Stop the Migration
The population of Illinois has decreased 3 years running. No other state in the Midwest has had such losses. Illinois lost 80,000 tax paying millennial voters between 2011 and 2015. In 2016 we had the highest population loss in the union. We need policies in place that address this major issue facing the state.
WELCOME SMALL BUSINESS
Illinois recently was given a rating of "F" by the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey. We need to embrace small business, to make it easy to start a business and hire.
Alex has proposed a tax levy for new small businesses in manufacturing and technology to help foster economic growth in Illinois
GROW MANUFACTURING JOBS
Illinois has lost 12,000 manufacturing jobs just this year. Chicago was once the manufacturing capital of the world, but not so much anymore. Indiana has been stealing our jobs for the past decade by providing a better business environment. We need:
Budgetary issues have forced local governments to increase their tax rates, due to funding not coming from the state for education among other things. These new rates have forced many out of the state. The state of Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country. The statewide average effective tax rate is 2.67%, nearly double the national average. Some Illinois homeowners are paying more in property taxes than they do on their mortgages.
We need to place a levy on any tax increases, while the government works on ways to be able to decrease this tax burden. Increasing taxes without a proper way to reform programs is irresponsible and only hurts the middle class.
Illinois has a constitutional requirement to balance its budget. The last time Illinois has had a balanced budget was in 2001. Illinois families live on a budget to support their households, why should the government be different?
We need to fix key social programs that many rely on from the state, not eliminate these programs.
Illinois has the highest effective total state and local taxes rates on the middle class than any other state in the Union. This has forced hardworking Illinois families to find work and residence outside the state. We do not need higher taxes to cure the budgetary problems, we need to eliminate the overspending by the state.
Alex is against any new taxes until we fix the programs that new taxes are compensating for.
ALLOW ILLINOISANS TO REFINANCE STUDENT LOANS
It makes no sense that you can get an auto loan today with an interest rate of 2.5%, but millions of college graduates are forced to pay interest rates of 5-7% or more for decades. Americans would be able to refinance their student loans at today’s low interest rates.
SUBSTANTIALLY CUT STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES.
Setting student loan interest rates would go back to where it was in 2006. If this plan were in effect today, interest rates on undergraduate loans would drop from 4.29% to just 2.37%.
REDUCE THE COST OF COLLEGE.
45% of Illinois college bound students go to school out of the state. This is because the average tuition in Illinois, ranks the 5th highest in the country. We need to make college affordable to Illinois students.
Alex believes that all children deserve the right to a quality education, not just those who live in wealthy areas:
Guaranteeing resource equity is a core tenet of the federal government’s role in education policy. We need to work to reduce the resource disparities that currently exist between schools in wealthy and low-income areas.
The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers — the two largest teachers unions in the U.S. — both strongly oppose vouchers. The AFT labeled them an attempt “to undermine or otherwise diminish the role of public education in our society.” The NEA, meanwhile, “opposes school vouchers because they divert essential resources from public schools to private and religious schools, while offering no real “choice” for the overwhelming majority of students.”
Like the two largest teachers unions in the country, Alex is “strongly opposed to any voucher system that would re-direct public education dollars to private schools, including through the use of tax credits.”
With limited healthcare exchange partner options in Illinois, premiums in 2017 will increase 46%. We need a healthcare system that works, to be able to provide everyone with affordable healthcare.
MEDICARE FOR ALL
Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America's health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.
Thousands of Illinoisans are working for totally inadequate wages. We must ensure that no full-time worker lives in poverty. The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. We must increase it to $12 an hour over the next several years. With these measures, we will be able to significantly increase the median household income in Illinois.
Gerrymandering of districts has made some politicians unstoppable in getting elected. Because of this a majority of Illinoisans are for term limits. We need either redistricting reform or term limits to control each elected officials power. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely"
Criminal Justice REFORM
Mass Incarceration: We incarcerate far too many people, a disproportionate percentage of them are people of color. Rather than spending resources to incarcerate people who aren’t an inherent threat to society — such as nonviolent drug offenders — we need to spend more on education, training, and jobs that will reduce crime.
Changing the Nature of Incarceration: We need to abolish private prisons, and focus on rehabilitating those serving time through education and job training. These initiatives can set them up for success upon release and reduce recidivism.
Capital Punishment: Civilized nations should not execute criminals. In the case of an exceptionally heinous crime, Alex favors life imprisonment over the death penalty.
The Republicans have a majority in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House which allows them to pass absurd and irresponsible legislation which does devastating harm to working families.
But we have a majority of the American people who understand that it is enormously dangerous and reckless for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any replacement at hand. Our job is to bring that majority together and tell Republicans that we will not allow 30 million people to be thrown off of health care, Medicaid to be decimated, Medicare to be privatized and prescription drug costs to go up for seniors - all while the top 2 percent receive $346 billion in tax breaks.
2016 was once again the hottest year on record, yet Donald Trump has nominated a number of people for positions in his cabinet who do not accept the science that humans are responsible for climate change. We need an administration that will take action to combat climate change, not deny that it exists and is caused by human activity.
We will not go back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end a pregnancy. The decision to have an abortion must remain one for a woman, not the government. And we will not go backward to a time before Planned Parenthood, when millions of women had no access to birth control or cancer screenings. We must go forward to ensure full reproductive justice for all women.
Caring for our veterans
While people can have legitimate differences about when our country should go to war, there should never be a debate whether we fulfill the promises made to the men and women who served this country in the military.
We have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. VA facilities need to provide proper and prompt care to our veterans.
Employment: We spend hundreds of millions to train our service members to do highly skilled jobs, but too many still struggle to transition into civilian jobs because they don't have the right certifications and licenses.
If you can drive a military truck in combat, with hazardous cargo, at night, through a sandstorm, then you can drive a commercial truck on an interstate. If you can dock or anchor a 10,000 ton warship under extreme stress, you can do the same thing for a small commercial ship.
We need to make is easier for these individuals to gain access to well paying jobs once they come back into the civilian world.
Healthcare: We need to improve the healthcare of all service members. Providing mental health services, and improving the actual healthcare of these individuals in paramount. For too long the care that they have had to endure has been sub-par, which is unacceptable considering how much they have sacrificed for this county!
PROTECT THE REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS OF WOMEN.
Republicans continue to attack the fundamental rights of women to control their own bodies. As Governor, Mr. Paterakis, would not cut initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.
MAKE QUALITY CHILDCARE AND PRE-K AVAILABLE TO ALL ILLINOIS FAMILIES.
We need to make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every family, regardless of income. It is unacceptable that the cost of a quality childcare program is out of reach anyone in Illinois.
We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it. Planned Parenthood provides vital healthcare services for millions of women, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services. The current attempt to malign Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.
We are not going back to the days when women did not have full access to birth control.That is unacceptable.
The vision for the future of this country should be one in which candidates are not telling billionaires at special forums what they can do for them.
Real campaign finance reform must happen as soon as possible.That is why we need to pass legislation to require wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. More importantly, it is why we need to move toward the public funding of elections.
Legalization of Marijuana
The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access.
Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation's largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.
Scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.
PROMOTE CONSUMER SAFTEY
Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use.
We must protect the rights of every Illinoisan. We must end discrimination in all forms.