Grace at Women's March with ACLUIf I earn your vote this March I will prioritize:

Fighting for Chicago’s schools

We have shortchanged both our K-12 and higher education systems for far too long, a problem exacerbated by but predating our current Governor. Chicago public school students and parents are consistently shortchanged.

Chicago students deserve:

  • An elected school board
  • Funding for schools decoupled from property taxes with the city getting its fair share.

Bringing good Jobs to the 25th District

Illinois must proactively pursue the industries of the future, including green energy and green manufacturing. Illinois must invest more in higher education and workforce development to attract these industries. Silicon Valley was made possible by Stanford, while the Massachusetts miracle of the 1980’s which saw the state transform a dreary, stagnant industrial economy into a thriving technologically oriented one was possible because of MIT.

The area south of Hyde Park in the 25th District is not served effectively by public transit and does not have many local employment opportunities. Creation of new bus lines, L expansion or vouchers for ride share services could help alleviate this problem.

Preserving affordable communities

With the Obama Center set to begin construction in Jackson Park many in our community are rightly concerned about gentrification. I will introduce a comprehensive package designed to protect renters across Illinois, including:

  • Rent control and stabilization.
  • Tenant support unit: New York City has recently piloted a program of direct outreach to tenants in neighborhoods with acute issues of gentrification. Part watchdog, part community organizing, the program is primarily charged with ensuring that landlords are meeting their obligations and not resorting to illegal tactics to drive tenants out and raise rents.
  • Universal access to counsel for tenants in facing eviction.
  • New tenant rights including the ability to withhold rent in cases where landlords are failing to meet their obligations in providing habitable units.

Taking a comprehensive approach to crime

Our district’s problems with crime stem largely from government failure and disinvestment in essential services, particularly education and mental health. We increasingly expect police officers to act as social workers, teachers, and therapists. Many of our problems have to with the fact that we have so many unattached youths (residents ages 16-19 who are not working or in school). This is our failure, not theirs, we have shirked our responsibility to create a place in society for these kids.

To address this I am proposing:

  • Mental Health Crisis Centers
  • Restore cuts to social services and education.
  • Implement universal after school programs.
  • Partner with employers to create job training programs for unattached youth.

Protecting public schools

Charter schools have their place, but for too long we’ve relied on their growth to avoid confronting the issues in the wider public school system. It is unconscionable that we continue to open new charters as public schools in under served communities continue to close.

  • Charter schools should only be utilized to cover gaps in the public-school system (e.g. charters dedicated to the arts, sciences.
  • The number of charter schools should be frozen until existing public schools are properly funded.

Ray School Group at July 4 Parade