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Over the past couple of weeks Blue America has been making the case for electing Illinois state Senator Toi Hutchinson to Congress. Earlier today, the senator made the case for herself at a live chat at Crooks and Liars. I think her responses-- and the responses she made to Nicole Sandler's questions on her radio show Monday-- are indicative of what we're looking for in representatives of working families. She isn't going to be another out-of-touch rich person fighting for the rights of banksters to rip off consumers or for the one percent to not have to pay their fair share of taxes. Judge for yourself:

Asked about the support she had voiced for the public option while speaking with Nicole, she gave a fuller explanation:

I’ve always been a strong supporter of the public option because I don’t think it’s ok that there are so many people in our country that are just one illness away from going broke. We heard so many times that the problem with the public option was that it would make it impossible for private companies to compete. So if we had a publicly funded plan that provided quality care, people would migrate to it from the big insurance companies? That’s competition! That’s exactly the kind of thing the right-wing should be encouraging.

What I said on the show yesterday was that healthcare delivery is just like mail delivery in this way. Fedex is the private option, USPS is the public option. And the reason it doesn’t cost $99 to send a package through the private option is because the Postal Service will do it for $6. The public option holds private carriers accountable, and having a public option for health insurance would do the same thing. If it’s able to efficiently provide coverage and afford a high standard of care to patients, then that’s something we as a country should embrace.

And no on the crusade against the Post Office-- 6 day delivery! Seriously though-- I represent rural areas that depend on the post office to be open and working six days a week. I don't agree with attempts to cut that short.

Her main primary opponent, ex-Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, joined the Republicans in voting against consumer protection in financial markets and against Wall Street reform. That has a lot to do with why so many Democrats were disillusioned enough to stay away from the polls in 2010 and let a Republican beat Halvorson. When asked if she would have voted differently, Toi was happy to draw a distinction between herself and the self-described "conservative Democrat" Halvorson.
Absolutely. I was deeply disappointed to see her vote against Wall Street Reform. I think the reality is that that bill didn’t go far enough, but it was a critical first step. For too long we’ve put a premium on protecting big banks and big business instead of regular people. Wall Street sent our economy over a cliff in 2008, and the response was over a trillion dollars in aid while countless thousands of Americans lost their jobs, homes, and savings. The purpose of Dodd-Frank is to make sure that doesn’t happen again, so that risks taken by a few fat cats aren’t paid for by millions and millions of regular people that just can’t afford another collapse and bailout like that. And it’s not just the restrictions on bailouts and too-big-to-fail, which we have to keep working on, but it’s also the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. There’s no question in my mind that these were critical steps, and that it is a legitimate role for government to make sure that big corporations can’t deceive and rip off regular people in the future.
And when asked if her admiration and respect for President Obama-- a former Illinois state Senator himself-- would influence her to put her progressive ideals aside for him, she was adamant that she wouldn't.
I don’t think the party of the President, or the state from which he hails, should affect how I or any congressperson does their job in the least. My constituents are (hopefully) electing me because of the vision I have articulated and the judgment I have demonstrated. That means that a bad policy doesn’t become good merely because of the immense respect and admiration I bear for the President. The Afghanistan example is a good one-- we have to bring our military home from that engagement. But there are other good examples out there as well-- I am nervous when Democrats talk about a grand deficit bargain that would slash Medicare and Social Security. For me, these cuts are just not an option at this point, and I fully intend on standing up for the seniors no matter who is issuing the proposal to slash their benefits. President Obama is such a massive improvement after the last years. I think his heart is in the right place and that he truly intends to fight for regular people in places like the district I seek to represent, but I’m asking people to elect me on the strength of my principles and my record. That’s a sacred trust, and I intend to honor it no matter what.
One of her "Democratic" opponents, Napoleon Harris is virulently homophobic and anti-Choice and really pretty Republican on most issues. He's 180 degrees away from where Toi is coming from-- and going to.
I'm proud that Illinois was out-front at first on decriminalizing homosexuality, and I'm hoping that it's the next state to legalize marriage equality. We almost got it done in the lame duck session at the beginning of the month, but feel a little short, but I'm hoping we get it done during this upcoming regular session.

And yes, I'm absolutely working on it. I voted in favor of civil unions a few years ago when it came up, and I'm a cosponsor on the current legislation to make this state truly equal.

You know, my husband Paul is the product of a mixed race marriage. When his parents got married, Loving v. Virginia hadn't happened yet and there were states that still outlawed their relationship. So in a real way, I feel like I can connect to the importance of this issue. They made the same excuses back then as to why mixed race marriages shouldn't be allowed-- "unnatural", the sacred institution of marriage, etc. It was ridiculous then, and it's ridiculous now. I'm looking forward to voting in favor of equality in Illinois in the next few months.

Blue America has a goal of raising $5,000 for Senator Hutchinson's campaign this week. We're getting close, mostly with small contributions from all over the country. If you can help, here's the special ActBlue page we set up for the special election primary next month.

Originally posted to downwithtyranny on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 03:04 PM PST.

Also republished by Land of Lincoln Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Toi Hutchinson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downwithtyranny, TracieLynn

    My son is working on her campaign. I grew up in Homewood so I told him I would canvass there - had a lot of fun, people were very receptive. When I lived there in the 1950-1960s it was totally white - sad to say but an African-American doctor's new home was burned down in the 60s. Watch the video on her website - she would make us proud.

  •  I heard her (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    interview with Nicole Sandler yesterday.  She's very impressive. and will get my financial support.  Wish I could vote for her, but wrong state!

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 06:44:30 PM PST

  •  Your facts are wrong (0+ / 0-)


    Some of your facts about former Congresswoman Halvorson are incorrect.  I'm not sure where you got them.  I know Debbie well and grew up in the same town with her.  I also like and respect Senator Hutchinson, but I'm beginning to wonder if Toi and her team understand how Washington operates.

    Congresswoman Halvorson voted YES for the final version of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Her yes vote is here:  I'm dismayed that Senator Hutchinson's team is misleading the voters in IL-2.  

    Please also keep in mind that Debbie Halvorson represented a Republican District IL-11 prior to the 2010 remap.  She was a strong supporter of Obamacare ( you can find her 2008 commercials talking about her own family's healthcare issues online) and most likely lost her seat because of this vote.  As you know, it wasn't just Debbie that was swept out in 2010 by the Tea Party and Republican nonsense.

    As a gay man, I hardly consider Debbie a conservative Democrat.  She is a progressive and pragmatic Democrat.  She is also a strong supporter of veterans' issues.  Keep in mind that Senator Hutchinson worked for former Congresswoman Halvorson.  I'm sure Senator Hutchinson wouldn't work for a conservative Democrat.

    The three polls that I've seen had Debbie ahead in all of them.  Senator Hutchinson has been between 2nd and 4th in the same polls.  Toi's main opponents include Robin Kelly, Senator Napoleon Harris, Alderman Anthony Beale, and Debbie.

    When no one else would stand up to Jesse Jackson Jr. and run against him, Debbie did what was right for the voters in the District.  She is one of the hardest working people I know and truly tries to make a difference in people's lives.  The 2nd District needs someone who knows Washington and can help south Chicago and the southern suburbs of Chicago immediately.  Debbie is the only one in the race with that vision and experience to make it happen. None of her opponents have both state and federal experience.

    I hope that you correct your statements because Senator Hutchinson is not the only progressive in this race.

    Thank you.

    •  Halvorson Is Not A Progressive (0+ / 0-)

      When Halvorson's vote was needed, she opposed Dodd-Frank:, only voting for it when the Conference Report came back from the Senate and it was a done deal.

      As far as her being a conservative, not only did I interview several Members of Congress who described her as one, she described herself as one according to the Washington Post, which you can read here. Is she better than a Republican? She'll vote with the Democratic leadership most of the time but she will, once again, always be pulling the House Democratic caucus in a rightward direction. And she's a shill for Big Business in committees, working with Republicans to water down progressive initiatives.

      Senator Hutchinson is a far better choice for the district and for working families across the country.

      •  Are you in the district? (0+ / 0-)


        I suspect that we are on the same side as Democrats.  I want someone who is a fighter and progressive on issues too.

        Quickly looking at your blog, I suspect that you do not live or have any association with IL-2.  That's ok.  If you would come and visit, I'd be happy to give you a tour.  My entire family and most relatives reside within the district.  We are all Democrats and most know Debbie.  Some know Toi.

        Both are great ladies.  Toi worked for Debbie.  Not sure why Toi would want to work for her if Debbie was so conservative as you say.

        You and I both know that Senator Hutchinson is not telling the whole truth when she says that Congresswoman Halvorson voted against Dodd-Frank.  It is rather slimy to say so and not constructive for a district that really needs a leader in Washington.

        Come and visit and we can talk about the new IL-2 and the old IL-11.

        I'm happy to converse with you anytime.


        •  Halvorson vs Wall Street Reform (0+ / 0-)

          Halvorson was a conservative Democrat in Congress whenever she could get away with it. Aside from voting against Dodd-Frank when it counted, she voted against mortgage cramdowns.  She voted against Jim Marshall's amendment to HR 4173.  The amendment would have allowed  bankruptcy courts to modify the terms of mortgages on primary residences by extending repayment periods, reducing excessive interest rates and fees, and adjusting the principal balance of a mortgage to a home's fair market value. It also would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Administration, and Rural Housing Service to facilitate mortgage modifications.  [House Vote 963, HR 4173, 12/11/09, Rejected 188-241 R 4-170 D 184-71] This was a HUGE deal for progressives.

          That same year-- the year before she was defeated for reelection-- she also voted against allowing federal preemption of state consumer financial laws, Barney Frank's amendment to HR 4173. The bill expanded federal preemption by permitting the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to overrule state consumer financial laws if they impaired national bank business and authorize $4 billion of TARP funds for housing relief.  It also stipulated that Consumer Financial Protection Agency regulations did not supersede state or federal consumer protection standards, clarified that the Financial Services Oversight Council was the chief regulatory body for systemic risk regulation, and increased Federal Reserve ability to prevent mergers, acquisitions and consolidations of non-bank financial holding companies.  [House Vote 954, HR 4173, 12/10/09, Passed 240-182 D 239-10 R 1-172]

          •  You obviously don't live in this district (0+ / 0-)

            You obviously don't live in the district and have your own agenda.

            Please keep in mind that Toi was Debbie Halvorson's chief of staff. I personally know Debbie and she is a great woman and hard worker. Debbie lost her seat in a Republican District that Nancy Pelosi recruited her to run in. Remember that she was the IL Democrats Senate Majority Leader before she was willing to put her seat on the line for her country and help Nancy Pelosi increase her majority in the House. She won in 08 like many Dems and worked hard to get Obamacare passed (see her commercials touting her personal healthcare stories online from 08 and 10). She supported Lilly Ledbetter, the Matthew Shephard Act, and other progressive legislation in a Republican District. She lost in 2010 to a tea partier like so many other Democrats. Now you want to trash a leader who worked so hard for progressive legislation and support President Obama. This is quite disheartening that you would trash someone who helped to move a progressive agenda forward in a really tough district.

  •  Toi is not a Progressive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have a hard time thinking that someone with an A rating from the NRA could be considered even close to being a Progressive especially in the state of Illinois. Toi isn't a progressive on this issue and neither is Debbie Halvorson for that matter. Napoleon Harris definitely isn't progressive and probably wont come even close to winning this race. Anthony Beale is the only candidate from Chicago but I'd say he falls in the category of just begging to get caught doing something stupid corruption-wise and Mel Reynolds, I mean come on. Really seems to me that the only serious candidate in the race who is actually a bonafide progressive is Robin Kelly and really going after candidates on pay raises is really weak. I'm venturing a guess that as soon as Toi gets hit on the gun issues her campaign crumbles.

    •  Toi Hutchinson & gun control (0+ / 0-)

      If that's your main issue, you might want to read this post about it. She addresses it head on.

      •  Toi Hutchinson cannot run from her "A" rating (0+ / 0-)

        from the NRA. That is how she feels and she should proclaim it. The only way you get those ratings is from filling out the NRA questionnaire. The fact is Toi sought their support. Toi cannot have it both ways. Robin Kelly is the only "real" and "true" progressive candidate in this race.

        "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!" - Margaret Mead

        by Reading on Walden Bookstore on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 12:52:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "The" progressive? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty far from this district but I've never read anything that lead me to believe Robin Kelly isn't a fine progressive Democrat.

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