* Willie Wilson’s announcement statement…
America is at a crossroads and we need a leader in the United States Senate who will prioritize all people over a political party. Minority Whip Durbin has been in public office for 37 years, and many communities in Illinois have been ignored and forgotten.
He is out of touch with constituents. I attempted to arrange a meeting with Sen. Durbin and for four weeks I did not get a call back from his office. As a businessman, I ask what has been the return on investment for Durbin’s 37-year career? The statistics reflect record levels of unemployment, gun violence, disinvestment, and hopelessness in too many communities. To add insult to injury, Durbin voted for the pernicious 1994 Crime Bill that provided $8.7 billion to build more prisons and led to the mass incarceration of Black boys and men. Black males account for 6.5 percent of the population and 40 percent of the federal prison population. Sen. Durbin’s vote for the 1994 Crime Bill ensured that there are more Black men in prison than on college campuses. Sen. Durbin’s decision to look tough on crime has cost Black men their lives and broken up families.
“Just last week Sen. Durbin displayed his contempt for the Black and Brown community when he voted “no” to allow debate on Police Reform in the Senate. The deaths of George Floyd, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice and others at the hands of law enforcement demand police reform. Sen. Durbin knows that for young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death. Nonetheless, Sen. Durbin again chose the Democrat Party over the people. Sen. Tim Scott’s Police Reform Bill fell four votes short of allowing debate to proceed,” Dr. Wilson said.
“Sen. Durbin for three decades has stood in the way of building a third airport to accommodate growth in the South Suburbs of Cook County and congestion at O’Hare and Midway airports. Building a third airport would address overcrowding issues, improve safety, stimulate the local economy and improve the environment. I strongly support building a third airport for the South Suburbs,” says Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson stated: I am running for the United States Senate because Sen. Durbin has taken the African American community and others for granted. Quite frankly, his 37 years in office has caused him to become arrogant and out of touch with citizens from the Land of Lincoln. He has become drunk with the wine of power from the Potomac. He no longer can relate to the problems of people in Englewood, East St. Louis, Austin, and Aurora. Specifically, more than 1.6 million people left Illinois for other states between 2014-2018. Sen. Durbin’s propensity to raise taxes is driving people and businesses out of Illinois. He is more interested in serving the interests of lobbyists and corporations than the people. As a former sharecropper, I understand people, pain, poverty and business. I will always put people before politics.
“The COVID-19 pandemic unmasked the woeful investment the federal government has made in closing gaps in racial disparities in healthcare. In fact, more African Americans and Latinos have been diagnosed with and died from COVID-19. Sen. Durbin has failed in 37 years to improve the quality of healthcare for Black and Brown people in Illinois. For example, there is a 30-year life expectancy gap just based on where you live in Chicago. A person living in Streeterville can expect to live 30 years longer than someone in Englewood. Sen. Durbin has failed to address inequality in wealth, healthcare, housing, education, criminal justice, and contracting. He does not deserve another six-year term. As a part of the Senate Leadership he should be ashamed that he has not done more to improve the lives of poor people. There is no higher calling than serving others, I believe the United States Senate would allow me to better serve the citizens of Illinois and the nation,” Dr. Wilson said.
* I asked the Durbin campaign for a response. From his campaign manager Greg Bales…
Dr. Wilson is not an independent—he’s a Republican who publicly supported Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner, and contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates this election. On police reform, he opposes the Congressional Black Caucus and every major civil rights organization — including the NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund — and instead supports Trump’s position. A vote for Wilson is a vote for Trump and a Mitch McConnell controlled U.S. Senate.