Friday, June 29, 2018 || LETTERS || @maywoodnews
When temporary workers faced serious hurdles in the workplace, state Rep. Carol Ammons stepped up to pass the Responsible Jobs Creation Act. When students in Chicago and around the state from low-income areas desperately needed a new school funding formula, state Rep. Will Davis was there to help lead the charge. And when minority-owned businesses have needed a lift, state Sen. James Clayborne and I have worked together to provide them new opportunities.
Black lawmakers best represent their communities because we know the challenges our constituents face. Yet Bruce Rauner has the gall to go on a Chicago radio station and claim he’s the best Illinois governor ever for the black community, and doubled down when we protested by claiming we are ineffective in Springfield.
Governor, you just don’t get it, and never will.
Gov. Rauner made clear as soon as he took office four years ago he was choosing the elite over us. He hasn’t visited any communities in my district just west of Chicago, and you won’t find him in many other predominantly black neighborhoods and communities.
His Turnaround Agenda? Its anti-union, anti-worker approach will tear families apart, and gut the benefits and security needed by the people I represent. His achievements in office – from the education formula and a balanced budget this year to higher education reforms – are all initiatives led by the Legislature that he wants to take credit for. Now he’s ecstatic about the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus that will only further undermine the strong union jobs that provide for so many of our families.
But most galling is his claim that Black Caucus members are ineffective at the Capitol. The record shows otherwise:
- House Bill 690, Rep. Ammons’s efforts to help temporary workers, many of them black
- Senate Bill 262 and House Bill 2976, Sen. Clayborne and my bills to ensure the state is helping minority-owned businesses succeed
- Senate Bill 1947, the historic school funding formula that provides millions of dollars more for schools in black neighborhoods, thanks to Rep. Davis
- House Bill 514, allowing for sealing of criminal records for those acquitted, pushed by Rep. La Shawn Ford to help blacks find a better path in life
- House Bill 3157, from Rep. Sonya Harper would address food deserts to provide more healthy food options in black neighborhoods
- House Bill 5020, which I sponsored creates a 4-year MAP grant program to help low-income students attend college
- Senate Bill 2332, from Rep. Camille Lilly would reduce smoking in the black community by raising the age to purchase tobacco
- House Bill 5877, Rep. Litesa Wallace’s effort to ensure any legislation we vote on fully considers the impact on racial and ethnic minorities
The list of legislative achievements is much longer, but I should also note the Legislative Black Caucus Foundation provided $1,000 higher education scholarships last year to 65 students. That is $65,000 in college aid for black students to help them achieve their dreams.
We have many challenges in Illinois, and in the black community. But Governor, taking credit for accomplishments that aren’t yours and spreading misplaced blame is the very definition of ineffective. Illinois deserves much better.
— State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, 7th District
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