Expanding Opportunity

Investing In People

In spite of Illinois’ extraordinary potential, people and jobs are leaving. This is a stunning failure, and it is unacceptable. We have a lot of work to do if we want to create the economic stability needed for businesses and families to invest in Illinois. Our state has tremendous potential, but too many people are struggling to get by while the millionaires and billionaires at the top are only getting richer. If we want our state to thrive, we have to level the playing field.

Education

To make equity and economic opportunity a reality in Illinois, everyone must have access to a high quality public education, from pre-K through college. Daniel believes this, and that’s why he has introduced legislation expanding access to childcare, and fought to fix the state’s worst-in-the-nation school funding system, even at a cost to wealthier schools in his district. Here are a few of Daniel’s positions on education:

  • Free tuition. It used to be widely understood that people needed an elementary and high school education to earn a living; that’s why society has always provided free primary and secondary public education for all. In today’s economy, a high school diploma is often not enough to guarantee a fair shot at a middle class life. It’s time to expand the promise of free public education to encompass college. Read more>>
  • Fixing the school funding formula. Springfield’s current system for funding public education in Illinois is the most regressive in the country, hitting low-income districts across Illinois the hardest. Rather than punish children for their zip code, the system should be reformed and fully funded. Daniel has fought for legislation to do just that.  Read more>>
  • Expanding access to child care. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between earning a living and being with their children, and that’s why Daniel has fought to expand access to childcare. With expanded childcare programs, children can begin their education and parents can earn a living, or go to school and further their own education. Read more>>
  • Reforming schools. Daniel supported important reforms for the Chicago Public Schools, including an elected school board for the district, the last in Illinois without one. Read more>>
  • Protecting student loan borrowers. At a time when a quarter of student loan borrowers are behind in their payments, more needs to be done to ensure borrowers understand their rights and have access to resources that will prevent them from defaulting on their loans. Daniel has fought for landmark legislation to make this the law in Illinois. Read more>>

In order to achieve educational equity and justice, much work lies ahead. Schools must be kept open and financially secure, teachers must receive the support they need, and all students — not just students from a few communities — must have access to neighborhood public schools with a rich curriculum, social supports, and reasonable class sizes. As governor, Daniel will fight for progressive school reforms, an overhaul of the Illinois school funding system, and continued expansion of crucial services.

Health Care for All

The U.S. spends more money per person than any other country in the world, but millions of Americans still went uninsured before the passage of the Affordable Care Act—including many in Illinois. While not perfect, President Obama’s plan was a huge step in the right direction. It has transformed the health care system in Illinois and across the country. It has increased health insurance coverage to over one million Illinoisans, and has brought billions of federal dollars into Illinois while creating tens of thousands of jobs. Daniel’s record on health care includes:

  • Fighting for people with pre-existing conditions. Daniel didn’t just organize against President Trump’s American Health Care Act. He also passed legislation guaranteeing that even if Trumpcare went into effect, Illinoisans could not be denied coverage simply because of a pre-existing condition. Read more>>
  • Covering those with disabilities. Daniel co-sponsored a bill requiring that insurance companies cover hearing aids for all under the age of 18 who needed them. Read more>>
  • Expanding Medicaid. Daniel voted for a bill expanding total Medicaid eligibility, brought billions of new federal dollars in for healthcare, and brought coverage to over 300,000 uninsured Illinois residents.

However, there’s more work to be done. Health insurance is still too expensive for many, and too many Illinoisans still do not have access to care. Daniel will fight for Medicare for all in Illinois, so that healthcare is finally treated like the universal right it should be.

Clean Energy and Protecting the Environment

Environmental protection is more important today than ever. Daniel has always been a strong supporter of environmental protection, working closely with environmental advocates and formulating creative new ideas of his own. Here are a few of Daniel’s positions on energy and environmental issues:

  • Adhering to International Climate Regulations. As a result of the fallout from Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, Daniel pledged to enter Illinois into the U.S. Climate Alliance if elected governor. Read more>>
  • Reducing carbon emissions. Daniel has long advocated for commonsense environmental policies, like cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030; this will increase energy efficiency in Illinois, create jobs, and reduce global warming a great deal.
  • Investing in alternative energy. Daniel sponsored a bill authorizing the state to conduct research on wind farm development along Lake Michigan. Read more>>
  • Supporting major electronic recycling law. As a new state legislator, Daniel passed a landmark electronic recycling law, keeping millions of pounds of electronic waste out of landfills and creating jobs in the recycling sector. Read more>>

The work doesn’t stop there. Reducing carbon emissions needs to be a priority. Illinois must move to a fully renewable energy mix, preserve its rivers, prairies, and woodlands, and make sustainability a goal in future infrastructure investments.

Crime and Violence

Across Illinois, neighborhoods are suffering from the scourge of gun violence; it is a statewide epidemic, tearing apart communities and shattering families. This cannot continue. A solution is needed that emphasizes the revitalization of affected communities and strong relationships with law enforcement. Daniel’s past work in these areas includes:

  • Ensuring Police are accountable. Daniel supported a bill authorizing civilians to record police officers, because he feels police accountability and holding police to the standard of law they uphold is crucially important. Read more>>
  • Enacting Smart Gun Laws. Daniel sponsored a bill requiring all gun dealers in Illinois to have a license; this is one of many policies addressing  gun violence by enforcing requirements that keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more>>

But there is so much more to be done. First, more police officers need to be hired statewide, and we need to invest in critical social service and violence prevention programs that do important work in violence-afflicted communities. Then, investing in the economic revitalization of economically struggling communities is hugely important; after all, the most powerful violence prevention program is a job. It is no coincidence that crime has spiked on the South and West sides of Chicago — they are the same communities the city and state has left behind for a generation or longer. Finally, more commonsense gun safety policies, like the gun dealer licensing bill Daniel sponsored, need to be passed.

 

Click here for a downloadable version of Daniel’s platform on Expanding Opportunity.