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Betsy Dirksen Londrigan

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan

IL13 Candidate

Democratic Party

Questions & Answers

Answers printed as provided by the candidate, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

1.) What is the importance of the US Congress to residents of Champaign County?

We need real representation in Congress fighting for federal investment in Champaign’s infrastructure and economy. The opportunities here span from investments in clean energy by encouraging the installation of solar and wind farms to addressing the housing crisis with federal funds for new construction and modernization of affordable housing. Given the presence of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the federal government can also play an important role by providing student assistance through Pell grants and loans or investments in research and development and small businesses.

Congress can also play a vital role in addressing the issues facing the rural communities of Champaign County. Mitigating the devastating effects of this administration’s trade war on our farmers will require ongoing federal support while farmers work to find new markets for their products.There are still areas in Champaign County that are underserved in terms of broadband connection and we need federal funds to help bridge the digital divide.

2.) Why are you qualified to be a member of the US Congress?

The job of our representative is to carry the concerns of the people of the 13th to Washington. As a lifelong resident, voter, taxpayer and mother in this community, as well as a UIUC graduate, I know firsthand the challenges that people in Central Illinois face. I have focused my campaign on bringing people together to solve these challenges and I believe the broad support for my candidacy demonstrates the strong coalition we are building. I am proud to once again receive the endorsements of End Citizens United, an organization dedicated to getting big money out of politics, as well as by the League of Conservation Voters who share my belief that clean water, air and land are human rights. Additionally, EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood are once again supporting me because I join them in trusting women to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families.

My campaign is also endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Steelworkers, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council. Unions like these built the middle class and strengthening them will help reverse the enormous and growing income inequality in our nation. It is vital we work to grow the economy from the center out, not the top down, and I will always stand with the working men and women of Central Illinois.

3.) If elected, what is something you want to accomplish as a Member of Congress, and how long will it take?

In 2009, when my son Jack was 12, he lay in the pediatric intensive care unit in critical condition. Jack had developed a rare, life-threatening illness from a tick bite. We were sitting in a hospital where our previously healthy son was in a medically induced coma with a ventilator breathing for him, fighting for his life. After 24 days, Jack started on the long road to recovery. I am so grateful for the medical team that saved his life, for the community that rallied behind us, and for the insurance coverage that helped us avoid bankruptcy. In 2009, my husband and I lived every parent’s nightmare, but because we had access to quality health care we brought my son home and our family did not go bankrupt.

As I travel around the 13th district, the number one issue I hear about is still health care. Whether it’s access to quality, affordable health insurance or the rising cost of prescription drugs, people need help. In Congress, I will work to stabilize the Affordable Care Act and protect the Patient Bill of Rights. I will support a public Medicare option that can compete with private insurers, starting with communities with one or no providers and small businesses. I will work to pass into law the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 which will allow Medicare to directly negotiate lower prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies. I believe these are immediately achievable goals which will have a real and positive effect on people’s lives.

4.) Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?

From the high costs of prescription drugs to preventing gun violence to climate change, we need representatives working together to find commonsense solutions. Instead of working for us, however, we currently have a Congressman who works for the big corporations and special interests. Rep. Davis has voted eleven times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Pharma corporate PACs while voting against lowering prescription drug costs. He has taken money from Big Oil corporate PACs and the NRA while voting against legislation to keep us in the Paris Climate Accord and against requiring universal background checks for firearm purchases.

These votes stand in direct conflict with the expressed needs of the residents of Champaign and people throughout the 13th district. I refuse to take any corporate PAC money in this campaign or when I’m in Congress because I want to be very clear with my neighbors across the 13th district that I’m going to Washington to represent THEM, not corporations and special interests. I will fight for commonsense legislation like the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, Climate Action Now Act, and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act as well as the For the People Act to get big money out of politics.

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