Home Foreclosure Austin Talks | Candidates for the 7th Congress share their views – except it’s time for a change

Austin Talks | Candidates for the 7th Congress share their views – except it’s time for a change

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Guns activist Kina Collings, 31, stared down U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis at the end of a recent candidates forum organized by the NAACP on Chicago’s West Side and said running against the longtime congressman wasn’t easy because he has a rich history on Chicago’s West Side.

Then, she added, “it’s time for a change.”

Davis, 80, replied, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Davis’ campaign has focused on reminding voters of his accomplishments in Congress, where he has represented residents of Illinois’ 7th District since 1997. Davis has been more active on the campaign trail. participate in community eventsholding online town halls and even airing TV commercials than last year.

collins, challenging Davis for the second time in the Democratic primary, hopes to bring change to the district. In 2020, the Austin native won just 13.8% of the vote, while Davis easily won with 61.4%. Teacher Anthony Clark and lawyer Kristine Schanbacher were also on the ballot two years ago.

This time, Denarvis Mendenhalla West Side resident and Air Force veteran, is also in the running.

The race has attracted national attentionas well as local coverage by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Grandstand.

Collins, considered by many to be more progressive than Davis, won the endorsement of a number of liberal groups, including popular action and Justice Democrats. Justice Democratsa national political action committee, is notable for assisting the representative from New York. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated fellow Democrat Joe Crowley after 10 terms.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Collins’ campaign after supporting the congressman in the previous election. Last weekend, the New York group “The Strokes” played in Chicago to support his run for Congress.

Davis was endorsed over the weekend by President Joe Biden. In a statement released Sunday morning — just two days before the primary — the president said Davis “is deeply rooted in his community” and has served with passion and integrity.

The congressman is close to both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the Sun-Times reported. “When Harris was running for president in 2020, Davis was one of his earliest supporters. Once she gave up, Davis endorsed Biden at a critical time…one day before the nation’s first presidential vote in Iowa,” the Sun-Times reported.

The three Democrats vying for the 7th congressional seat share the same positions on most issues, including affordable housing, foreclosure assistance, labor rights, reparations and marijuana legalization.

However, unlike the other candidates, Collins has touted his support for the cancellation of all student loan debt. She also promises to address the life expectancy gap which primarily affects Chicago’s black population by creating a health care task force during his first 100 days in office.

One area of ​​disagreement surfaced at a candidates’ forum recently in bethel new life; the three contenders were asked if they support transgender women competing with other women in sports.

Davis said: “Women who are women should play in women’s sports and men who say they are men should play in men’s leagues. I don’t think women should try to play football with the Bears.

Mendenhall said transgender women shouldn’t be allowed to compete with other women: “God made us different, so I don’t believe men should cross over no matter how much hormonal suppression they have, they shouldn’t be able to cross for women’s sport. »

Collins said she supports the LGBTQ+ community and rejects the idea of ​​convincing other elected officials about it, saying she would rather focus on building support for important issues such as the right to vote.

“I think the GOP has done a really good job of creating an echo chamber to create another band we can hate instead of playing real stuff.”

Although Davis and Collins have similar priorities, Collins said she plans to address gun violence through prevention strategies that include education, housing, and pandemic relief and recovery for families.

Collins also highlighted health care and COVID-19 relief and recovery as part of the top three priorities she would champion if she beat Davis.

“I think we need to hold the gun manufacturers accountable for the illegal gun trade that continues to happen here in the state of Illinois and primarily in the city of Chicago,” she said.

Davis said the top three priorities he deals with on a daily basis are poverty reduction, criminal justice reform and education. “African Americans are the most incarcerated people in the United States of America, and Americans are the most incarcerated people in the world,” he said.

At last month’s forum, candidates were also asked about issues that specifically affect Austin residents, such as affordable housing and air pollution.

Quoting a recent study which revealed that Austin had one of the highest air pollution levels in Chicago, particularly at the intersection of Chicago and Cicero avenues, panelists asked the candidates what specific steps they would take to protect the West Side residents of the health effects caused by traffic-related air pollution from companies like Amazon.

Collins, supporter of a Green New Dealsaid she would actively work with organizations such as People’s Action to ensure she develops intersectional policies that facilitate the transition to a green economy.

“When I say I want a community benefits deal, it’s so big companies like Amazon don’t step in and be held accountable when people’s lives are at stake,” he said. she stated.

Collins has championed climate justice as part of her campaign with environmental organizations such as Action by Friends of the Earth and the sunrise movement approving it.

Davis said he had a 96% voting record on environmental issues and recalled past environmental achievements, including when he helped shut down a trash incinerator on the West Side years ago. In 1996, under then-Mayor Richard Daley, the City of Chicago announced the closure of the West Side garbage incinerator; Davis was then Cook County Commissioner.

Mendenhall agrees that there are “a lot of truck emissions” on the West Side, and he would encourage companies to invest in electric vehicles. It would also ask businesses to reduce traffic in school zones where families and children are present.

Asked about their plans to provide affordable housing, Davis said that as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, he had worked to create the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Mendenhall said the 7th District “looks like Afghanistan with all the vacant land,” so he would build in those areas and engage with community leaders and developers.

Collins said one of the steps she would take is to hold banks accountable for their lending practices and work to end discriminatory practices.

All three agree that home ownership is a gateway to wealth and that more needs to be done to ensure black Americans can afford to buy homes.

They also support the legalization of cannabis at the federal level, although their reasons differ.

Mendenhall said marijuana had “far more positive effects than negative effects.” He noted the medical benefits of marijuana and said he personally does not know “anyone who has committed a violent crime under the influence of marijuana.”

Davis has said for a long time that he opposed the legalization of cannabis, but finally “came back”.

Collins said cannabis legalization is not just an economic issue, but a criminal justice reform issue, as many “black men are still in jail for a bag of weed.”

Candidates were asked about who is funding their campaigns, including whether they accept funds from big companies that “interfere with the right of workers to organize” like Amazon.

Davis said he returned a $1,000 donation Amazon made to his campaign and stressed that he had been a strong supporter of the union during his political career and would continue to be part of “the fight against big business”.

By contrast, Collins’ campaign did “not take a dollar from corporations, real estate developers, or private equity.”

Mendenhall said he “wasn’t interested in their money”.

Collins raised more money than the rest of the contenders, despite the congressman having more cash on hand. The data kept by the Federal Election Commission shows Collins raised $298,102 between Jan. 1 and March 31, while Davis raised $151,386.

As of March 31, Davis said he had $544,000 on hand, while Collins had $125,000, according to Politics.

The last day to vote in the primary election is June 28; Polling stations will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Early voting continues at the Chicago Board of Elections at 191 N. Clark and at available early voting sites in all 50 neighborhoods. The 29th Precinct voting site is located in Amundsen Park at 6200 W. Bloomingdale Ave., while the 37th Precinct site is at the Chicago Library at 4856 W. Chicago Ave.