season and the all important 4th Quarter where many companies … Continue reading Savings Drain, Wage Stagnation Major Concerns for Economy
It was good to see the President come out with policies that may help alleviate the opioid crisis. This crisis has expanded from opioids and exploding into heroin use. That adaptive expansion as access to opioids is decreased is even … Continue reading Applaud Opioid Talk, Verify Actions
President Trump used the power of the pen to issue executive orders to take away the healthcare of the poor this week. He did this by removing subsidies offered to enrollees that couldn’t afford the high premiums and deductibles that … Continue reading Trump to End ACA Subsidies
It’s time to balance the power between workers and employers By Lawrence H. Summers Wash Post, September 3 Lawrence Summers is a professor at and past president of Harvard University. He was treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001 and an … Continue reading Unions, Wage Stagnation, & Labor
Instead of fighting amongst natural allies, we should be working together. There is nothing wrong with moderate and centrist political language as the vast majority of voters are moderates or independents. Pitting the center against the left and progressives is … Continue reading Working Together, not Fighting Allies
In a year with many special elections, the most expensive House race in American history, and much frustration with the direction of the country under the leadership of President Trump and a GOP-led Congress, most would believe the Democrats would … Continue reading Fundraising Highs & Lows for Dems
I continue to see so much animosity and outrage pouring out on social media and in public regarding the President. This is not all that helpful in the upcoming midterm elections. The Democratic Party becoming the anti-Trump party is not … Continue reading We Must Stand FOR the People
The GOP-controlled Congress, led by President Trump, has already targeted student loans, loosening protections for students as well as discussing moving loan servicing from Department of Education to Treasury. Their new plans are far worse. They want to eliminate the … Continue reading Student Loans: My Ideas vs. GOP/Trump
Of course, President Trump has been playing musical chairs with farmers, trade and China for over two years, and the only one with any trade deals in America seems to be Ivanka Trump. Continue reading Farm Bailouts and Trade Strategy