Tag: Republican Party

In Maywood, A Congressman Takes Stock of Republicans

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Davis Maywood Town Hall 2During a town hall meeting he hosted on Aug. 14 at Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) gave a dire assessment of a political climate controlled by Republicans and lorded over by President Donald Trump.

“We probably are in the worst position that we’ve been in in a long time,” Davis said, referencing the Democratic Party’s minority status in most statehouses and in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “In Maywood, A Congressman Takes Stock of Republicans”

Congressman Blasts GOP Health Plan, Calling It ‘Nothingcare’


Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressman Danny K. Davis, state Rep. Camille Lilly and other lawmakers and community leaders during a press conference last Friday at Loretto Hospital in Austin. | Michael Romain/VFP

Monday, May 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Several years ago, a sudden, “catastrophic” diagnosis of end-stage renal disease forced Monica Fox to stop working.

“I spent three years on dialysis — three days, four hours at a time,” said Fox, who received a kidney transplant five months ago, a gift she attributed to the Affordable Care Act.

Fox spoke at a May 5 press conference convened at Loretto Hospital in Austin by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th), Rev. Jesse Jackson and other lawmakers, healthcare providers and union officials one day after the House Republicans narrowly passed a bill designed to repeal and replace the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare.

Fox and others who spoke at the press conference variously called the Republican plan “Trump-care,” “Trump-don’t-care” and “Nothing-care.”

“The ACA made it possible for me to have the proper insurance I need,” said Fox, who lives in the south suburbs.

“While I have been unable to work, I’m getting to the point of going back to work. If [the Republican plan] goes into effect, I will be faced with devastating news that i have a pre-existing condition that may not be covered by my employer’s insurance,” she said. “That’s disgusting and whoever thinks that’s a good idea is sick.”

The Republican plan, which passed 217 to 213 on a party-line vote, now makes its way to the Senate, where many Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Davis, believe it’s likely to either die from lack of support or be completely overhauled.

The House bill that passed Thursday is the Republican Party’s second attempt to repeal and replace the ACA since President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Both attempts have generated considerable popular backlash.

According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released in March, voters in the U.S. opposed the first GOP health plan by a 3 to 1 margin.

“Disapproval of the Republican plan is 56 – 22 percent among men, 56 – 13 percent among women, 54 – 20 percent among white voters, 64 – 10 percent among non-white voters, 80 – 3 percent among Democrats, 58 – 14 percent among independent voters and by margins of 2-1 or more in every age group,” reads a statement released by Quinnipiac in March.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the first version of the Republican bill, which failed to come to a vote, would take away health insurance from 24 million Americans within 10 years, cut federal funding of Planned Parenthood and it could spell the end of Medicaid expansion, a provision of the ACA which allowed millions of low-income Americans to receive health coverage, among other possible consequences.

During last Friday’s press conference, Jackson and others didn’t mince words when talking about the Republican plan’s potential effects on the lives of poor, elderly, disabled and minority Americans.

“In Illinois, 37 percent of the children receive coverage through Medicaid. There are 649,000 Illinoisans enrolled under ACA and this bill is designed … cut that out and replace it with Trumpcare, Nothingcare,” Davis said.

“Implementation of the Republican bill will lead to loss of coverage for 24 million people nationwide. Overall, 44,269 Illinois residents covered under the ACA and [more than 252,000] are covered under expanded Medicaid, which will be in danger in Illinois.”

“This is a shame, an international disgrace,” said Jackson, who also said that the attempt to repeal the ACA marked “the unraveling of our democracy.”

State Rep. Camille Lilly (78th), who is also Loretto’s vice president for external affairs and development, said that the repeal of the ACA will “harm our local community here in Austin and on the West Side. It will devastate us.”

Lilly referenced a bill she introduced that allows felons returning home from prison to get signed up with the ACA 45 days before their scheduled release.

Loretto’s CEO and chief medical officer, Dr. Sonia Mehta, said that a possible repeal of ACA would “negatively impact our ability to take care of our communities.” Mehta said that 85 percent of Loretto’s patients are enrolled in either Medicare or Medicaid.

Oak Park resident Melanie McQueen said that the bill will put children with preexisting conditions in danger.

“This is literally a life and death situation,” she said. “There’s no reason in today’s age we have children who will die because of something preventative. When we say it affects all of us, it affects even our unborn children.” VFP

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A Community Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

imageSunday, October 25, 2015 || By Rev. Regi Ratliff

Abraham Lincoln was elected to congress in 1847. The Mexican War was going on and Lincoln opposed the war. His anti-war speeches displeased his political supporters and he knew they wouldn’t re-elect him.
So at the end of his term in 1849, he returned to Illinois to practice law. Then in 1858, he was nominated by the Republican Party to run for Illinois state senator. Addressing the state convention at Springfield, he gave the first of his memorable speeches. As his hands tensely gripped the speaker’s stand, he declared slowly and firmly: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Although Lincoln was talking about the country being divided on the issue of slavery, this nation is still divided in many areas. Issues such as the division of race, socioeconomic class, political parties, and religious beliefs have brought our nation to its knees.

Nationally, the presidential election is around the corner and voters will need to decide if they want to elect quirky candidate Donald Trump, liberal Hillary Clinton, retired medical doctor Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, or a relatively unknown candidate in Bernie Sanders.

When watching presidential debates, each candidate attempts to separate themselves from their competitor by making divisive comments to get their point across. Apparently, in recent years, divisive barbs in debates have caused more division among voters than unity.

There could be various reasons why this is the case, but nobody knows. It could be because of a lack of trust towards the nation’s first African American president. It could be due to the nation’s economy still negatively impacting many families. A new Rasmussen study finds that 67 percent of likely U.S. voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. In addition, just seven percent think the country is less divided now; while 21 percent rate the level of division as about the same.

In Illinois, division has reared its ugly head to the point where very few politicians appear trustworthy. I don’t believe the voters paid any attention to businessman and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, when he proclaimed during his campaign, “Now let’s work together and Bring Back Illinois!!!”

Who did you think he would work with to make this happen if he became governor? Did you believe he was referring to the blue collar workers of Illinois? To the employees who provide social services to youth, senior citizens, the mentally challenged, the homeless, military veterans or citizens who are trying to overcome drug and alcohol addictions?

Rauner openly stated before becoming the 42nd Governor of Illinois that he was against raising minimum wage and he was still elected by the people of Illinois. So, why are we complaining about him now? Rauner is not a politician, he is a businessman.

What did we think would happen after defeating incumbent Pat Quinn? That he would change his mind and care about the less fortunate? Educational funding is still in limbo.
Schools, police departments and child care services across the state are impacted. Springfield is so divided that Democratic legislatures are unable to work together with Rauner to resolve the budgetary crisis. Moody’s Investor Services has cut the state’s financial position to three steps above junk as its budget stalemate drags into a fourth month.

Recently, I attended a Village of Maywood Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting. Talk about divisiveness! In the meeting, trustees were berating fellow colleagues publicly on various issues.
One trustee read a letter, publicly admonishing two of her colleagues for rejecting a proposal by a local school to utilize space at the Maywood multipurpose building on Fifth Avenue. Since the school did not follow proper procedures to obtain space in the building, which includes making a presentation to the Village board, questions arose about how they were able to obtain space. There were several additional arguments which took place, but they really aren’t worth mentioning. The point is we have a village of municipal leaders who spend more time plotting than planning.

Overall, the Village of Maywood is a community with great potential, but leadership leaves much to be desired. The unemployment rate currently stands at 11.8 percent, which is above the state average of 6.6 percent.

In addition, the average family income is just above $59,866, which is below the state average of $71,980. Only 33 percent of the population has at least a high school diploma, seven percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree, 3 percent has a master’s degree and .5 percent has a doctorate degree.
So what is causing such divisiveness in the Village of Maywood? How can a board — the members of which have lived in the village for decades, whose children and grandchildren attended the same schools as they have — lack the ability to work together?

Where are the families with a decent income spending their money? With a lack of industry, money does not circulate within the village and is quickly leaving the community. Families are shopping, entertaining and participating in recreational activities in neighboring communities. A weak economy results in a high crime rate, below average schools, and a village board who bickers over usage of the only real recreational building in town.

In order to restore a sense of unity from the state to the local level, several steps must be taken.
One, citizens must vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t care about your community.

Secondly, citizens must work together. This means spending time to volunteer at a local organization or church. Leaders in neighboring villages may not get along, but they have built a strong foundation of bringing in businesses, as well as providing services for their youth.

This brings me to my last point. If we expect our youth to stay out of trouble, it is incumbent upon us to provide year-round employment opportunities for our young adult population (18-25) and not just provide summer jobs.

As adults, we need to teach our youth about money management like leaders do for their youth in other communities. We need to teach our youth that it is more important to be student-athletes than mere athletes. There are many philanthropic and corporate foundations that provide funding to nonprofit organizations and local municipalities who service youth.

Do I expect everyone to get on the unity train and immediately take action to empower their community? Absolutely not! However, as a citizen, I expect more individuals to work together and make a pledge to improve their homes, their blocks and their communities.

We should elect leaders who really care about their constituents and who will make rational decisions that are in our best interests instead of their own.

In the end, I believe that once unity takes place at the local level, our communities will improve and that benchmark of success will rise all the way to Springfield. VFP

Reverend Regi Ratliff is the Founder and Executive Director of Eternal Light Community Services, located at 200 S. Fifth Avenue in Maywood. Eternal Light provides the following programs:public speaking, financial literacy, health and wellness, and entrepreneurship classes to youth, ages 5-18.

Contact Rev. Ratliff at (708) 813-4722 to register your child for one of our programs today.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Village Free Press.

A Glimpse at What a Republican-led Congress May Mean for Maywood, Proviso Township

Senate Republicans Address The Media After Their Weekly Policy MeetingSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters while flanked by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Barrasso(R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) at the U.S. Capitol on February 4, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Caption by WBUR. Photo by Mark Wilson for AFP/Getty Images.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

Programs such as Meals on Wheels and LIHEAP may suffer more draconian cuts

On Tuesday, the Republican Party won both chambers of Congress — they have a 243 to 179 advantage over Democrats in the House and a 52 to 43 advantage over Democrats in the Senate as of today.

The GOP’s two-party dominance, however, is tempered by the facts that a Democrat controls the Executive Branch; that they don’t have the 60-vote super majority in the Senate required to pass most of their desired legislation; and that they have nowhere near the 67 votes necessary to override President Obama’s vetoes.

That being said, though, Republicans still carry substantial weight in the area where it matters most — federal spending. That’s precisely the point where Proviso area senior citizens and low-income residents, for instance, may begin to worry.

Howard Gleckman of Forbes laid out the Republican potential to cut federal funds for programs affecting those demographics, namely seniors, in an article on Forbes‘ website yesterday.

“A top priority for most GOP lawmakers, including several newly-elected Republican senators, is to shrink the size of government,” Gleckman writes. “Because many will want to boost funding for the military, they will especially target domestic spending.”

“In that environment, senior services programs will do no better than have their budgets frozen for the next two years. And they could very well see significant cuts.”

Gleckman points out that such programs as “Meals on Wheels, supportive services, family caregiver support, and feeding programs for people in congregant care may be particular targets. Even President Obama’s 2015 budget would freeze these programs and others operated by the Administration for Community Living. Obama proposed cutting the overall ACL budget for this year. Look for a Republican Congress to cut even more deeply.”

President Obama already slashed funding for low-income programs such as the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP — which he cut by 20 percent). Republicans will likely seek to cut it further, Gleckman notes.

In Maywood, Meals on Wheels is administered by the Community Nutrition Network (CNN), which used to operate out of the Maywood Public Library until it moved recently. LIHEAP is administered by the Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA) in Maywood. Attempts to contact representatives from both organizations about the possible cuts were unsuccessful.

To read more of Gleckman’s article, click here. VFP

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