Lauren Underwood, 33, just lately spoke to EBONY about her marketing campaign to change into the following U.S. Consultant for the 14th Congressional District in Illinois and unseat present GOP U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. Underwood is competing in a district that normally helps the GOP, however her message has linked with folks within the district, particularly ladies.
EBONY: Why did you resolve to run for political workplace?
Underwood: I’m a registered nurse from Naperville. It’s about 45 minutes west from Chicago, and I stop my profession working to broaden well being care protection in communities throughout our nation. First, by working to get the Inexpensive Care Act on the federal stage, I labored in non-public insurance coverage reform in well being care high quality within the Medicare program. I then joined the Obama administration the place I labored on the Division of Well being and Human Companies and labored on issues similar to Ebola and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan.
Throughout our time in Flint, the 2016 election occurred. Like so many, I assumed we had an opportunity at hand off our work on Flint, hand off our work on well being reform to see we wish to proceed ahead the progress. However then we received the Trump group who made it instantly clear they wish to take away well being care protection for the American folks, and that’s not why I turned a nurse or did any of this work. I knew that I couldn’t keep in authorities to assist them try this. I made a decision to return dwelling to Illinois as a result of [Medicaid was expanded under the ACA] and I started working for a Medicaid managed care firm in Chicago. After I discovered that Rep. Randy Hultgren, my opponent, one and solely participant in 2017.
[Hultgren who was running unopposed at the time was at] a moderated query and reply session hosted by an area chapter of a league of ladies voters. He stated he would solely assist a model of Obamacare repeal that allow folks with pre-existing situations preserve their healthcare protection. At first, the promise was actually vital to me as a result of I’ve taken care of sufferers who rely on their protection so as to afford any medicines or procedures that they might want.
Like so many Individuals, I’ve a preexisting situation. It’s a coronary heart situation. It’s one among these diagnoses that I wouldn’t have the ability to get protection underneath the repeal state of affairs. When he made that promise, I believed him as a result of it was private, after which he went and voted for the American Healthcare Act, which was a model of repeal that did the other. It made it price prohibitive for folks like me to get insurance coverage protection.
I imagine representatives ought to be clear and sincere about their votes, they need to be accessible to the group and finally they need to know they’re accountable to the voters. He didn’t appear to acknowledge any of that.
I made a decision It’s on, I’m working and I launched the marketing campaign in August 2017. I ended up working within the main towards six guys, I received 57 % of the vote and now we’re [less than a month] away from the final election.
What’s it about your message that you simply suppose resonates with folks?
I’m an everyday particular person. I’m anyone who has set my profession working within the healthcare area, which I’ve an inexpensive stage of experience given my function as supplier and as a affected person.; I’ve labored for insurance coverage firms, so I’ve seen this difficulty from totally different angles. I used to be on the lookout for a consultant to have my again and to verify they had been working to revamp our healthcare system. My district has 300,000 individuals who have preexisting situations. Thousands and thousands of Individuals who fall in the identical class as I do, be sure we might have inexpensive protection. When he broke his phrase, that was it for me. I feel that lots of people can relate to a promise made that wasn’t saved to a consultant that doesn’t present up for our communities. He’s been gone for 16 months, 16 months not having public occasions, not having city halls, not participating with voters.
I feel that I’m connecting with of us in my group on a elementary values stage. We’re aligned in recognizing the necessity for inexpensive well being care and supporting public training. All these core points which can be high of the road for voters all throughout the 14th District. And I’m a hometown woman. That is the place I grew up, this isn’t like I’m anyone who simply got here in. I’m not a profession politician…that is authentically actual, that is my story and I feel lots of people acknowledge that fact.
Aside from well being care, what different points are you working on? What difficulty is crucial to voters?
Healthcare is the no. 1 difficulty on this election. Drug costs are too excessive, premium costs are too excessive. They’re actually on the lookout for management in Congress that’s going to work for middle-class households. Second, is the financial system. I’m in a group proper out of Chicago. Most individuals are working in my district, we’re lucky in that manner. Folks listed here are a part of the higher center class, incomes a median of $105,000 a 12 months. Most individuals are working in and across the metropolis of Chicago, they’re not working in our group. So meaning with out financial alternatives in our communities, our suburbs are in danger. We will’t entice new residents by pulling them in for job alternatives that restrict the flexibility of our group to develop.
I assist issues similar to a federal infrastructure that helps and improves our roads and bridges, which could be fairly harmful within the rural elements of our district. To approving cellular broadband, which even an hour outdoors of Chicago will get fairly spotty. We actually have to make some main enhancements to broadband and commuter rail.
Now we have two counties that haven’t any commuter rail choices. If financial…goes to be within the metropolis then we should be connecting our residents to these alternatives. Now we have seen what occurs when communities construct round their transit hub. There are retail alternatives and business alternatives in these downtown transit facilities. I feel that’s a very concrete native technique that solves the issues we’ve on this district. A congress and consultant can assist create actual change.
The final coverage difficulty is said to households. Each single city has an ideal public college and we’re fortunate to have the ability to say that as a result of I do know there are such a lot of across the nation that aren’t in that scenario. Public training is a core worth in our district. Our present consultant is somebody who believes in class alternative like Betsy DeVos. We don’t have charters and we don’t have voucher faculties in my district, we simply have nice public faculties. Whenever you do college alternative it simply means taking away assets from our nice public faculties and disadvantaging our college students and that’s mistaken. We’re speaking about methods we will reinforce the federal funding in public training, and allow our children to be in a worldwide financial surroundings.
Why is it vital to exit to vote or to register to vote?
It’s critically vital. We’ve seen what occurs after we keep dwelling and assume that anyone else goes to vote. After we assume that anyone goes to knock on doorways and make the telephone calls. We assume that our buddies are going to exit and vote. After we assume we find yourself within the scenario the place we’ve chaos and confusion in Washington, we’ve a do-nothing Congress, we’ve widespread corruption, religion in authorities is at an all time and we’ve representatives who will not be working for the folks.
If we don’t’ vote we are going to find yourself with a Congress that wishes to assist all the things Donald Trump needs to do or find yourself with a Congress who will actually not present up for folks. We’ll find yourself with a Congress that helps an agenda that so many American households, together with and particularly African-American households. I’m going to say it’s extremely simple to vote early in Illinois, you possibly can vote by mail. I feel it’s vital all of us benefit from this proper that we’ve as residents to go solid a poll.
I speak to folks and I hear two issues: one, folks suppose their vote doesn’t matter and it received’t change the result of an election, and that’s merely not true. Each two years your complete U.S. Home of Representatives is up for reelection. You could have the chance to make a change within the path of our nation. It’s critically vital that we benefit from that chance to elect representatives to the Home that would be the voice of the folks. Two, I hear that folks suppose it’s exhausting to vote. They don’t perceive what’s required once you go into your polling web site, they don’t have a good suggestion on who the candidates are. I feel that you need to have an concept the place your county municipal constructing is or Metropolis Corridor. It’s price simply going. It’s fairly simple to vote. There are such a lot of assets on-line to assist clarify what’s on your poll. One useful resource that I discover is Ballotready.org. It explains each candidate, each poll referendum for those who put in your zip code and deal with. It is going to inform you what your poll appears like. Now we have to learn voters, however let’s not let unfamiliarity actually preserve us from exercising that elementary proper as a citizen.