Illinois’ Problems Are Beyond Party

Here is my Letter to the Editor of my hometown newspaper, The News-Progress. When I was in high school, I actually wrote sports stories for them, as well as co-writing an exposé with a classmate regarding the costly maintenance problems with our elementary school. That story was actually distributed to all registered voters in Moultrie County.

Local newspapers are one of the only sources remaining that provide local news about your government, education, criminal justice, and other vital resources of information.

Re: Somethings Haven’t Changed

The state’s problems are beyond party. We don’t live 25 years ago, either. This is 2017, and there is bipartisan consensus on a state budget today. The Governor simply stands in the way of any budget becoming law.

Governor Rauner is constitutionally mandated to submit a balanced budget each year. He never once has. The State House and State Senate are the only elected bodies trying to pass a budget and actually deal with our state’s budget crisis. Any budget deal must be able to overcome a Rauner veto, as he demands to get 100% of what he wants. He actually doesn’t want a budget deal because he wants to use this issue in next year’s gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, the Governor is off vacationing and campaigning, has made at least three bad lease deals with his buddies using our taxpayer money, and continues to hire his friends and business associates into taxpayer funded, six-figure salary positions that most are not even qualified to fill. That’s not good governance and certainly it’s not good business.

As downstate Illinoisans, we also don’t vote for Mike Madigan. We do vote for our state representatives and senators, our Congressional Representatives and Senators, and all of our locally elected officials. Yet, we send the same Party and the same people to Springfield and D.C. every election.

Aren’t we all tired of doing the same thing and expecting a different result? I’m frankly tired of the excuses. It’s all I’ve heard for decades. The blame game doesn’t solve anything and doesn’t help one single family here. It does help incumbents continue to be reelected despite not having any significant results to show for their time in office.

For a Party that lauds their responsibility and accountability credentials, there seems to be a vacuum of both when it comes to getting the real work of the People done. We all deserve so much better than we’ve been receiving for decades. The people we’ve sent to Springfield and D.C. haven’t helped our communities and families. Let’s send different people.

Kevin Gaither

-Running for Congress in the 15th District of Illinois


Update on White County Fracking Permit

The fracking permit in White County has been placed on hold. In fact, Woolsey will have to resubmit their application. A letter was posted on the IDNR, Illinois Department of National Resources, website with the details.

Image result for white county illinois landmarks

From SAFE:

Not ONE Well!
Public Comments and Hearing on Hold!

“…a significant error was found…..this error will require us to publish again the public notice and send to the landowners the specific public notice. We understand the this change will also require us to cancel the public hearing date as well as set new dates for public comment period and public hearing. “

Assuming that Woolsey resubmits its application, we should have additional time to submit public comments. Keep a watch on IDNR webpage and if anyone would like to help prepare for the next comment period, please let us know.

We thank everyone for their efforts for the last 4 weeks. Let’s keep up the good work.

This application could be resubmitted at any moment, so we must remain vigilant to protect our towns, communities, livelihoods, and families.

Fracking on the New Madrid Seismic Zone a No Go

Energized and Refocused after GA Loss

There’s much to learn from the special election loss in Georgia tonight. For being the most expensive House of Representative race in history, it ended up being about a 5-point race.

Money can’t buy an election. Neither can anger and outrage for Donald Trump.

Many Democrats and Progressives across the country are rightly disappointed.

I’m energized by all the great candidates I’ve been meeting around Illinois as they begin to set up their campaigns. I also remain hopeful for what beneficial change can take place for the American people. We need only have the courage and the will to choose something different.

As Democrats, most of us do this for the people, not the well connected. We’re also a big tent party. Sometimes, we lose that amazing sense of togetherness for bringing regular people together. We don’t have to be one issue, one candidate voters. We should be about making a difference for regular people. 

It seems obvious to me as I meet voters everywhere I go, and from seeing the results tonight and from last November, that there is so much more that we need to do to reach out in rural districts and areas. We have to do better at connecting to voters where and as they are.

We can’t make demands of the people. They should be making demands of us. 

Otherwise, the American people will continue to be underserved in Congress. And, the American people deserve more affordable healthcare, better paying jobs, more dependable services, safer communities, and the best education in the world. For many baby boomers and members of the greatest generation, these are distant memories. For others, these are dreams or highly unrealistic goals.

The 15th Congressional District of Illinois has been underserved for far too long.

Our representative has been in Congress for 22 years and doesn’t even bother meeting voters in town halls or responding directly to their concerns raised in traveling help desks.

That has to change. We have to demand better because we deserve better. 


Solidarity after Alexandria Shooting

The Alexandria, Virginia Congressional shooting shines a spotlight on the intersection of mental health treatment, access to healthcare, extreme political rhetoric, and an absence of common ground approaches in government, in the media, and in public discourse.

Anyone capable of opening fire on unarmed people is violent, unhinged, and in need of treatment. This is why access to treatment, specifically mental health treatment, is so critical to protect, expand, and reinforce. The current healthcare bills rolling through Congress gut mental health treatment and access to health care insurance for those most at risk. This is absolutely unacceptable.

Mostly, I believe members of Congress are feeling pressured to pass Trumpcare, despite its known negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of their constituents. It would skyrocket premiums and deductibles for the sick and the elderly. These are the citizens least able to pay for those extreme increases.

This most recent wave of violence is predicated on decades of extreme rhetoric from both ideological extremes. This is how we end up with homegrown lone wolf extremists who go on shooting sprees. Last week it was Oregon on the far right. This week it was Alexandria on the far left.

We have to do better. After such a contentious presidential campaign in 2016, we need to be better communicators. I know I strive to do so everyday. I know I must do better. So must we all.

Yes, there are real threats to our democracy, to our voting and election systems, to healthcare, to our troops and allies abroad, and much more. We, however, cannot resort to violence and increased incendiary language. We most definitely can’t use these events as political weapons to further an ideological agenda.

It is ironic that when a right wing, white supremacist is the lone wolf, there’s little outcry from the right of coming together and resolving our differences peacefully.

It was welcome to see Bernie Sanders so quickly make such a strong public statement against the shooter, who had volunteered on his campaign. As this story continues to unfold, I’m certain many questions about motives will become more clear.

Also, Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were in a rare moment of solidarity. We need more of that in this country and in our communities.

We need to hold our representatives & senators in Congress as well as the President accountable. We do that at the ballot box. We don’t beat people up or shoot people because we disagree with them or their politics. 

We all can come together around the set of common principles of vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Those principles happen to be what some of the stripes of our American Flag symbolize.