Why I deserve to be reelected

State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26)

State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26)

By STATE REP. CHRISTIAN MITCHELL (D-26)

Before you elected me as your state representative, I was a community organizer with Southsiders Organizing For Unity and Liberation. I worked with families to fight for education funding reform, affordable housing and to create jobs in our communities.

I later went on to work on senior staff for President Toni Preckwinkle at Cook County. We worked on repealing the Stroger sales tax and making County government run more efficiently and effectively.

As a community organizer, aide to President Preckwinkle and your state representative, I have worked to bring real progress to our community and to the 26th District.

I live in Bronzeville, and every day I am reminded of the gun violence that plagues many communities across our district. Most of the violence plaguing our streets is not committed by lawful gun owners, but by people who have obtained guns illegally.

To keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, I passed a law that requires mandatory background checks for all private handgun sales (Public Act 98-0508), allowing us to crack down on the straw buyers providing guns to gangs and criminals. I will continue working with my colleagues to make our streets safer for our children.

I was raised by a single mother, and I know first hand that many mothers face a dilemma when it comes to childcare. Many are caught in a position in which they earn too much to qualify for childcare benefits, but not enough that they can afford childcare without any assistance. They are left to choose between earning more and being able to care for their child. That’s not a choice any mother should have to make.

To bring relief to working mothers, I introduced a bi-partisan bill (HB3757) that will raise the childcare eligibility cap from 175 percent to 200 percent of the poverty level, which would allow mothers to be able to earn more for their families while still being able to provide childcare to their children.

With the help of scholarships and financial aid, I was able to attend and graduate from the University of Chicago. Without my education, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I realize what a powerful tool it can be in people’s lives. I believe we must invest in education, and that’s why I worked with my Springfield colleagues to pass a budget that ended three years of cuts to school funding.

There’s still important work to do. We need to ensure that all children have equal access to quality education, no matter their ZIP code. The first step on that road is fixing our broken education funding system, to ensure that the state provides a fair share of resources to all of our children. That’s why I’m chief co-sponsor of SJR32, legislation addressing this problem directly.

When I was 9 years old, my aunt was wrongfully convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. I saw how the justice system could turn people’s lives upside down. We need a justice system that holds violent criminals accountable while still helping those struggling with addiction and mental illness get the treatment they need. That’s why I’ve introduced a package of bills aimed at making sure we punish those who commit violent crimes, not kids who have made a mistake or people who are coping with addiction.

And I will always stand up to protect a woman’s right to choose.

I have worked tirelessly to make our streets safer, improve our schools, and bring resources to our community – and we’re making progress on all of those fronts. In my time as your state representative, I have been successful in forging consensus, across the aisle, to get things done. Now is a time for action, not empty rhetoric. I am working hard, every single day, on the issues that matter to our community. I am asking for your vote based on proven leadership.