Strengthened by unprecedented political support, Illinois House legislators are uniting in a new Progressive Caucus to provide a better direction for the state.
Leaders and members of the new Progressive Caucus in the House today used a Statehouse news conference to discuss its platform of principles and legislative agenda for the 2019 session:
Minimum wage: Working families shouldn’t have to work hard and live in poverty. Increasing the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 an hour around Illinois, phased in over several years with tax credits and with other protections for small businesses, will help lift up Illinois families and improve our economy. This legislation already has cleared the Senate and will get a vote in the Illinois House today.
Adult use of cannabis: Legalizing marijuana use by adults, with tight regulations and sensible taxation, will reverse a trend of senseless incarceration for minor drug users and create economic benefits for Illinois.
Small donor match: The influence of big-dollar donors and candidates in Illinois politics must be curbed. Creating a donor-matching system where tax dollars can help support political candidates who raise campaign funds in small amounts and level the playing field.
Progressive Caucus members also plan to lead and weigh in on a number of other initiatives, including the push for a constitutional amendment to create a progressive income tax where wealthier Illinoisans pay their fair share to fund critical state programs and services, such as education, health care and social services.
Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, outlined the caucus’ statement of principles and vision for going forward.
“It’s a new day in Illinois, and we’re excited to lead on this bold agenda,” Guzzardi said. “By enacting these policies, and by organizing around our shared vision, we’ll be able to move our state forward and pass legislation that will transform the lives of the people of this state. I’m excited to be a part of this Caucus, and to stand together with so many of my colleagues in this work.”
The Progressive Caucus members are: Co-Chairs Reps. Guzzardi, Theresa Mah, and Carol Ammons; Treasurer Rep. Celina Villanueva; Secretary Rep. Delia Ramirez; and member Reps. Kelly Cassidy, Sara Feigenholtz, Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Greg Harris, Rob Martwick, Joyce Mason, Aaron Ortiz, Lamont Robinson, Anne Stava-Murray, and Maurice West.