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?

‘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!

Ending Net Neutrality

What does the end of Net Neutrality mean to you?

The claim by the administration is that it will lead to greater competition. I think we’ve all heard this mantra a bit too often to buy it so quickly.

Saying greater competition equals lower prices is cheap when regulations, fees, and other special loopholes squeeze out small businesses and allow big companies to gobble them all up, leaving less competition.

Under the Obama net neutrality protections there was a leveling of the playing field for consumers. We didn’t get screwed as much by providers. Also, municipalities like Chattanooga could make the best choice for their cities and create their own broadband access. So, this lack of competition argument rings hollow.

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.

Many of us see the inherent problems this creates. 

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.

Together, we have much more influence and power

to negotiate a better deal for ourselves.

When we consider how this will impact schools, healthcare, ordering of supplies, applying for jobs online, the picture becomes even more complex.

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.

One of those mechanisms was just taken away.

Say Never to Privatization of VA

Privatization of the VA means less accountability, less ability to do anything about problems, and less results for veterans.

Putting business in charge of veterans healthcare will result in less healthcare. In Indiana, privatization of Medicaid was a disaster for enrollees, and that was under Governor Daniels, not Mike Pence. They had to reverse course there, and we shouldn’t even consider doing this to veterans.

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.

I’m talking neurology, psychiatry, LCSWs, etc. etc. There are so many communities that have no access to too many of these specialties or have waiting lists that are excruciatingly long.

The GOP healthcare and tax plans are in exactly the opposite direction of where we should be heading as a country on all of these issues.

The GOP healthcare plan cuts healthcare for veterans, Medicaid, and Medicare. 

The GOP tax plan raises taxes on students receiving tuition waivers. 

All of this to give the wealthiest, a massive tax break. To give corporations a massive tax cut when 1 out of 5 of them don’t even pay taxes currently. Lowering the corporate tax rate will allow even more corporate welfare in order to gut more services for veterans.

This is not how you run the healthcare of those who have served and defended our country.

You Serve. You Deserve.

I will stand up to this backward thinking, campaign donor giveaways that hurt our veterans.

(Photo Courtesy of Greg Nash, The Hill)

 

Allegations, Realities, and Standing Up

These allegations and realities from the past and present are as disturbing as they are common. We have to do better.

We have to stand up for others so more can stand up for themselves. It’s not easy, it’s not simple, but it is a necessity.

It’s vital for us all to learn and grow from this period of exposure so that we can move forward as a stronger society that respects one another.

Really listening to one another and really paying attention to others can really go a long way toward protecting and fostering a better community.

None of us are perfect people. We can’t go back in time and rewrite history.

What we can do is acknowledge past wrongs, learn from our mistakes, and strive to do better. 

There are legal lines that are too often crossed and nothing is reported. Statutes of limitations make it more difficult for many victims to ever hold their abusers accountable.

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.

Some people are open to investigations being done to ascertain the veracity of claims and the extent of the damage done. That matters. 

Openness isn’t a blank check. Openness can be the beginning of a conversation that can lead to healing and greater understanding. I think we can at least start there.