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Schakowsky vs. Sangari: 10 questions for the candidates running for the 9th District of the U.S. House of Representatives

COVID-19 has destroyed too many jobs. It has also shattered families, exposed the flaws in our healthcare system, and diminished the United States’ leadership role in the world. Remember, the world watched as the President suggested we all drink bleach and shine ultra-violet light through our bodies. Our economy, and our credibility, must be rebuilt, and it must start now. Our phones ring throughout the day with constituents who have lost their jobs and don’t have the money to make ends meet or keep their homes. Their jobs may not be there when the economy recovers. Unemployment insurance, personal stimulus monies, and small business support cannot be neglected. Donald Trump’s lack of leadership, knowledge, science-driven policy has paralyzed the United States’ ability to reverse the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot “re-open” our economy until the public health situation is under control, and our kids are back in school, no matter how much wishful thinking we possess. How can it be that we are 4% of the global population, yet we have 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases and casualties? We are approximately 6 months into this tragedy and we may soon experience a 2nd wave. President Trump does not have this under control. The upcoming election cannot come soon enough. We need Joe Biden in the White House to act immediately to bring science into the conversation (not conspiracy theories and lies) and coordinate our nation’s governors, mayors, local officials, business leaders, tribal leaders, religious leaders, science and technology leaders, and others, to implement a national strategy to tackle this virus aggressively once and for all. I want to return to the U.S. Congress because the House of Representatives will play a key role in developing and launching the necessary programs to compliment President Biden’s efforts. This includes establishing a strong contact-tracing and reporting regime; assuring that our medical solutions are science based, and that a safe vaccine comes to the market as soon as possible; making certain our front line healthcare workers have all the necessary PPE to assure their safety; cautiously work to reopen our economy and our schools in safe ways; and protect the most vulnerable amongst us – particularly our nation’s seniors. All of this must be achieved before we can expect to re-grow a robust American economy capable of creating jobs and putting America back to work. Among the legislation that needs to pass is HR 2, the Moving Forward Act which creates a comprehensive infrastructure program that includes among many other things surface transportation program, mass transit, rail, rebuilding rural grant program, and investments in many other sectors. As a labor union member myself, I will support the legislation that facilitates workers joining and creating unions and makes union busting harder to accomplish. Union workers across the board earn significantly more that nonunion workers in the same jobs. If we are to rebuild the middle class, we need to empower labor unions to collectively bargain and to protect their members.

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