1.) What is the importance of the US Congress to residents of Champaign County?
The challenges that will be faced in Congress over the next two years are the same ones that people in Champaign County and the 15th district will also face. The conflict between federal and state laws concerning marijuana have created a sub-class of citizens that needs to be addressed by our legislature. The effects of the ongoing climate crisis are especially potent in this area, impacting businesses, individuals, and families. Congress will allocate funds for infrastructure that are sorely needed and will bring economic growth along with it; it is essential that this area receive their fair share.
2.) Why are you qualified to be a member of the US Congress?
When I think of a "qualified" member of Congress, I usually imagine an older person with an established career and enough disposable income to fund getting their campaign off the ground. I picture someone who's been focus-grouped and field-tested and vetted by the party establishment, and who is ready to say and do all the things in the party manual that are necessary to get enough money to get them to the general election. I picture someone that will happily and quietly accept their committee assignments when they win, and vote however their whip tells them.
3.) If elected, what is something you want to accomplish as a Member of Congress, and how long will it take?
The word "consensus" doesn't just mean that the two sides will vote on what to do next; it also means that the side that loses is going to agree to go along with the results of that decision. By that definition, we have not had consensus in Washington DC in a long time. I want to move past adopting and repealing legislation as administrations and majorities change, and instead move into an era where both sides work in good faith towards a common goal.
4.) Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?
This is a dangerous time to be undecided. I grew up on American military bases in Europe as the Cold War was winding down, and I learned some very valuable lessons about what happens to a nation divided by ideology. Maybe I'm biased because I'm a high school English teacher, but I truly believe that education is the only way forward. The most dangerous thing now, though, is not to be uninformed, but to be overwhelmed by all the information that is available, and then give up.