COVID and You

Pretty ****ing typical American model for governance.

Businesses violate, let them skate. Individuals get sick, indict. Businesses will be able to operate which is great for them since they have no legal consequences. Individuals having a gathering? Not so much. That would violate the state COVID19 guidelines. 

Does State’s Attorney Danley’s policy violate equal protection under the law?

No one wants to go through what we’re going through as a nation, but it is an opportunity to see how public servants prioritize and balance our rights and safety with their responsibilities and actions. 

Unfortunately, lives are on the line as well as a further disintegration of our American values and systems of government. 

We must not only observe but respond. Too many are allowing anger and resentment to guide their reaction and obstruct any new information.

It is understandable for people to have questions and to have real concerns about the virus and about the decisions that are taking place here.

Currently, as a nation, we are struggling to find a proper balance between public health risks and economic consequences, federal and state rights and responsibilities, local and state control, and specifically here in Coles County, business immunity versus individual legal responsibility.

America was already highly polarized heading into this pandemic. It is important that we do not let our fears and anxieties overwhelm our empathy and ability to see another person as a human being. This is especially true when we have profound disagreements.

When criminal lability and viral testing both are involved, the best example that still is in place today, is HIV.


I worked in the HIV/AIDS field in some degree for over 20 years. 

HIV is a completely different kind of virus than COVID19. However, HIV does expose the best and the worst nature in people, just like COVID19 has done in 2020. We have wonderful groups that have contributed their time, efforts, and materials to making PPE for local healthcare clinics, nursing homes and neighbors while we all waited for COVID19 testing to become more available.

Testing is a key in the treatment and prevention of HIV. Once you know your status, you can make different choices that protect yourself, protect others and increase the longevity and quality of your life, regardless of the outcome of the test.

What state’s attorney Jesse Danley has done here is similar to what happened with HIV in the 80s. That mistake still keeps at risk people from being tested and getting treatment for HIV.

Danley’s policy places all the criminal liability on the individual. Workers are not given immunity from prosecution, just their boss.

Having an unelected attorney make policy that impacts both public health and our short and long term economy exposes the lack of leadership on these issues from the White House. 

It is dangerous when public health is predicated on fears and anxieties. That is not a way to best serve the public good. In fact, a number of the laws on the books about HIV are still counterproductive to public health and are predicated on fears and anxieties and the need for someone else to be responsible.

HIV disclosure laws make common sense, but they don’t make psychological sense. 

Disclosure laws actually predispose at risk people to not get tested for HIV so they don’t have to disclose to potential sexual partners and be rejected. Not being tested allows these at risk people to continue about their sexual life without any legal or ethical issues. Meanwhile, they are putting at risk every sexual partner.

The actual science says people who know their HIV status, are on HIV drug treatment and are undetectable don’t transfer the virus to anybody during sex. 

So, does anyone revoke all of the HIV disclosure laws? No, they do not. 

‘It’s not my responsibility. It’s their responsibility.’

People would prefer to live in the dark and blame others later.

What these disclosure laws have done is place all the responsibility, legal and otherwise, on the individual that already has all the weight and all the responsibility for keeping themselves alive in a government and social system that does not work efficiently, effectively and at times appears to be out to be rid of them entirely. 

This allows everyone else to just carry on while people that have to disclose their status also have to absorb the piling on of other people’s fears and anxieties, often which appear as toxic hate and rage. 


Why does any of this matter to COVID19? 

When businesses reopen while COVID19 cases keep increasing, employees have no choice but to go back to work. 

I’m certain the vast majority are very glad to get back to work, but they have no choice or they lose their job.

Under the the Coles County policy, the business has no responsibility for COVID19 only employees do. That is not equal protection under the law.

If an individual comes into that business, that individual has the responsibility. In addition, those employees that potentially could get infected now have the responsibility if they become infected. 

How about the entire household where the employee calls home?

Businesses aren’t taking names and addresses.

But, the legal responsibility only exists if someone knows they have COVID19. So, workers are the only ones to be legally responsible, because no business is going to go after a customer.

It’s not like the customer is going to take any responsibility for coming in a store during this interim period where rogue counties are doing whatever they want and hope no one in the community ever responds in kind to local law enforcement.

This is the most concerning dynamic and precedent and is why SA Danley’s policy is so dangerous. Our local law enforcement already got hit with COVID19 on the chin having been on the front lines interacting with the public.

Why would anyone get a COVID19 test in Coles County now? 

A business owner might try and sue you for their business not becoming successful again because you got sick with COVID19 while working and the public found out about it. 

The employer isn’t responsible any longer. Only the individual has legal responsibility in Coles County. 

And, I’m sure, Danley will say this was not the intent of his policy. The intention behind his policy is clear. Individuals aren’t a priority. 

He claims his policy has no impact on civil liability. Many people know a criminal complaint makes a civil case a slam dunk. 

The workers take all the responsibility. If you don’t show up, you are fired. If you show up sick, infect others, know your status, you’re to blame for the lives of your fellow workers going to hell, and you’re likely fired, or you or your loved ones could die.

There’s literally no plan for the people or the workers, except they’re to blame for anything that happens.

This is just a reactionary policy for folks that are freaking out about COVID19, the shelter in place orders and face mask guidelines.

Yes, these are frustrating and require discipline and patience.

It is not easy being in a position to make policy and implement it.

The most important people to think about right now are the people that are sick. 

What about if a person is sick:

Especially if they don’t have health insurance.

Especially if they have to pay massive co-pays and deductibles for healthcare.

Especially if they don’t know the answers to any of those questions. 

Now, thanks to Mr. Danley, they also have to fear criminal and civil prosecution in the Coles County state’s attorney office if they seek treatment and have COVID19. 

Mr. Danley has proven, yet again, if you’re a business and breaking the law, going against rules and regulations . . . who cares if anyone gets hurt, you can blame it on an employee or someone else. There’s always Madigan, JB, or anyone else but Trump. 

Most people already knew that this is the way our system worked. It’s who you know and how much money you have that matters more. 

This same ideology is why no one went to prison after the financial collapse.

We just had a former National Security Adviser, a convicted liar, someone who had admitted his guilt, have all charges dropped. If that is not clear evidence that our system protects those at the top and is not for workers and individuals and folks with no influence, I don’t know what is.

We have people in these positions that might be doing their best but are so beholden to something or someone else that they are breaking their bond to place the people and the public good above all else. 

When you look at Congress and the White House, they aren’t doing any better. 

People might ask, who am I to talk? I’m not a perfect person by any shot. My own PTSD has been extreme for months. 

Yeah, that doesn’t negate one fact, one logical argument nor American value, principle or truth that I’ve said. 

And, Danley has a tough job. Putting away murderers is something I’ve helped to do. It is not easy work. 

The police are only doing as they are directed and trained. They have the toughest job during COVID19, and the testing proves it. Every moment they are out serving and protecting the public, they are opening themselves, their families and their households up to COVID19 infection.

Danley also has an election coming up. He has wealthier and more well connected members of our community and every person they can get to harass and pressure him to go against the public health executive orders of Governor JB Pritzker. 

There are people that have a political agenda that are likely pushing him in many directions. When folks attempted to push me in one direction or another, my mentality was simple. No, I’m focused on listening to people, gathering all the facts, information, history and background, and then, decide where to set the vector. 

That is the fundamental issue here. What is the vector, the direction with force, that Danley and others are signaling here?

The entire country is experiencing something they’ve never experienced before. It’s a lot of stress, it’s a lot of intense emotions, and as a public official or anyone, we all have to make choices and live with the consequences . . . not just for ourselves but for others. 

Even if you’re not doing anything different, you know you’re not doing anything different. That in itself alters your brain neurochemistry and your thought process. 

And, regardless of whether we agree with JB, Trump or not, we’re in this together. Your choices impact my life. My choices impact yours. We can deny that. Our government did for two months, and we’re living with the consequences.

It’s a policy like Danley’s that furthers an ideological pattern that separates out businesses and corporations from individuals, making those entities a special class above people. Does that not trouble anyone? 

The people get screwed while businesses and corporations screw us. They get a golden parachute and get to do it all over again with millions of taxpayer money. 

That certainly is the way this ideology has framed their approach.  

Why pit business versus the working class?

Those that push this ideology have been at this for my entire life. It has led to wages stalled out at the bottom. It has led to working people pitted against one another. It has led to working people pitted against those that barely survive. 

Where are the beneficial results for any of those groups of people that is in any single metric comparable to the wealthy and established? 

It doesn’t exist.

I’m just shellshocked that public servants cannot breathe new life into public service at a time that America needs it most. 

We are blessed to be in this country. There is so much to be thankful for in every single day. 

The struggle is very tangible and is staring many of us directly in the face, and we all see something different when we stare in its face.

The way we perceive differently is America’s greatest strength. We need to harness our capacity to adapt and innovate, not return to what wasn’t working before. 

It is vital that America, starting with our community, begin seeing each other and correcting these mistakes that we’ve already made before. 

That is what I urge Danley and us all to do. Thank you. 

A Lot of Work Left to Be Done

It is clear the voters will have the first woman Representative to Congress in Southern Illinois come 2021. I congratulate Erika Weaver on a hard fought campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the 15th Congressional District. As I’ve expressed to her personally, I will provide any advice, expertise or personal effort that I can to help to make this a Democratic Party victory in November. 

There is a lot of work to be done throughout the 15th District, and I am dedicated to push forward our efforts to reform government, programs and policies that promote our economy, our communities and our people. 

As we trudge through this ongoing and unfolding coronavirus pandemic and response, you can make certain that we will continue to provide leadership on our priorities of healthcare, education and an economy that works for everyone. 

Now, more than ever, we must rely on facts, science and each other, holding elected officials and candidates accountable for their actions, for their words and for the consequences from what they’ve both said and done. 

We’re in this together. However, we must not be silent when confronted with facts and bad faith. 

I certainly won’t be. 

Thank you for your vote, for your support and your strength that keeps our district, our communities and our country alive. 

Oil & Gas, Coronavirus and the Joker’s Oval

President Obama paved the way for the resurgence and dominance of the American oil and gas industry.  President Trump has continued on that path.

I would have demanded changes in the way subsidies are managed regardless of who was President. Our small oil and gas companies throughout the 15th District deserve some relief. 

In 2020, the outlook in the industry as a whole went from great, to okay to rather miserable in two weeks. 

Oil prices are going to drop because of two reasons:

First, Saudi Arabia and Russia didn’t get a deal done at the OPEC meeting. Maybe, Trump is rubbing off on others. In retaliation, the Saudis are going to lower their oil prices by 10%. That is going to sting American oil and gas.

Second, the coronavirus is forecasted to lower GDP significantly. 

How? 

We already are seeing the canceling of many conferences, the cruise industry might as well start hoping for some sequels of the Poseidon Adventure, but more than that, tourism is going to take a big hit if this rolls into the summer. 

If people start fundamentally changing their behaviors, not going out for a night on the town, that’s going to hurt small businesses.

Then, there’s going to be some real hard choices for different parts of the health sector. Staffing across the nation will be a rolling situation, and if it does, as some predict, staffing will become a critical concern.

Businesses that adapt and respond quickly will likely weather this as it goes.

Background on the oil and gas industry:

Our oil and gas companies, under two administrations, have been drilling and ramping up production wherever they could. 

That has placed these companies in a tough position, a financial bind.

Let’s remind the American people about those Trump tax cuts. The oil and gas industry received massive tax cuts. 

That industry also finds all sorts of goodies elsewhere in the tax code. This makes their tax half of what it is for most any other sector of the economy. 

I do have to say, the oil and gas boom has created a lot of American jobs, good paying ones. Just none here. 

We really have needed a tighter focus on these companies and families who deserved to be a priority of federal tax and energy policy toward our 15th District oil and gas sector.

It doesn’t make any sense that these small companies often have to pay more of their income than big oil on regulations, equipment and time when they don’t get any more of a percentage of these subsidies. It’s not right, it doesn’t make sense, we’ve got to change it. #GaitherIL

One of the harsher realities I’ve come to understand is that the larger the corporation, the bigger the business, the easier it is for that company to just pay a fine as opposed to fixing the underlying problem. 

In the oil and gas industry, the problems they are glossing over actually undercut all of our other efforts to cut emissions.

What sets our small oil & gas companies apart is how their wells are pumping right in the middle of farmland. These families are dedicated to protecting that land. That’s why we should give them more of those subsidies in order to get that job done more quickly. #Gaither15IL

I trust these families more than I do big oil and big gas. And, we have to find a better way to address the violations. They won’t deal with it until it hurts the bottomline. 

And, that bottomline has serious issues because of what that industry decided to do. 

In some cases, companies have gone belly up overextending themselves. That problem is about to get a lot worse as the Saudis price war begins to play itself out in the market.

Anyone that has been paying attention knows what’s about to come down the pipeline, as they say. You can smell bailouts coming. Anything to keep more of these failed economic policies going forward.

What is most heartbreaking are the millions of American workers that have their families to think about because their livelihood just might be going on a forced vacation. This vacation is about oil and gas prices, not a quarantine demand because of the coronavirus. #Gaither15IL

And, that’s when I look up and I see some Tweet from the President of the United States from the Oval Office. Well, he’s obviously got a ton to deal with. 

We’ve been pretty lucky as a nation not having some crisis, some major malfunction that fundamentally altered our current path.

I really prayed that President Trump wouldn’t have to deal with anything so vital to get right. Every part of the policy is pivotal. And, here we are. 

I do hope that people heed these pubic health alerts and get to know what’s happening.

The phrases “Fake News’ and ‘science is a hoax’ are less than humorous right about now. And, people wondered why it was so offensive and concerning. 

As I’m writing this, they just declared the coronavirus is an official pandemic. 

When I link the coronavirus up with what President Trump is doing to Social Security disability, and how broken Medicare Part D is, I think we’re going to see some of the initial results of those broken polices. #Gaither15IL

This is the same crap Mike Pence and supermajority Republicans did in Indiana. They gutted essential programs and services because they thought they knew better.

Guess what? Sometimes, no, most times, everyone knows better than you about something. 

I do really hope that the stubbornness, that the unwillingness to believe science and medicine, that these attributes cannot survive only to continue the false belief that you know better. 

I know I don’t know everything. How could anyone?

When I don’t know, I seek out direct experiences. I have to know how it works, how it doesn’t work, and I always have a massive exploration ahead of me that truly never ends.

That’s how a small post about our oil and gas companies getting hit hard right now became a global view. 

These Congressional Republicans have said they’ve known better for my entire life.

I’ve not seen any of their policies focus on our workers. 

I’ve not seen any of their policies make certain these big corporations invest in their brick & mortar, invest in the community infrastructure, invest in their employees, and invest in our schools as well.

As far as the National Democratic Party, I don’t see any results for us either. If they cared, they would show up with resources for a different message than has been the prevailing and failing one my entire life.

Every day I think about what Glenn Poshard would do. He has passion, he has a vigor and an urgency that I share. #Gaither15IL

I’ve been blessed in my life to have met some good and great people. 

We can be doing so much better. And, we should be a hell of a lot more prepared for this.

I’m so glad our #IllinoisNationalGuard is on this. I know people that are in there, and I pray they all make it back. I wonder how this will impact some of our troops heading over to Ukraine this summer. #Gaither15IL

We have to be prepared for threats from some of these rogue countries that are looking to take advantage while President Trump is Tweeting about why this virus plan is perfect, just like his ridiculous call to Ukraine.

Who has ever heard of a perfect call? Someone who says this sounds like a child that has been caught red-handed. And, no, that’s not a reference to Russia collusion. I read the Mueller Report. It’s not good for the President. It certainly doesn’t make him look all that reputable. Did he sign some blood oath with Russia? No.

Here we sit, multiple crises hitting us directly in the nose.

We have to shake this off and get to work on it. 

The Joker’s Oval . . . I think the laughing is about to end. 

So, regardless of what happens in this election. I am going to work my butt off to make sure we do better as a nation and as a region. 

It’s about time we started taking care of this and taking care of us.

Sensitive President, Party Flails in Europe

Senator Lindsey Graham and President Donald Trump are upset by the remarks by President Macron of France Sunday to honor the fallen soldiers of World War I, which also marks America’s Veterans Day. I highly suggest watching the full speech, as it is an important perspective regarding global and our national security.

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. 

After World War I, nationalism persisted throughout Europe and around the world, despite efforts to counter it. This ultimately led to the rise of the Third Reich and World War II. These same nationalist energies are rising once again, and we must be vigilant and recognize what’s happening around us. The stakes are extremely high.

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.


  1. We have a President that is quite sensitive with an extremely thin skin. He can’t even bear a light rain for Veterans Day events with world leaders commemorating our fallen soldiers in Europe. 
  1. We have a sensitive GOP that is bereft with double standards. Even when Europe steps up and makes enforcement and funding a priority, they elect to defend our weak President instead of holding him accountable for his words and deeds.
  1. We have a Political Party and a Political President that chooses to weaken our alliances and disregard our agreements that have helped to protect both our country and the world.

Instead of focusing on legislation and actions that will both protect our national security through both soft and hard power, the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have increased military budget while slashing diplomatic efforts.


All of this will only increase our dependence on hard power, helping to fuel the military industrial complex, which both parties support. 

All of this will only increase the dependence on our young men and women in military interventions abroad. 

All of this will only increase our budget deficits and national debt, leading to higher interest rates, a drag on the economy, and diminishing capacity to make the investments necessary to rebuild our country, invest in education, and prepare for the future.


As a country and as Americans invested in our communities, our national security, and in our future, we must demand accountability and responsibility from our elected officials, regardless of party.

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.

U.S. Constitution Under Attack

When a sitting President of the United States is advocating that he can by Executive Order arbitrarily repeal any amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you’d think you’re watching a movie. However, you’d be watching current events in the current midterm election.
I would never stand for any President repealing the 2nd Amendment, so why would any Republican or Democratic voter stand for President Trump doing the same to the 14th Amendment?
There comes a time in every generation where we have to decide what our country stands for and against.
We have been a nation that has been governed by our Constitution. Our nation was built upon Native American cultures by immigrant populations. Are we going to deny our history and our inclusive culture to satisfy a divisive and derisive ploy that is both unconstitutional and against our American values?
We do have a choice in this election. Are we going to vote for rubber stamps and lemmings or for a voice of the people, for our district, for our constitutional rights, and for an economy that works for everyone, not just campaign donors?
We can protect our borders and honor our American Constitution and values without dividing the country along cultural and racial lines. It’s called working together to solve our problems.
We work best as a country and a community when we work together.
Our best days are ahead of us.

The Saudis, Arms and American Values

Any attack on the media is an attack on American values. Let’s be clear.

When someone resorts to bullying and killing their critics, you know there’s something wrong. America has a long history of standing up against such bully tactics. All of our American values and strategic interests are under threat.

Most information seems to point to Saudi Arabia killing an American journalist in their consulate in Turkey. We have strong strategic ties to the Saudis. What we do in response matters.

We should never condone the killing of any American, especially one that is working to report on actual news. The danger and threat to journalists abroad is real. Without them we would not know what’s happening inside war zones and brutal regimes.


What do we do?

We have a $110 billion arms deal on the table with Saudi Arabia. For the President to remove this deal from negotiations shows weakness and allows both allies and adversaries alike to move against our national security interests. That is simply unacceptable.

Oil per barrel is increasing. That hurts Americans who will also be hurt by the Trump Administration Trade War. OPEC currently wants to maintain their production level and most importantly will be meeting this December in Austria. That means we have leverage when we choose to use it for both our economic and national security objectives.

This arms deal is as crucial for American workers as it is for the Saudis. The proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is brutal for civilians. Our American values and our national security interests are on the line.

Both Russia and Iran are dependent on the price of oil. As prices decrease, they’re less capable of working against our strategic interests abroad. We should press every bit of advantage and leverage we have to achieve a safer world and a stronger, more robust national security.


We have to stand up for our American values and our national security interests, making certain our brothers and sisters overseas have an all-in strategy that ensures their sacrifice and effort is focused on our longterm strategic objectives. 

When we have a government that doesn’t have their strategic eye on the ball, we’re shortchanging our military, diplomatic, and economic efforts. It is critical we utilize every bit of leverage we have on the global stage, especially when we have a Congress that abdicates their responsibility daily.

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.