July 4 - Independence Day
So, a very different 4th of July this year. No parades, no fireworks. But in a different way I had perhaps a more American 4th. I took some time to take part in a Unity March put on by the local BLM group. What is more American than people coming together to peacefully air grievances and letting their voices be heard? I just want to take a moment to say how impressed I am by the young people responsible for the demonstrations here the last few weeks. Very thoughtful - providing water on hot days and coordinating with local authorities to assure peaceful demonstrations. But still getting out their powerful message. Let's hope our leaders are listening. I know I am.
May 25 - Memorial Day:
Thoughts on COVID-19 (the coronavirus): It's obvious to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock (and if you have been, maybe it's best to stay there for another couple of weeks or so) that this is a big deal. But I still hear people saying it's not - folks who think it's all a liberal, mainstream media, Democratic conspiracy to those who compare it with SARS, H1N1, and the common flu. Certainly none of those three have caused the shutdowns, cancellations, and widespread concern that we're seeing today. Infections and death tolls from those dwarf what we've seen from COVID-19. SO FAR. From what I've seen and read, there are three reasons COVID-19 is creating greater concern than those others - 1) It is spreading more rapidly, 2) it has a higher mortality rate (estimates currently are that about 3% of those infected will not survive), and 3) there's no vaccine (yet). And while the numbers are still small, they're growing at an ever-increasing rate (see graph below).
Personally, I think we will weather the storm in good shape, after some inconveniences for the next few weeks while we work to slow the spread of the disease. The vast majority of us either won't get it at all, or will experience varying but non-lethal degrees of illness. The risk is for those whose health is already compromised by age or pre-existing conditions. So for their sakes, please wash your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid unnecessary gatherings. The CDC has a good information page that encourage you all to check out: https://www.cdc.gov/coronav…/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
Keep calm and wash your hands.
February 26: More endorsements have rolled in! Citizen Action Illinois, Representative Lauren Underwood and her Farm Team PAC have all expressed their support!
February 19: Governor Pritzker delivered his budget address. The Trib has it here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-jb-pritzker-illinois-budget-address-20200219-u4jouuolnzai3hlckh23sa2x7u-htmlstory.html. My comments on it are in the Paul's Thoughts section.
February 6: Teamsters Joint Council 25 has joined the endorsement convoy! Honk Honk!!
February 4: The Illinois Federation of Teachers has endorsed our campaign again! I'll be happy to carry their banner to Springfield!
January 16: Proud to once again be endorsed by the AFL-CIO. Unions brought the fight for basic decency to the workplace. Even if you're not part of a union, you most likely have benefitted from their fight. Unfortunately, union membership has dropped and many of the gains we take for granted could be at risk.
Thank you to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle for allowing me to write a guest column on a topic that is of great concern to me as a scientist, a politician and a citizen of the world.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 10:51 AM
You may have heard that there have been some machinations in our State Representative Race. Incumbent Bob Pritchard resigned early, and was appointed by Governor Rauner to fill a vacancy on NIU's Board of Trustees. I think with his legislative experience, and history of friendship with the University, Bob is an excellent choice to fill that role.
To fill the vacancy left by Bob's retirement, the Republican Parties of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties have appointed my opponent, Jeff Keicher.
I'm actually kind of flattered that the Republicans feel threatened enough by our campaign to put all this in motion. I still have the greatest confidence in our ability to win this race, but in the meantime, congratulations to Jeff.
Friday, May 18, 2018 5:04 PM
US House Fails to Pass Farm Legislation
So today, the US House of Representatives failed to pass the farm bill. A perfect example of what's wrong with the way we currently do politics. The bill failed for two reasons, neither of which had anything to do with helping our farmers. Those two things were the inclusion of tougher working conditions for SNAP (a.k.a. food stamp) recipients (which cost Democratic votes), and an intra-party fight among Republicans over immigration policy (which cost Republican votes). Both were moves designed to win political points. It was putting politics ahead of policy. Party ahead of country. SNAP should be a separate vote, as should immigration. If legislation is helpful, it should pass. Period. Let's start thinking about our citizens, and stop worrying so much about our parties.
Saturday, March 24, 2018 11:12 AM
March for our Lives inspires Boston Globe article
Today, as thousands of students and others march in cities around the country calling for action to curtail gun violence in schools and elsewhere, the Boston Globe has listed seven steps Massachusetts has taken that have reduced their gunshot fatalities to the lowest in the nation:
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:32 PM
The Primary is Over - We Won! On to November!!
The results are in - we're moving on to November! Thanks to my opponent, Howard Solomon, for running a good, clean race. Between the two of us, we had the chance to talk to voters across the district and raise many good issues. Thanks to all the people who supported us with their votes, efforts, and checkbooks. Special thanks to Julie Rogers and Jackie Schmack for their efforts knocking doors and handling communication. And my most sincere thanks to my campaign manager, Randi Olson, for everything she's done and all the time and effort she's devoted to this race.
I look forward to working with all of you as we move forward and continue to spread our message throughout the district.
Saturday, February 17, 2018 10:37 PM
Our First Endorsement is In!
I'm proud to announce that the AFL-CIO's Illinois Committee on Political Education has endorsed our campaign! The IFT (Illinois Federation of Teachers) made the successful motion to endorse. Thanks to the IFT and the AFL-CIO for your confidence in, and support of, what we're trying to achieve.
Click on the "Endorsements" tab to see the complete list. Or add your own with the "Make Endorsement" tab.
Monday, December 11, 2017 12:00 AM
We made the primary ballot!
OK - the filing and challenge period has officially closed. We are officially on the ballot for the March 20 primary. Many thanks to all the volunteers who collected the signatures that made this possible. And special shout outs to Jim Luebke and JJ Wett who coordinated the DeKalb Democratic party's petition efforts, and campaign treasurer Julie Rogers and campaign manager Randi Olson who devoted uncounted hours, evenings, and weekends gathering signatures! Thanks to everyone! Now the real work begins - getting our message out to the district. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 8:56 PM
FCC to Repeal Net Neutrality
The FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, announced he plans to scrap net neutrality. It's expected to be approved along a party-line vote. I can't think of a better of example of how Republicans value corporate profits over individual rights.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017 5:16 PM
Pritchard to Leave Legislature
August 1, 2017
Representative Robert Pritchard (R - IL 70) has announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the Illinois House of Representatives next fall. Citing 14 years in Springfield as being long enough, Bob plans to devote more time to family and serving the community in new ways.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Representative Pritchard for his service to the district. Even though we often disagree on policy and specific votes, I've always found Bob to be very approachable. He seems to be at every event in the district, and always has time to talk to constituents. I've found him responsive - always hearing what I have to say, and personally answering my emails. In short, Bob has been an excellent representative. I hope, given the chance, to be as accessible and responsive as Bob has been.
Thank you Bob, and best wishes for the future!
Friday, July 7, 2017 9:48 AM
Reprinted with permission from Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora):
Budget Update as of Friday, Illinois has its first full year budget since Pat Quinn was our governor. Here are a few of the items in our Bipartisan (Republican and Democratic votes) balanced budget which we passed despite Gov. Rauner's intense effort to kill it: 1) the budget cuts $3 billion from current spending levels immediately, 2) it pays down $8 billion of our backlog of old bills, 3) it closes tax loopholes on millionaires and billionaires like Bruce Rauner, 4) it spends less than the Governor's proposed budget, 5) it generates $1.4 billion in pension reform savings, 6) it has the same income tax rate as the Republican proposal that the Governor supported in his call for the Special Session, 7) it has $350 million more for K-12 education, as well as $50 million increase for early childhood education, 8) it Increased funding for community mental health, violence prevention, substance abuse and at-risk youth programs, and 9) it increases the Earned Income Tax Credit. Over the next few days, I will provide more details because #RealFacts matter. I will also be scheduling a few town hall meetings as well as Coffee and Conversation gatherings. Stay tuned for more information. Feel free to share this information with your friends.
Thursday, July 6, 2017 4:40 PM
Illinois Has A Budget!
The Illinois House voted to overide the Governor's veto this afternoon. For the first time in 3 years, we have a budget.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 3:42 PM
Illinois Senate Takes Action
The Illinois Senate celebrated Independence Day by passing the spending side of the budget the House had approved the day before. Governor Rauner celebrated Independence Day by vetoing the budget. The Senate immediately overrode the veto. The House is scheduled to vote on their override tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.
Monday, July 3, 2017 4:00 PM
Illinois House Passes Budget
The Illinois House on Sunday passed SB6 and SB9, the revenue components of their budget. These bills call for an increase in revenue of $4.76 billion to balance the $36 billion in spending approved last week. Personal income taxes will rise from 3.75% to 4.95%, while corporate taxes will rise to 7%. Spending will be cut across the board by 5% (10% for higher education). To balance the budget with spending cuts alone would have required an additional 13.2% across-the-board cut.
The Senate is due to take up the House bills today. The Governor has said he will veto the budget as it currently stands.