At a time when the partisan divide in our country is as wide as it has ever been, there is one uniting complaint from all people on all sides, and it’s something I’ve heard from people all over the 6th District: Washington is broken. It’s one scandal after another, and both parties just point fingers at one another for the fact that nothing gets accomplished. There is no compromise anymore, just blame. No statesmanship, just gamesmanship.
It’s time to usher in a new era of politics, one in which the partisan tug-of-war is abandoned in favor of pragmatic problem solving. Where politicians are accountable to all the people they represent, and not just their wealthy donors.
Regardless of how you feel about policy, little will get done until we fix our broken political system. As your congressman, I will strive to set a new standard for what you should expect from your congressional leaders, by focusing on:
Independence: The most important thing we can do is get money out of politics. Not only has the disastrous Citizens United ruling made it easier than ever for corporations to buy elections, but our elected officials spend hours every day calling donors to raise money for their next election. It’s no wonder representatives like Peter Roskam don’t vote in the interests of their constituents. Do we really think he voted to sell our internet search histories to the highest bidder because he thought it was good for the residents of the 6th District? I pledge that I won’t take a dime of special-interest money during the campaign or while serving as your congressman. While most other representatives are calling donors and asking how they’d like them to vote, I’ll be diving deep into policy to evaluate whether a proposed bill would help or hurt the people of the 6th District.
Accountability: Peter Roskam has an almost superhuman ability to avoid taking responsibility. He refuses to hold town halls, and typically won’t even defend his votes in the press. It’s painfully clear to his constituents that his only objective is appeasing Paul Ryan so he can rise in the Republican ranks. The people of this district deserve better. They deserve someone with the courage to listen to their constituents, even those who are critical of the decisions their leaders are making. They deserve someone who will explain in clear and honest terms the pros and cons of each piece of legislation they vote on. As your congressman, I will always listen to the voices of everyone in the 6th District (not just those who agree with me), hold town halls at every congressional recess, and explain every one of my votes to my constituents.
Collaboration: I am a passionate progressive, and I will not back down when I see injustice. But I also believe that all people deserve to be treated with respect. We must remember that most of Trump’s supporters voted for him because they, like us, care deeply about what’s best for America. In a broad sense, we all have the same goals: to make America the best country it can be. We just have different ideas of how to get there. We need to work together and respect one another. We need to stop looking at Republicans as the enemy, and eventually they may stop looking at us as the enemy too. We can be passionate advocates for justice without losing our common decency. I will strive to work together with pragmatists on both sides of the aisle to solve problems for the constituents of the 6th District.
Analytical problem solving: For decades, our government has turned a blind eye to tricky problems, allowing them to linger and, in most cases, grow. This willful inattention is a direct result of leaders with their own narrow agendas, who view problems primarily through the lens of what will help them win the next election. We need fewer ideologues in Congress and more teachers, scientists, and analysts. We need adults who take complicated problems seriously. I have been trained as a policy expert at the University of Chicago, and I am ready to use my analytical skills to tackle some of the most vexing problems facing our district, and our country. I’m a proud progressive, but I will always prioritize solving problems over a strict adherence to my personal philosophy. We face big, challenging problems in this country, but they can all be fixed if Congress can put aside its bickering and get down to the business of governing.
Paid for and Authorized by Ryan Huffman for Congress