Focused on the 15th District

Some have been asking why I’ve not received any official endorsements. My answers to questionnaires aren’t copied from someone’s talking points. They’re my responses based on decades of experiences in seeing a problem and getting to work.

More than that, I’ve been listening to the experiences, the knowledge, and the wisdom from every county and community within the 15th District. 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.

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School Threats and the Gun Debate

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.
School administrators are working with local law enforcement, and parents are often left with little clear information. This obviously leaves them concerned for the safety and well-being of their children.
This is why instead of this onslaught of one side pitting neighbor against neighbor, party vs. party about gun rights and gun control we should be finding some common ground on how to move forward to better protect our schools and communities.
I’m tired of the ‘for or against’ culture in America
because it doesn’t serve anyone.
Special interests and the loudest, most belligerent voices
end up winning instead of the American People.
Isn’t it about time we do something different in America that serves our future?

Immigration and Economic Insecurity

Last night I had a conversation with a woman at a charitable fundraiser. She was very upset about illegal immigration, even to the point of sending repeated letters and emails to President Trump about his new positions on the issue. She’s mad at him too. Her husband has been a dedicated union worker for decades.

We talked for quite awhile.

The anger and anxiety that people feel about this issue is tangible.

I’ve heard these similar comments across the district. Some Democratic and independent voters believe that the Party only stands for illegal immigration and not for workers. That’s a huge concern for me as candidate, as I’m dedicated to making a difference for all of our residents.

This is about depressed wages,

fewer opportunities for Union workers, and

lack of fairness for taxpayers. 

She’s a mother. That’s when I realized something that resonates with me about why I’m in the race.

I’m fighting like hell to help the citizens of this district, no matter the personal cost.

Just like this mother is fighting for her family’s future,

these families are fighting for the future of their children.

That’s why they fled their countries that are steeped in violence and upheaval for what they saw as the only place that could give their children an opportunity to survive their childhood. That place is America.

I saw the lightbulb go off in this woman’s mind. It was one of those ah-ha moments.

We have to rethink how we discuss these issues with those who think we disagree with them.

This is all about the deep economic insecurities that so many of us have felt for decades, just as many are now responding to the deep insecurities regarding gun violence in our own schools.

We have to realize that everyone is fighting for their future, for the future of their family, and the future of their community. 

Failure is not an option.

‘Pray the Gay Away’ Still a Threat

“Tonight the (Madison) county board will be voting to appoint a proponent of “pray away the gay” Christian counseling to the county mental health board.”

– Madison County resident

This sort of ilk is why I got involved in politics at Rose-Hulman and in the Terre Haute community back in the 90s.

To stand up to bigotry and oppression in all its forms.

This is not the Christian faith I was raised to believe. 

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.

There’s not one aspect of Jesus Christ, his compassion, the way he lived and certainly not the way he died that matches up with this style of virulent rhetoric.

We must stand up to this extremist version of Christianity because it’s not helping anyone. It’s dividing our communities when we should be coming together. Poverty is increasing. Hunger is increasing. What are we going to do about those issues?

Jesus reached out his hand to those in need, to those that society had cast aside, to those deemed undesirable and most vulnerable. Where has that brand of Christianity gone to in some American churches today? He lived and died to benefit the lives of all beings. Why aren’t we doing more to help others today?

That’s why I’m in this race, to do something about our common struggles. To stand up to the politics of division and hatred. 

Enough is Enough!

Building a Better Campaign

I want to thank every single contributor, every single person who has donated time, resources, and their experiences to this campaign. Our End of Year financial report defied all expectations! It means a great deal to me, but it means more to the People of the 15th District.

We’re Fighting for the 15th because we know we deserve better!

Better wages, better healthcare, better schools, better infrastructure. 

We need more opportunities for students as they graduate. We need more support and revenue for our small businesses, farmers, town and county governments. We need new industries, new innovation, and we need more of you to become involved in this growing movement to not only transform our district but our politics as well.

The reason I ask for your support is that I’ve not only cared about our common struggles but I’ve fought to change the status quo throughout my life.

I’ve also been a frugal politician that has run my campaign like a business. That’s what you should expect from your representative.

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.

I would never want the hard working people who have contributed to our campaign to bear the weight of campaign debt.

Our team is working hard to reach workers, families, and citizens wherever they are because we care deeply about the issues that you care about.

Our communities have been left behind by both parties for far too long. We are working hard to change that course.

We offer a transformative approach to campaigning and policy that will improve the lives of the People of the 15th District. We’re doing this by listening to you, learning from your experiences and the amazing wealth of knowledge and wisdom that hasn’t been heard in Washington for too long.

I’ll stand up for you and be your voice as your representative.

Join us as we move this district and this region forward! 

Contribute Today!

Shimkus’ Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Reality

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 debt and hand the responsibility to pay the bills to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The reason the Democratic Party voted against this tax scam bill is simple; the tax cuts for working people were not permanent and there were no guarantees for workers, wages, and jobs for the corporate tax cuts. The 14% tax cuts for corporations, one out of five of which currently don’t pay anything, are permanent.

That equation is backwards and citizens in the 15th District know it.

Property owners in Illinois know that dropping property tax deductions will harm too many families and farmers because of the high tax burden in Illinois. Yet, Rep. Shimkus lauds this tax scam bill as a tax cut.

He promotes his role in helping to open up of oil leases off the coast of Alaska. This actually will harm small oil and gas companies in the 15th District but benefits his largest campaign donors.

That Rep. Shimkus would vote to benefit his largest contributors should come as a shock to no one who knows the record of our two-decade incumbent representative. 

And, he’s equally proud of helping to usher in even higher premiums and deductibles for healthcare, something the 15th District absolutely does not need nor can afford.

I do appreciate his views on the news and social media. However, this legislation was not crafted as good policy for the American people or our 15th District economy. It was crafted to benefit corporate donors.

When I visit with communities, families, and workers across our great district, I’ve grown to know the diverse set of strengths, struggles, and issues that exist for all of us. I wish our representative had openness to his constituents. He just doesn’t.

If a business owner is successful here, they stay here. When workers and families are paid for their hard work, they spend that money in their communities.

This continued obsession with the failed trickle down economics model has left Central and Southern Illinois behind.

It is time for a change.

As your representative, I will always be open to listen to your concerns, I will represent every citizen in the district, and I will not support legislation that doesn’t benefit these citizens.

I’m so exhausted by the party politics that too often leave rural Illinoisans behind. I know that you are too. Our communities, our families, our businesses, and our children deserve better.

That’s why I ask for your vote in this primary.

Let’s change the direction of the 15th District and send a message to both parties that we’re tired of being underserved and ignored.