The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking nominations for Congress a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois. Rep. Danny Davis submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:
QUESTION: As a member of the House from Illinois, please explain what your specific cause or causes will be. Please avoid a generic topic or issue in your answer.
ANSWER: Economic development: infrastructure, community development, free college or job training, tax fairness, minimum wage, right to organize and just cause (alternative to at-will employment), public transit, affordable housing, strengthening Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, trade (labor, consumer and environmental, currency manipulation protections in trade agreements, end investor-to-state dispute settlement), secure Social Security, SSA, pensions, social safety net (homelessness,
Health care: expanding/improving ACA, Medicare and Medicaid (goal – Medicare for all universal health care including mental health), reducing prescription drug prices, community health centers, home visiting, more efficient use of donated organs, addressing antibiotic resistance, drug treatment on demand
Human rights, civil rights, voting rights: protect hard won rights against injustice based on race, ethnicity, gender, language, religion or age, protect women’s right to choose, criminal justice reform, national automatic voter registration (we now have this in Illinois), restoration of the voting rights act, comprehensive immigration reform with path to citizenship, harden our voting apparatus and cyber systems against foreign attacks.
Environment: protect and expand science based laws and policies to protect, climate, air and water, renew EPA, FDA commitments to tough, enforced scientific evidence based policies to protect human health, accelerate progress toward sustainable energy infrastructure
National security: oppose reckless, dangerous foreign policies escalating threat of war, including nuclear war, and which inflame international conflict, strengthen diplomatic policies and tools which emphasize collective security over unilateral military intervention.
Running for: 7th Congressional district (Illinois)
Political/civic background: Alderman, 29th Ward, City of Chicago, 1979-1990, Cook County Commissioner, 1st District, 1990-1996, Representative in Congress, 7th District, 1997-present, Ward Committeeman, 29th Ward, City of Chicago, 1984-2000, State Central Committeeman 7th District, 1998
Occupation: Member of Congress
Education: B.A. – Arkansas A.M. & N. College, 1961, M.S. – Chicago State University, 1968,
Ph.D.- Union Institute, 1977
Campaign website: DKDCongress.com
QUESTION: Please list three district-specific needs that will be your priorities. This could be a project that is needed in your district, or a rule that needs to be changed, or some federal matter that has been ignored.
ANSWER: Infrastructure investment (with guarantees for community hiring) to repair/modernize water/sewage, communications/information technology, housing/energy efficiency, transportation, pollution/environmental damage remediation
Drug/mental health treatment on demand
Child/youth protection addressing homelessness, youth unemployment, access to job training or college, support for grandparents raising grandchildren, improve federal support for K-12 education
QUESTION: If you are running as a Democrat, what is your best idea for getting any initiative you may propose advanced if the House continues to be controlled by the GOP after the 2018 elections?
ANSWER: I believe that this is best achieved by long term commitment to working in a bi-partisan/issue based manner with colleagues. This has been, and continues to be my practice.
RELATED ARTICLES: Danny Davis
Topic: President Donald Trump
QUESTION: What do you make of President Trump?
ANSWER: The election of President Trump is very much the product of more than four decades of corporate/dark money/alt-right media supported agitation coupled with decades of attacks by these same forces on living standards, civil rights, labor rights, women’s rights, voting rights, and science, followed by the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression and eight years of unrelenting GOP attacks on every Obama policy initiative as well as President Obama personally
QUESTION: Which three actions by the Trump administration do you support the most? Which three do you oppose the most?
ANSWER: Support: none.
Oppose: (1) reckless, dangerous foreign policies, (2) attacks on civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, the media (3) policies which blatantly favor large corporations and the ultra-wealthy over middle and low-income individuals and families
QUESTION: What is your view of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 election, including possible collusion by the Trump campaign. Does Mueller have your support?
ANSWER: I support the special counsel and the mandate to the counsel to investigate possible collusion wherever it may lead. The American people deserve to know the truth.
QUESTION: What should Congress do to reduce the threat of terrorism at home, either from ISIS or from others?
ANSWER: Outlaw weapons which facilitate mass casualties. Rebuild trust between law enforcement and the general population by demanding law enforcement protocols which respect individual rights, which reject profiling and which demand accountability on the part of law enforcement. Practice transparency and protection of democratic rights and principles and reject policies and rhetoric which divide the American people
TOPIC: Guns and violence
QUESTION: What is the single most important action Congress can take to curb gun violence in the United States?
ANSWER: Close the loopholes in sales and transfer of guns and minimum requirements for gun ownership.
QUESTION: Do you favor a law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” that increase the firing speed of semi-automatic weapons? Why? Do you favor any further legal limits on guns of any kind? Or, conversely, what gun restrictions should be done away with?
ANSWER: I favor banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” or any other device which aims to achieve the same purpose. The sale of “pseudo” automatic weapons should be treated no differently than the sale of automatic weapons. I favor other restrictions including banning concealed carry, the sale and use of large capacity weapons or feeding devices and closing the loopholes in sales and transfer of guns and minimum requirements for gun ownership
TOPIC: America’s growing wealth gap
QUESTION: As an editorial board, our core criticism of the tax overhaul legislation supported by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate is that it lowers taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans at a time of historic inequalities of wealth and income in the United States. We believe in free markets, but it does not look to us like the “silent hand” of the market is functioning properly, rewarding merit fairly. We are troubled that the top 1 percent of Americans own 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth and the bottom 90 percent own just 22.8 percent of the wealth. Tell us how we are right or wrong about this. Does the growing income and wealth gap trouble you?
ANSWER: Yes. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute the Chicago Metropolitan Area the average income of the top 1% was $1,388,095 while the average income of the bottom 99% was $54,239, a ratio of 25.6.
EPI also found that “children’s social class is one of the most significant predictors—if not the single most significant predictor—of their educational success. Moreover, it is increasingly apparent that performance gaps by social class take root in the earliest years of children’s lives and fail to narrow in the years that follow.”
TOPIC: International affairs
QUESTION: Do you support the Trump administration’s decision to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? How will this help or hinder efforts to secure a lasting peace between Israel and its Middle East neighbors?
ANSWER: As I wrote at the time: “Any heavy-handed attempt by President Trump to unilaterally move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or preemptively recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be a reckless, destabilizing and dangerous reversal of long standing U.S. policy. The question of Palestinian statehood continues to occupy a central place in the Mideast and the final status of Jerusalem is intimately linked to resolution of that question. If we have learned anything from decades of bloody, destructive conflict it is that the path to peace in the region cannot be designed or imposed from outside but must come from a negotiated agreement of the parties.”
QUESTION: Is military action by the United States a plausible response to the nuclear weapons threat posed by North Korea? How might a U.S. military response play out for South Korea, Japan and China? What alternative do you support?
ANSWER: No. I do not believe there are any plausible military responses DPRK nuclear weapons. We have reached agreements with DPRK several times during past administrations only to have them sabotaged by subsequent US actions. I believe we must have direct talks with DPRK and find accommodation which will likely find both sides not getting everything they desire, but which will reduce the threat level until a more comprehensive solution can be negotiated.
QUESTION: The Supreme Court has ruled that the third version of the Trump administration’s travel ban on eight countries with predominantly Muslim populations can go into effect while legal challenges against the ban continue. What is your position on this travel ban?
ANSWER: I strongly oppose the ban as unconstitutional and inconsistent with our nation interests and the rights we accord to residents.
QUESTION: Has the United States in the last decade been accepting too many immigrants, and does this pose a threat to the American way of life?
ANSWER: On the contrary, our history, our culture, our economic growth and vitality as a nation has always been directly linked to immigration even though we, as a nation, have often been lured into anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. Immigrants living in the U.S. today are an integral, productive part of our national tapestry and it is imperative that we create a pathway to fully incorporate them into our citizenry
QUESTION: Should the “wall” between the United States and Mexico be built? What might it accomplish?
ANSWER: No. The “wall” is a disruptive, dangerous fiscal and security fantasy rooted in political/ideological appeals not the reality of border security, or our relations with Mexico.
TOPIC: Affordable Care Act
QUESTION: The tax reform plan created by Republican majorities in the House and Senate would eliminate the Obamacare “individual mandate” that most Americans must have health insurance or pay a fine. Does this threaten the viability of the Affordable Care Act? What more on this, if anything, should be done?
ANSWER: It will negatively impact health care costs for the ACA and for our national health care budget. It is a denial of the reality that all other developed nations have realized in one form or another: the need for universal coverage. I strongly support a Medicare for All approach and have co-sponsored such legislation each year I have been in the Congress.
TOPIC: Your opponent
QUESTION: What is your biggest difference with your opponent(s)?
ANSWER: I run based on my record of representing the interests of the people of the 7th Congressional District and confirmed by the overwhelming support I have received at the polls. I have consistently stood for peace, social and economic justice, universal access to health care and education, democracy, the rights of women and LGBTQ persons, the environment, children and seniors. I have worked with my colleagues in the Congress in a productive manner and have earned their respect as well. I look forward to the coming Congress with the same enthusiasm and optimism I brought to my first term.