Competitive races in 4th and 7th Congressional Districts
November 2, 2018

By Peter Winslow

A new Congressional Representative will serve the 4th District, as longtime Representative Luis Gutierrez has retired. In the 7th, a veteran Congressional Representative faces a challenge from a construction project manager.

Jesus Garcia.

4th District

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States, is running as the Democratic candidate. Garcia won the race for 22nd Ward Democratic Ward Committeeman in 1984 and the ward’s aldermanic seat in 1986 and became the first Illinois State Senator of Mexican heritage in 1992. A Cook County Commissioner for the 7th District since 2010, he also was a Chicago mayoral candidate in 2015, forcing Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff. Garcia has full support from Gutierrez.

Like other Chicagoans all too familiar with gun violence, Garcia saw a 27-year-old man fatally shot in front of his home last year. “I have also witnessed other shootings in the community where I live, and that’s why we need to be commonsensical about gun control laws both at the Federal and State level,” he said.

If elected, Garcia said he will continue endorsing “reasonable” gun legislation. He will advocate for unified background checks for gun sales and agrees with prohibitive measures regarding assault rifles, bump-stock attachments, and large ammunition magazines.

Garcia believes “immigrants are vital to this country and deserve a path to regularization of their status and citizenship.” He favors reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) and does not support a southern border wall.

He noted about 230,000 foreign born individuals in the 4th District currently live in mixed-status families or are undocumented immigrants. Garcia said he will “work for the restoration of temporary protective status for persons who seek political asylum and assist Dreamers.” He strongly opposes the Trump administration’s decision to separate children from their families at the U.S. southern border.

Garcia supports the Affordable Care Act introduced during the Obama administration but believes the country needs a single payer system and Medicare-for-all approach to assist millions of uninsured Americans and reduce insurance plan costs.

Garcia wants to prioritize a domestic agenda immediately, specifically by focusing on and reinforcing an infrastructure and transportation bill. He wants to move away from Trumpian “privatization of public infrastructure” by investing in local communities through a robust jobs program and skills training. 

Garcia also will prioritize reducing college students’ debt. “The crushing debt that people are experiencing when they graduate from college is prohibitive, and I think it demoralizes young people who go to college and graduate from a university, having to dedicate ten to 20 years to pay off their college debt,” he said. Garcia feels the Federal government should act to address this issue.

“I promise to fight against Trump policies that hurt 4th District constituents,” Garcia said. He believes advocating for rights for Latinos, Muslims, African Americans, women, and other groups often marginalized is critical as “they are essential for the protection of democracy and our democratic institutions,” he noted.

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Mark Wayne Lorch.

Republican Mark Wayne Lorch is from Riverside, IL. He works as a corporate financial analyst and advisor at Duff & Phelps Corp., helping shareholders and corporate boards with mergers and acquisitions and advising publicly traded companies. Lorch previously served as senior vice president at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Regarding gun law reform and control, Lorch supports the Second Amendment but will advocate “for sensible gun control measures that include universal background checks and enforceable requirements for responsible gun ownership,” he noted.

Lorch believes all immigrants have the right to a pathway to citizenship and will support a “reasonable, merit based process for undocumented immigrants,” he said. He believes constructing a physical wall along the southern border “would indeed dissuade immigrants from crossing the border illegally” but that it ultimately would prove an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. He recommends what he calls “an efficient alternative “ of investing in practical modern technology to aid border patrol agents.

“All Americans should have the opportunity for affordable health care,” Lorch said, but he thinks the Affordable Care Act has failed to achieve its goals. He opposes a government run Medicare-for-all approach, referring to it as “a monopoly,” and believes competition in the healthcare industry will be adequate to make health insurance less expensive. As the debt of Medicare and Social Security continue to rise, Lorch believes the U.S. needs “realistic and practical reforms in order to keep the programs functioning for those who truly need and benefit from them.”

Some of Lorch’s highest priorities are cutting “irresponsible and wasteful” government spending and balancing the national budget. He believes the Federal tax plan Congress passed last December was “obligatory,” especially in regard to corporate tax reform. He feels the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took “several steps in the right direction,” but he strongly believes incentives for corporations such as lower tax rates to operate and invest in the U.S. offer the best option to promote economic growth. 

Lorch wants all Americans to pay less in taxes but believes leaders should address reducing government spending first so the country can afford tax cuts without increasing the national debt.

As a political newcomer, he is confident that he can “bring new energy, ideas, and a fresh outlook” on issues that affect the lives of 4th District constituents. Lorch urged voters “not to just vote for someone whose name they recognize.” He promised the 4th District he would commit to increasing educational opportunities; improving local infrastructure; creating job training programs and job growth; and ensuring support services for children, the elderly and disabled, and U.S. veterans.

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Danny K. Davis.

7th District

Democrat and incumbent Danny K. Davis has represented the 7th Congressional District since 1996. Previously, he served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners and as Chicago’s 29th Ward Alderman. Davis currently sits on the Committee of Ways and Means and is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Human Resources and Oversight and on Trade. He is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the Children’s, Community Health Center, Sugar, and Urban Caucuses.

Davis continues to fight for comprehensive background checks and bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. He goes a step further, however, saying, “Nobody should have guns—period—except law enforcement, and even the guns that they have should be restricted.” Davis also said it is essential to address the mental health issues often involved in gun violence.

Davis strongly supports DACA and has co-sponsored policy advocating for immigration reform and accessible pathways to citizenship for all immigrants.  Davis condemns the Trump administration’s recent immigration policies that separate immigrant children from their families. 

“We must keep America open and free, so that is my immigration position,” Davis said.

In 2010, Davis established in the 7th Congressional District a Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, which plays an important role in protecting and promoting minorities’ rights.

He supports the Affordable Care Act and opposes every effort to reduce it or turn it into block grants to the states. He also opposes efforts to change Medicare and Medicaid. The 7th District counts more than 20 hospitals and Davis promised to continue his work to keep resources available for healthcare and other services and research that benefit constituents.

Davis also wants to continue his work to reduce mass incarceration. “There are no countries with as many of its people incarcerated,” he said. “More than 2.5 million people are caught up in our criminal justice system every year, and we actually have got about 65 million in this country in the workforce arena who have records, who can’t get a job.”

Davis also remains strongly engaged in creating ways to improve the lives of African American males and believes his district needs more emphasis on job development programs, workforce training, and technological education for district residents.

Concerning the tax bill Congress passed last December, Davis said, “I oppose that kind of Robin Hood in reverse policy that takes from the poor and gives to the rich,” adding that the bill does “virtually nothing” for the middle class, working class, and lower-middle class.

Davis said he would continue efforts to designate special monies and resources for predominantly black institutions in the Chicago area, including Malcolm X, Kennedy King, Robert Morris, Olive-Harvey, and South Suburban Colleges as well as East-West University.

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Craig Cameron.

Craig Cameron has worked as construction project manager for T-Mobile since 2012. Cameron wants to bring more jobs to Chicago to promote safer communities. He believes the best way to advance beneficial change in this country is for those on both sides of the aisle to work together.

Promising to look at proposed policy with an objective eye to determine the best solutions for the district and nation overall, Cameron said, “I plan to make policies that address the needs of my district, those that bring jobs, improve education, provide safer streets, and allow for protection of affordable healthcare.”

Cameron strongly supports preserving the Second Amendment but believes in banning automatic rifles and attachments that can make weapons fully automatic, including bump stocks and large capacity ammunition magazines. He believes every individual should have the right to protect him- or herself and their families. He said he will advocate for more comprehensive background checks for online, in-store, and gun exposition purchases at the State and Federal levels.

Regarding immigration policy, Cameron said, “DACA must be addressed with a path to citizenship, but we also need to have some other kind of measure put in place for immigration.” He suggested a possible alternative through instituting “new laws allowing admission of a certain number of people per year no matter their background or social status.”

Cameron has called this country’s healthcare system “broke,” and believes the ACA is not affordable and that lawmakers should create a new plan. “I support pressure being placed on what I call the ‘medical industrial complex’ to lower prices and speed up development such as through the newly passed right-to-try bill,” he said. That legislation gives patients with terminal diagnoses the right to try experimental medications not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He will advocate for lower premiums and try to expand the coverage health insurance companies provide.

He favors access to healthcare for everyone. “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 has stated he will fight for small businesses. He believes community bond programs offer a way to help business owners and thinks they can provide capital for community projects without raising taxes.

“I’ve made my way in this country despite the barriers of race and poverty,” Cameron said. “I know what it takes to achieve success with strikes against one’s self in life, and I hope to use my knowledge and know-how to help others achieve the America we all love.” 

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