Congressional races in 3rd, 4th, and 7th Districts are hotly contested
March 8, 2018

By Peter Winslow

In three of the four Congressional districts in this community, voters will choose among candidates in the March 20 primary to see who represents them in Washington, DC for the next two years.

Bobby Rush.

1st District (D)

Incumbent Congressman Bobby Rush is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Rush first was elected in 1992 and strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA), and believes firmly in stringent gun control legislation.

He said two of the biggest issues facing his constituents are lack of jobs and accessible education. 

Rush serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

In his time in Congress, he noted he has gotten passed or assisted with legislation “that has improved our environment, strengthened consumer safety, created jobs, and sustained businesses.”


Jimmy Lee Tillman II.

1st District (R)

Jimmy Lee Tillman II is unopposed in the Republican primary. He is a businessman and father of three. This is Tillman’s fourth run for the nomination; he won the GOP primary in 2014.

Tillman supports middle class tax cuts and will advocate for an infrastructure program to create jobs and opportunities. He also said he opposes any form of amnesty for individuals that would unfairly hurt the Black community that “already has limited access to resources.” 

He noted, “African Americans need a voice in the Republican majority that will bring our issues to the floor of Congress.”


Dan Lipinski.

3rd District (D)

Incumbent Dan Lipinski hopes to win re-election in November for an eighth consecutive term. Since 2004, Lipinski has sponsored legislation advocating for the middle class, backed transportation and infrastructure developments, and invested time into bringing jobs to the district.

Regarding the Trump presidency, Lipinski said he has voted against the President’s budget plan and “his plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, removal of the U.S. from the Paris climate accords, his tax cut for the wealthy, among many others.” Lipinski originally had voted against the ACA when it passed in 2010.

Lipinski thinks President Trump has proved himself to be “uninterested or incapable of proposing solutions to issues most important to Americans.”

Lipinski supports stringent gun legislation. He has co-sponsored H.R. 1478, which would end the Federal ban on conducting research on the causes and consequences of gun availability and crime. “One step we need to take is to do more to keep guns out the hands of criminals and those suffering mental health challenges,” he said, noting the country could curtail the National Rifle Association’s influence by diminishing the role that money plays in politics and by strengthening community-based action.

Lipinski believes Congress should develop legislation to allow legal immigrants to become a part of our nation while preventing unlawful immigration. He agrees with protecting DACA recipients and co-sponsored the Bridge Act, which would protect recipients from deportation and give them work authorization for an additional three years.

Since the ACA became law, Lipinski has opposed repeals and fought for revisions that would not raise Federal debt. He said, “The best thing that Congress can do to promote health insurance coverage is to work to stabilize the ACA markets, bring down costs, and enact policies to keep premium growth under control.”

Lipinski is not among a total of 167 House Democrats who favor the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the Federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. Lipinski supports raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour and indexing it for inflation.


Marie Newman.

Marie Newman is a former businesswoman, published author, and former executive director of Team Up to Stop Bullying, a national nonprofit organization. Newman intends to fight for working families, protect small businesses, advocate for a Medicare-for-all model, and champion equal rights for all.

Newman believes President Trump is “a danger to democracy, is reckless internationally, and is against all basic and civil rights.”  She particularly disagrees with his immigration, civil rights, and trickle-down economic policies.

Newman believes the most important actions to reduce gun violence are to “create universal background checks, ban assault weapons and bump stocks, and keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, criminals, and terrorists.”

Concerning immigration, Newman said, “My core beliefs include that everyone should have a path to citizenship. We are all immigrants, and we all drive the American spirit, culture, and the American economy. Therefore, I support all legislation that protects not only DACA but all immigrants’ ability to live, work, receive healthcare, and prosper with a path to citizenship.”

Regarding the ACA, Newman remarked that Congressman Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against the ACA and that she supports strengthening the act until we move toward a universal model.  “Healthcare is a right and not a privilege,” she said.

Newman said she believes in putting the needs of small business ahead of those of big corporations as well as creating livable wages and tax relief for working families, reversing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to get big money out of politics, relieving debt for college graduates, and supporting apprenticeship programs.


Arthur Jones.

3rd District (R)

Arthur Jones will claim the GOP primary nomination for the 3rd Congressional District. Jones is a retired insurance agent who lives in suburban Lyons. Since the 1990s, he has run in the 3rd District GOP primary seven times and never won. He supports much of the Trump agenda, although Jones said he disagrees with Trump about “the Jewish member in his family” Jared Kushner.

Jones is an outspoken Holocaust denier and has been linked with white supremacist, racist, and anti-Semitic groups and beliefs. His website includes his opposition to kosher food and has a graphic of an elephant wearing a Confederate flag.


Sol Flores.

4th District (D)

The 4th District seat is an open one, as longtime Congressman Luis Gutierrez decided to retire.

Sol A. Flores, is executive director of La Casa Norte, an organization she founded 15 years ago. The agency delivers housing and social services to homeless families, single parents, victims of domestic violence, and abandoned youth.

Flores believes that “So many of Trump’s decisions have already been detrimental to the constituents of the 4th Congressional District—from the racist travel ban, to removal of protections for transgender people in the military and in schools, to the decisions to turn his back on the Dreamers, to efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act, and so much more.” 

As gun violence continues to plague Chicago, Flores said, “We need universal background checks to ensure that guns do not get into the hands of criminals, felons, domestic abusers, and other illegal purchasers.” She vehemently supports closing loopholes for unlicensed gun dealers as well as a ban on assault rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines.

As a proud daughter and granddaughter of Puerto Rican emigrants, Flores opposes “Trump’s mean-spirited and shortsighted abolition of the DACA program.” Fighting for the 800,000 Dreamers will be a top priority for Flores if elected. She supports making a permanent pathway for immigrant students reared in the United States to attain legal residency and American citizenship.

In her work with the homeless, Flores said she has seen firsthand what it means for families and children to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. “We cannot afford to kick 13 million Americans, including millions of Illinois residents, off of health coverage, which is what the Republican tax law does,” Flores said.


Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was born in Mexico. His political track record includes election as the 22nd Ward Democratic Ward Committeeman in 1984, Alderman of the ward in 1986, and becoming the first Illinois State Senator of Mexican heritage in 1992. He has served as Cook County Commissioner for the 7th District since 2010, and he ran for Mayor in 2015, taking the race against Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a runoff before losing.

Garcia endorses reasonable gun legislation and supports “unified background checks for gun sales and certain kinds of rifles that are not designed for sport use” such as assault rifles, he said. Garcia believes the U.S. should follow models like those of Australia and the European Union, which have constrained gun ownership and subsequently lowered shootings and related deaths. “The plethora of guns in this country clearly contributes to the escalating level of violence,” he said.

Believing that “immigrants are the lifeblood of this country,” Garcia supports DACA. “We should be clear that we are a nation of immigrants; my district alone has 230,000 foreign-born residents,” he noted. Garcia believes America should continue to accept immigrants and refugees and establish proper vetting systems. “At a time when important domestic programs are being starved of funds, we must also fight against the multi-billion dollar boondoggle of a wall,” he said.

Garcia supports the ACA and will attempt to improve its implementation. He endorses the idea of moving toward universal coverage and finds “it is not acceptable that in the wealthiest country in the world we still have 29 million people uninsured,” he said.

With a large number of Puerto Ricans in the northern part of the district, Garcia promises to advocate for the millions of Puerto Ricans who lack a vote in Congress. With tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans having fled to Chicago because of Hurricane Maria’s devastation, Garcia wants to be their spokesperson. 

He promises to fight against any Trump policies that could potentially hurt the 4th Congressional District’s constituents. 


Richard Gonzalez.

Richard Gonzalez has been a Chicago police officer for the last 25 years, holding the rank of sergeant, and is the executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit that provides non-discriminatory housing to low-income and minority families.

Despite finding President Trump unprepared to hold office, Gonzalez said he would support any policy or initiative on the part of the President that benefited his constituents. “President Trump’s ideas do not match mine, but I will work wherever I can for the good of my Illinois community, regardless of the source of the initiative, including that of the President,” Gonzalez said, noting he would vote against any policy he found discriminatory or harmful to the environment and economy.

Regarding gun control legislation, Gonzalez believes the first order of business is winning support of gun owners for sensible gun control measures. Garcia thinks “hammering” the NRA is not the most effective approach. He believes in credible background checks and mental health screenings as well as restrictions on bump stocks and gun ownership for those with convictions for violent crimes and domestic abuse.

Gonzalez describes immigration as “especially close to the bone” to him, being of Hispanic heritage. “I support DACA and advocate for the immediate suspension of deportations that threaten to separate families or that force the exit of children in this country who have lived virtually their entire lives in the United States,” he said.

While Gonzalez thinks the ACA “aims in a beneficial direction,” he questions whether it truly provides affordable healthcare to many low- and moderate-income people. Gonzalez favors a Federal government-sponsored single-payer system supported through tax dollars.

Gonzalez believes the 4th District has three inter-related issues that need attention: youth employment, educational opportunity, and crime prevention.


4th District (R)

Mark Wayne Lorch, a corporate financial advisor for Duff & Phelps Corp., is running unopposed in the Republican primary. At Duff & Phelps, he appraises company valuations, advises on mergers and acquisitions, and delivers independent services to a range of public and private companies across the globe. He served as a senior vice president at Mesirow Financial before joining Duffs & Phelps. 

With no competition on the ballot for the 4th District’s March 20 primary, Lorch chose not to comment on any questions prior to the election. 

Anthony V. Clark.

7th District (D)

Anthony V. Clark is a teacher at Oak Park River Forest High School, military veteran, and founder of the Suburban Unity Alliance, which aims to showcase diversity in suburban communities while raising discrimination awareness through collaborative and equitable philanthropic endeavors. 

In regard to gun violence, Clark views State and Federal gun control as a multi-pronged issue. “I am not interested in taking people’s guns away, as it is their right.” said Clark. He endorses legislation to ban assault rifles and bump stocks but thinks working on the ground to treat the interconnected issues such as mental health and lack of opportunity is just as important. 

Clark ardent supports the Dreamers and DACA. “I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship without compromising and funding a physical wall that most agree is unrealistic and useless,” said Clark. “Outside of Native Americans and African Americans, America is a nation of immigrants, and the current administration’s actions are an affront to true American values.”

He identifies himself as a 100% grassroots candidate who wants to fight for Medicare for all, tax reform that empowers the middle class, foreign policy reform, equal rights, fixing our economy, LGBTQIA rights, environmental protection, solutions to homelessness, education reform, marijuana legalization, social security protection, and many more hot button issues.

If elected, Clark said he would dedicate his “life to working at a grassroots level, tapping into intersectionality to create vision, elicit public and political support, create policy, and fight for policy that reverses America’s economic and social decline while leading to prosperity for all citizens.”


Danny K. Davis.

Danny K. Davis has represented the 7th Congressional District since first elected in 1996. He previously served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners and as Alderman of the 29th Ward. Davis works on several congressional caucuses and subcommittees and the House Ways and Means Committee. 

Davis looks to advance legislation advocating socioeconomic justice and development, equal rights for all, protection of the environment against global climate change, and peace and collective security. Davis said, “I will oppose and expose President Trump’s attempts to inflame and divide our nation base on race, ethnicity, gender, and jingoism.”

To control gun proliferation, Davis supports comprehensive background checks and bans on bump stocks, concealed carry, and sale and use of assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

He favors campaign finance reform, wanting to halt anything that permits corporations and special interests, such as the NRA, to pour millions into elections and use massive amounts of “dark money” with little transparency.

Davis strongly supports DACA and has co-sponsored legislation for immigration reform and a path to citizenship.

He also supports the ACA but believes that, in order to control costs and provide comprehensive coverage, “we need to treat health care as a right, and I favor an everybody in, nobody out, Medicare-for-all plan,” he said.

Davis also supports criminal justice reform and has written and passed bills, such as the Second Chance Act, that aim to reduce the number of incarcerated persons in the U.S. by reforming the bail system for non-violent crimes.


Craig Cameron.

7th District (R)

Craig Cameron has been a construction project manager for T-Mobile since 2012. Cameron wants to bring more jobs to Chicago to promote safer communities. He believes all policies are subject to interpretation but said he “will put the people of my district first as I lawfully interpret policy.”

Cameron supports adherence to the 2nd Amendment but believes in banning fully automatic rifles and tools that can make a weapon fully automatic, such as bump stocks and large capacity ammunition magazines.

He supports lawful immigration and believes DACA reform and protecting U.S. borders are necessary. He believes Dreamers should have the right to attain citizenship.

As for the ACA, Cameron believes it is not affordable and “we need to overhaul this plan.” He favors the ideal of everyone attaining access to healthcare. “We need fair billing practices in the healthcare industry, and opening up the insurance pools so that we can cross state lines would help foster better competition and drive down medical costs” and high-priced premiums, he said.

Cameron also favors air and water pollution control and will advocate for environmental policy change. He also believes the U.S. tax structure has gotten out of hand. Instead, “When taxes are used as an incentive to hire workers and to encourage businesses to invest, this helps grow our economy,” he said.


Jeffery A. Leaf.

Jeffery A. Leef, MD, is director of interventional radiology trauma services at the University of Chicago and lives in River Forest with his wife and three children. He and his family have lived in the 7th District since 1992.

Leef said gun control does not curb gun violence. He advocates for 2nd Amendment rights but strongly supports a unified Federal background check system for all gun sales. Leef believes term limits offer the correct way to limit the power of lobbyists such as those working for the NRA, which would therefore minimize the influence of politicians beholden to them.

Leef agrees with the principles of the current immigration point system proposed by the administration. He said, “Canada strengthened their point system when they discovered that their generous immigration policies led to greater levels of poverty and inequality.” He supports amnesty for DACA recipients but also wants to put “an end to the chain migration associated with these children.”

About healthcare, Leef said, “Eliminating the individual mandate of Obamacare [the ACA] is the first step of a plan that Republicans failed to formulate prior to the Trump presidency.” He supports converting Medicare into an insurance program, creating and expanding low-cost private insurance plans, making universal healthcare accounts readily available, reforming the Independent Advisory Board, and creating a voucher system for the underserved.

Leef is also concerned with homeland security and foreign policy. He believes the Trump administration has made great strides by bolstering border patrol; however, he is uncertain that a physical wall is the most efficient and cost-effective way to secure the border.