* Another Dem primary…
[US Rep. Bill Foster] is getting a primary challenger from the left for the suburban 11th Congressional District Seat. Will County Board Rachel Ventura, a progressive from Joliet, jumped in the March primary against Foster, who lives in Naperville. As of June 30, Foster has $3,104,802.93 cash-on-hand in his political war chest.
On Saturday, Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, officially launched her campaign to challenge U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, in the 2020 primary election.
Ventura emphasized a list of progressive policies on health care, the environment and immigration in an attempt to contrast herself with the incumbent.
“America does not need nor want transactional politics, nor pay-to-play politicians,” Ventura said. “We want our voices to be heard and represented.”
Ventura decried a “broken” political system and endorsed a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, the Green New Deal and comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. She also specifically criticized Foster for not supporting a Medicare-for-All health care system, and even said it was one of the reasons she thought to launch a primary challenge against him.
* From June…
A group of about 15 people protested outside U.S. Rep. Bill Foster’s office to pressure him to support a single-payer health insurance proposal called “Medicare for All” on Friday.
Leaders of the local chapter of Our Revolution, a progressive organization created by supporters of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, led the demonstration. […]
Other local officials such as Will County Board members Herbert Brooks Jr. and Rachel Ventura participated in the demonstration. Ventura shared her personal story of her fear in leaving her previous marriage with an abusive husband and losing health insurance in the process.
“If we do not have health care as a right, there are millions of people in relationships, abusive relationships, and they fear leaving,” Ventura said. “And they stay in a horrible situation because they’re too afraid. That is not a government that works for everyone.”
* Last week…
Although she’s readily admitted this will be an “uphill battle” opposing Foster, who has retained that seat since 2012 on a moderate voting record, Ventura is convinced “the time is right” for a more progressive candidate to help fix what she sees as “signs of a crumbling society.”
Ventura became even more convinced in June, she told me, when she said Foster “blew off” her and a group of protesters who’d gathered at his district office to discuss a single payer healthcare system, after telling the media he’d meet with them.
* Her top priorities if elected…
The Green New Deal has to be the first priority. We have to start addressing climate justice. When I say climate-justice I mean for it everybody, not just the wealthy few at the top, but everyone is being affected. We are all in this together. We need to make sure we are taking care of one another. The Green New Deal is about infrastructure, jobs, emissions, cleaning up pollutants, and then I would say Medicare for All is my second priority. They are both equally important and investing in people telling them they are valued. Healthcare is a human right. We have the money for it now. We are wasting so much money on having insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies profit off of the suffering of others, and enough is enough.
She said in the release she recognizes the national significance of the race as the divide spreads wider between the Progressive Democrats and the New Democrat Coalition, a conservative caucus that Foster belongs to.
“We are living through a tumultuous period of upheaval and crisis and I feel like our current representative is in a state of stasis,” Ventura said.
* Greg Hinz…
Foster responded with a big list of endorsements, including eight Democrats who serve on the Will County Board with Ventura, Will County Executive Larry Walsh and several state legislators.
Foster also put out a statement strongly defending his stances on some of the issues highlighted by Ventura. For instance, according to Foster, with the middle class “overtaxed,” the better solution to health insurance woes is to create competition and lower costs by strengthening Obamacare and creating a public-option health insurance plan.
On the environment, Foster said that despite opposition from the Trump White House, “I’ve been successful in securing additional funding every year for research into clean energy technologies that will ensure we have the methods we need to actually combat climate change at an acceptable cost to the global economy.”
Perhaps more important, Foster reported $3.1 million in his campaign war chest as of June 30, while Ventura has had to start from scratch. Foster also has hired the same campaign team he used to challenge then-GOP incumbent Denny Hastert in 2008, including strategists Pete Giangreco, Jef Pollock and Tom Bowen.
* Foster’s endorsements…
Will County Board Members Speaker Denise Winfrey (District 8), Majority Leader Mark Ferry (District 13), Majority Whip Tyler Marcum (District 10), Reverend Herb Brooks (District 8), Mimi Cowan (District 11), Jacqueline Traynere (District 4), Margaret Tyson (District 3), and Joe Van Duyne (District 6), all endorsed Foster’s campaign.
Local elected leaders are also standing will Bill Foster, including State Senator Laura Ellman (IL-21), State Senator Linda Holmes (IL-42), State Representative Barbara Hernandez (IL-83), State Representative Natalie Manley (IL-98), State Representative Larry Walsh Jr. (IL-86), Illinois 11th Congressional District Democratic State Central Committeewoman Julia Beckman, Illinois 11th Congressional District Democratic State Central Committeeman Duffy Blackburn, Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr., Bolingbrook Village Trustee Bob Jaskiewicz, and Fox Valley Park District Commissioner Mavis Bates. […]
(L)ocal Democratic Party leaders are also standing with Foster. Jeff Boetto (Chairman, Troy Township Democrats), Kevin Clancy (Chairman, Plainfield Township Democratic Organization), Greg Elsbree (Chairman, Aurora Township Democrats), Ken Griffin (Chairman, Lockport Township Democrats), Nora Gruenberg (Chairwoman, New Lenox Township Democrats), Nick Palmer (Chairman, Wheatland Township Democrats), Kim Savage (Chairwoman, Downers Grove Township Democrats), and Bill Thoman (Chairman, Will County Democratic Central Committee)