Kina is fighting for an America that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest people at the top. IL-07 is one of the most diverse districts in the country, but also one of the most unequal. Kina is focused on closing that gap by investing in working-class communities and securing healthcare as a human right, quality education, a livable wage, and safe streets no matter who you are or where you live.
Even before the pandemic, IL-07 had the largest life expectancy gap in the country. In Streeterville, your life expectancy is 90 years. Just a few miles away in Englewood, you’re only expected to live to age 60. It’s neighborhoods like Englewood that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic but are least likely to be vaccinated and receive COVID relief. We must fight for equitable vaccine distribution that prioritizes the communities disproportionately impacted and ensure that economic relief goes directly to working people. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered $1400 survival checks to Americans, reduced poverty in America by one-third, and dramatically expanded healthcare coverage throughout the pandemic, and if Democrats continue to act with urgency, we can do so much more.
We need $2000 monthly survival checks for everyone, including mixed-status households and undocumented people. We need emergency Medicare enrollment for people who are uninsured, a rent, mortgage and debt moratorium, and immediate economic relief for small businesses. We also need to cancel all student loan debt crushing millions of Americans. While at least one-third of Americans are vaccinated, we must continue to push for increased vaccine-administration education and accessibility.
Ending the climate crisis and preserving our planet works hand-in-hand with investing in our working-class communities. We need a Green New Deal to rapidly transition to a 100% clean and renewable energy economy while prioritizing the communities that have suffered most at the hands of industry polluters and deadly natural disasters that have increased in strength and frequency as a direct result of our warming climate. The Green New Deal is a 10-year mobilization plan that transitions the U.S. to clean and renewable energy by 2050, upgrades our infrastructure, and addresses the broader consequences of the climate crisis.
The Green New Deal is also a pathway out of poverty, creating millions of good-paying union jobs in the process of upgrading our infrastructure and transitioning us to a green economy. As home of the country’s third largest public housing agency, Chicago and the western suburbs in IL-07 need a Green New Deal for Public Housing to expand affordable housing, address environmental racism, retrofit affordable housing units for energy efficiency, and prioritize jobs that pay a livable wage for low-income residents.
Healthcare is a fundamental human right and the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified the cruelty of tying healthcare coverage to employment status. IL-07 has some of the greatest health disparities in the country. Medicare for All would provide us with complete and equitable access to quality healthcare for all people, including immigrants and undocumented people.
Medicare for All offers comprehensive healthcare that is free at the point of service for all people – no premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles. It also codifies access to abortion and combats discrimination in healthcare for the LGBTQ community and others who disproportionately struggle to access adequate healthcare.
Congress also must do more to protect healthcare access for the LGBTQ+ community. In Congress, I will fight for the Equality Act which would guarantee civil rights protections to members of the LGBTQ+ community, which would include outlawing discrimination in healthcare settings. Medicare for All would prohibit discrimination in healthcare against LGBTQ+ Americans.
We need to reimagine what public safety means for our communities. Our current justice system is more focused on retaliation than restoration. After the murder of Laquan McDonald, I started to see how violence extends beyond police brutality. There’s violence in closing public schools, divesting from public health measures, defunding community centers, and cutting access to social workers and counselors. When we divest from militarization and over-policing, and instead invest in social workers, counselors, mental health resources, and a stronger social safety net, we can build a system designed to connect and strengthen communities and not isolate and punish individuals.
We must legalize marijuana, expunge records, and prioritize directing wealth from the sale of marijuana to the neighborhoods and communities that were disproportionately targeted for decades starting during the racist War On Drugs. It’s time to close for-profit prisons and detention centers, stop the school-to-prison pipeline, and end cash bail. We can no longer accept a system that targets Black and Brown lives and preys on the poor. We deserve a justice system that holds law enforcement accountable and ensures that resources are being directed toward addressing the root causes of crime and not further militarizing police. We must continue to fight against white supremacy and urge the Biden administration’s Department of Justice to take the threat of white nationalism seriously in order to protect our communities and our democracy.
Gun violence is a public health epidemic. We must invest in in-depth research and prioritize trauma-informed education and care to break this cycle of violence. We know that common sense gun laws save lives and are broadly popular among Americans, but the NRA’s death grip on Congress has left our streets, our schools, our grocery stores, and our places of worship at risk. As a lifelong gun violence prevention advocate, keeping our communities safe and healthy has always been my top priority.
I support universal background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws that prevent those who are a danger to themselves or others from accessing guns. We must also invest in community-based violence prevention strategies that have been shown to reduce gun violence. I support raising the legal age to purchase a gun to 21 and banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. Intimate partner violence and gun violence are also inextricably linked, which is why we need to close the “boyfriend loophole” and pass the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act to protect survivors of domestic violence and prevent abusers and stalkers from accessing guns.
When I led the largest gun violence prevention non profit in Illinois I fought to block illegal ownership of guns, and to hold gun shops and gun manufacturers accountable for the guns that float into Illinois from neighboring states.
Safe, affordable housing is a cornerstone of public health. During the pandemic our homes were meant to be sanctuaries of safety, but the reality is that thousands of Chicagoans and suburbs of IL-07 struggle every day to keep a roof over their heads. Generations of discriminatory policies like redlining fan the flames of this issue for Black and brown families who are continually gentrified out of the communities they grew up in.
Housing is a human right but in America today, there are very few cities or towns where a full-time minimum wage worker could afford a livable two-bedroom apartment. In order to ensure that every resident of IL-07 has a guaranteed home, we need to invest in repairing and expanding public housing and fight for protections for renters against predatory practices. We must combat gentrification and exclusionary zoning. We also need to require “just-cause” for any eviction filing and ensure that all tenants have the right to counsel.
Our immigrant brothers and sisters come to America seeking a better life for themselves and their families, but for decades the promise of a better life has been broken. Immigrant families are living in a constant state of fear, magnified by policies that criminalize immigration and years of dehumanizing rhetoric. We must abolish ICE and use those funds to support immigrant families’ transition into America and ensure access to education, shelter, and other basic needs. It’s time to end mass deportation and detention and provide a fair pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people.
Over the past several decades, the cost of living has skyrocketed while wages remained stagnant. It’s more expensive than ever to start a family, America’s middle class is shrinking, and the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the wealth and income inequality crisis. Corporate-friendly politicians have protected those at the top while working-class families suffer. We need a fair tax system that requires corporations and the richest Americans to pay their fair share. We must also pass the PRO Act to guarantee a livable wage for all workers and strengthen union protections. In order to address economic disparities and build an economy that works for everyday people, we must protect key social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and do everything in our power to drive down the cost of education, housing, childcare, and healthcare that weighs so heavily on working families.
The last three decades have taught us that waging countless endless wars does not solve any of our most pressing foreign policy issues. It’s time we prioritize diplomacy as our foreign policy and hold all of our allies to the same basic standards of international human rights. If we want to be a global leader, it should be in diplomacy, not foreign wars, and that means also finally cutting the bloated defense budget.
The Pentagon has the largest budget of any agency – almost $800 billion – and most of that lines the pockets of defense contractors who profit off of waging war. We need to reinvest those billions of dollars in our real national security priorities: housing security, job security, healthcare security, climate security. It’s time for our nation to stop funding the invasion and destruction of countries abroad for corporate interests and instead work with other nations to build diplomatic relations in all regions of the world.