MY PRIORITIES

Fighting for the future of Southern Illinois

Infrastructure

We live in the greatest country in the world. Yet everyday in Southern Illinois our kids struggle to access high speed Internet, our bridges crumble, potholes riddle our roads, and sewage leaks into police stations built 75 years ago. Whole communities lose access to clean water because rusty, breaking pipes haven’t been updated in decades. This is not what life in Southern Illinois should be. We must do better.

It’s time to literally rebuild Southern Illinois. It’s time to invest hard dollars in projects that will grow our economy, put thousands of people in organized labor back to work, and ensure Southern Illinois won’t be left behind in the 21st century. A four lane highway between Carbondale and St. Louis will make travel to SIU easier, which will help grow enrollment. Public investment that expands internet access will allow our communities that have been ignored by the big cable companies to compete on an equal playing field with the rest of the world. We need to make the ways we collect and distribute energy more efficient. We can use our brownfields for solar energy, and use our crops for biofuel.

Updating our grid will make our energy sources less susceptible to foreign hackers and put union electricians back on the lines. We must focus on the specific needs of Southern Illinois. The numerous infrastructure needs for the Kaskaskia must be a federal priority. Let’s fulfill the potential of the Cairo Port Authority, bring tourism to Cahokia Mounds by turning it into a National Park, build more ramps onto I-57 near Benton, and turn that old Bombardier factory into a hub for growing companies.

Fighting the Powerful Few

I grew up in Southern Illinois, and after serving in the Navy, I made a choice to return home. I made that choice because when you’re from Southern Illinois, you know right from wrong. You know your neighbors. You know the meaning of community. We all work together, and the need of others come before your own.

But that’s not the way it is in D.C. Political and economic power is being consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. They have a vested interest in seeing us divided and torn apart. As their power grows and near monopolies get bigger and bigger, every part of our lives fall beneath their shadow. The price of almost everything–healthcare, prescriptions, cable, and even beer–creeps higher and higher. Big Pharma profits from the opioid crisis it created, and then cowers behind donors in Congress. Meanwhile, a flood of dark, secret political money erodes the basic pillars of our democracy.

Southern Illinois deserves a Congressman who will take the basic, common sense decency of home to Washington. We need a leader who will stand with working families and hold the special interests to the same rules as the rest of us. It’s time for the hard working many in Southern Illinois to fight back against the powerful few.

Holding Big Pharma in Check

I was the very first prosecutor in Illinois to sue big pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid crisis ripping through our families and communities.
Still, Big Pharma’s grip over Congress just keeps getting tighter. We know that huge amounts of money flow from Big Pharma to Congress. Lobbyists paid by Big Pharma swarm through the halls and offices of our representatives. Checks arrive like clockwork in P.O. Boxes all over the country, and are promptly deposited into campaign coffers. All the the while, drug prices just keep going up and up.

So, what does Congress do? It hands Big Pharma a massive $50 billion windfall. But instead of investing in more research and hiring more people, the pharmaceutical companies lay off workers, cut research and development, and buy more of their own stock on Wall Street.

We need leaders who will keep Big Pharma in check. We need leaders who will allow Medicare to negotiate prices, a move which will save seniors’ money and lives. We need leaders who will listen to science, and will commit to easing the restrictions on cannabis research and removing marijuana from the Schedule 1 drug list. We need new leaders who will fight for our lives, turn down the easy money, and stop Big Pharma from blindly profiting off the destruction and pain of Southern Illinois families. We need leaders who will demand that pharmaceutical companies become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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