Thursday, April 14, 2011

Women still suffer from unequal pay to this day

On Tuesday, people from all over the United States celebrated the 15th annual Equal Pay Day. Although wages for women have improved since the first celebration of the day in 1996, it is clear that women still have a long way to go before real pay equity is achieved.

Today, women make only an average of 78 cents to every dollar a man makes. The pay gap for women of color averages roughly 67 cents to every man’s dollar. Even as more women earn advanced degrees, the pay gap persists, and every woman on this campus will struggle with the pay gap at some point during her life. This is an issue that we must not forget.

This week, women across the country will be advocating for equal pay. The members of the Illini Democrats will be calling our elected officials and ask them to support equal pay. We encourage every student at the University of Illinois to join us in doing the same.

The message is clear. Women deserve a raise. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. Pay equality affects all of us. It is what’s fair; it is what’s right. I hope all students at the University of Illinois will stand up with women and take action.

Shana Harrison
Communications Director

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why can’t we enjoy a nice lunch in downtown Chicago?

Today, getting from Champaign to downtown Chicago quickly is no easy, inexpensive task. Even if you have a car on campus (or have access to a ride) it can take more than three hours one way from the Quad to the Loop, and that’s a best case scenario. Bus services, while more accessible to the average student, are left to the whims of Interstate 57 and the Dan Ryan just like a car is.

Without a car your options are limited. The current Amtrak service from downtown Champaign to Union Station, while reasonably priced if booked in advance, can take more than four hours as it crawls along, waiting for freight trains to pass. It takes longer than equivalent train services did decades ago.

Flying? Enjoy that. Due to an understandable lack of demand, service at Willard Airport is infrequent and expensive. The flight itself is fast but incredibly pricy, well out of the budget of the average student, and by the time you check in, fly, grab your bags, and get on the Blue Line it’s basically the same time budget as if you stayed on the ground and drove.

Because of the lack of good transportation options, students think of Champaign and Chicago as distant cities. They aren’t. In a straight line (essentially the line that Illinois Central train tracks run) it is only 126 miles from downtown Champaign to downtown Chicago. According to a study commissioned by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, a train traveling at a top speed of 220 miles an hour can cover the distance in only 45 minutes, including a stop in Kankakee. Imagine the world of possibilities this would open up. Afternoon class canceled? Head downtown to Michigan Avenue for lunch. Warm day? The beach beckons. The possibilities for collaboration between the University and businesses in Chicago are limitless, and anything that makes it easier for recruiters to get on campus is something worth its weight, literally, in gold.

This isn’t a pipe dream, nor does it rely on some undiscovered technology. In Germany these trains run as frequently as every half an hour, with fares rivaling those of a Suburban Express bus. The first step, and the first stop, should be right here in Illinois.

Owen Marsden

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Republicans have demonstrated clear disinterest in job creation

Thursday, April 14, will mark the 100th day of the 112th Congress that is composed of the newly elected wave of republican members. Traditionally the 100th day is when the media analyzes the snot out of our newly elected officials — so here we go.

After campaigning for nearly 18 months on the Democrats’ “inability” to deal with job creation, this new Republican-controlled House of Representatives has yet to introduce a single bill pertaining to job creation. Meanwhile, no thanks to Republicans, unemployment has gone down to 8.8 percent and over 216,000 jobs were created in March (bls.gov). This is usually when I hear the snide remarks that government doesn’t create jobs and that I’m just another “uneducated liberal.” Speaker Boehner made his message loud and clear that if jobs are lost through the Republicans’ actions ... ”then so be it.” Just the other day Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) told Democrats to “stop talking about jobs.” This is coming from a woman who represents all of you from Naperville, Lemont and Orland Park. Their intention was never to create jobs; that was just a great talking point the Republicans used to get elected.

What is truly the top priority of the GOP and their radical Tea Party base? As of Tuesday it became clear that it is now to kill Medicare. It’s the same Republican antics that we’ve seen for the last 50 years. Even when Bush tried privatizing Social Security, he got the door slammed in his face. The following midterm elections didn’t fare well for republicans; they lost 30 seats in the house and six in the senate and more again in ‘08. 2012 is coming fast. You can choose to be a voice or a bystander. If you see what I see, please get involved.

Casey Williams
Political Director

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Champaign County Board

Alan Kurtz, District 7

Alan Kurtz has a record of leadership in our community and on the Champaign County Board.
The owner of Blimpie Sub & Salads for 11 years in the heart of campustown, Al is a longtime supporter of Illini athletics and was a leader in the effort to end Green Street flooding. He’s a past president of the Champaign County Humane Society, and a current member of the Champaign Consortium, a four-county agency that prepares unemployed workers for new jobs.
As a member of the County Board, Alan Kurtz has worked to ensure county operations run efficiently, so we get maximum value for our tax dollars. He successfully forged the bipartisan supermajority that enacted the County’s Wind Farm Ordinance, which promises to create thousands of jobs and add tens of millions in revenue for our county. As vice-chair of the County’s Environment and Land Use Committee, Al worked to develop and adopt a comprehensive Land Resource Management plan that will protect our prime farmland for future generations.
Married to Linda Kurtz for 46 years, Al has two sons and three wonderful grandchildren.
Alan Kurtz is working hard on the County Board and on the campaign trail! With your support, we can keep Al’s leadership on the County Board, and we can keep Champaign County moving forward!
·         campaign contact: (217) 356-0011
710 Ashton Lane South, Champaign, IL 61820
·         campaign email: AKurtz8@comcast.net
Thomas Betz, District 8 (Vote for 2)
Vote for both Thomas Betz and Ralph Langenheim in District 8!

Tom Betz has been a progressive voice for responsive & responsible government on the County Board since 1996. As chair of the Policy, Personnel & Appointments Committee, Tom has supported the appointment of strong conservationists to the county’s Forest Preserve Board. He wrote the ordinance that requires five percent of the quarter-cent sales tax be used to prevent repeat juvenile offenses. Tom also has been a consistent supporter of the Champaign County Nursing Home, the County Public Health District, and Champaign County Head Start.
Active in our community, Tom Betz is a member of the Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union Board of Directors, a member of the Champaign County Bar Association, and a five-term president of the Champaign County ACLU. He is Director of University of Illinois Student Legal Services, providing preventive legal education and counseling to U of I students.
Tom Betz has been an effective and valuable Board member, selected twice by his colleagues to serve as County Board vice-chair. He and his wife Jane Williams live in Urbana. They have two children.
·         campaign contact: (217) 328-5419
707 W. Oregon, Urbana, IL 61801
·         campaign email: thomasbtz197@gmail.com
Ralph Langenheim, District 8 (Vote for 2)
Vote for both Ralph Langenheim and Thomas Betz in District 8!

A Professor of Geology (retired) at the University of Illinois, Ralph Langenheim understands the bedrock principles of good government.
Ralph has served on the Champaign County Board since 1998, and chaired the county’s Environment and Land Use Committee from 2000-2006. He worked to develop and pass the County’s first-ever comprehensive Land Resource Management Plan. He supports efforts to protect the Mahomet Aquifer as our water source for future generations, and advocates for zoning policies that sustain sustainable land uses and protect prime farmland.
In difficult economic times, Ralph has worked to stretch every dollar in the County budget to make sure taxpayers get value for their money, without sacrificing important services like Mental Health programs, Juvenile Delinquency prevention, Public Health, or our County Nursing Home. He understands the long-term social costs of gutting these programs would far exceed any temporary budget benefit in the short-term.
Ralph Langenheim served on the Urbana Human Relations Commission from 2000 to 2006. He’s a member of Urbana Rotary and past president of the Illinois Geological Society. Ralph Langenheim is a D-Day veteran, and a member of the Champaign County Veterans Association.
Ralph Langenheim lives in Urbana with his wife M. Casey Diana. He has two children and two step-children.
·         campaign contact: (217) 344-5285
401 W. Vermont, Urbana, IL 61801
·         campaign email: rlangenh@hotmail.com

Chris Alix, District 9 (Vote for 2)

Vote for both Chris Alix and James Quisenberry in District 9!

I’m Chris Alix—longtime Urbana resident, longtime Democrat, University of Illinois alumnus and small business owner. I want to represent District 9 on the Champaign County Board. I’m proud of my respected history as a consensus-builder in Urbana-Champaign local government and look forward to bringing my experience and perspective to the issues facing Champaign County in these challenging times.
I’d appreciate your support in the November 2, 2010 general election!
·         campaign contact: (217) 337-6744
301 East George Huff Drive, Urbana, IL 61801
·         campaign email: Chris@alix9.com
·         campaign website: Alix9.com

James Quisenberry, District 9 (Vote for 2)

Vote for both James Quisenberry and Chiris Alix in District 9!

I am not running for County Board with a single issue or a set agenda. I am running because I have a passion for public service. I am running to contribute my expertise, my organizational skills, and my commitment to listen to all parties and seek common ground to meet the challenges we face in Champaign County..
Please contact me or visit my website for details on my background and positions.
·         campaign contact: (217) 840-6200
209 Pell Circle, Urbana, IL 61801
·         campaign email: James@JamesQuisenberry.com
·         campaign website: JamesQuisenberry.com

Monday, October 11, 2010

Illinois General Assembly

Michael Frerichs, Senator, 52nd District

Mike Frerichs was elected to the General Assembly in 2006. Since being elected Mike Frerichs has stood tall for the 52nd district. He championed a $30 billion capital improvement plan to fund road and infrastructure improvements in Champaign and Vermilion Counties. As Chairman of the Agricultural Committee, he has provided financial assistance to farmers and advocated for alternative fuels. As Vice-Chairman of the Education Committee, Frerichs has funded improvements at the University of Illinois, Parkland College and Danville Community College while fighting to reduce Illinois’ disparities in education funding. He currently resides in Champaign with his wife Laura and his daughter Ella.
·         campaign contact: (217) 352-MIKE
45 E. University Av Suite 205, Champaign, IL 61820
·         campaign website: MikeForIllinois.com
Naomi Jakobsson, Representative, 103rd District
Naomi Jakobsson was elected to the General Assembly in the fall of 2002 to represent the 103rd Representative District. She was re-elected to the General Assembly in the fall of 2004, 2006, and 2008. She formerly served as Champaign County Recorder for 12 years, Interim Director of Domestic Violence Shelter, and the Executive Director of the University YWCA. Naomi received a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977 and a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in 1979 from UIUC. Naomi taught English as a Second Language in the Urbana Schools and also taught at the Intensive English Institute at UIUC. Naomi and her husband Eric have been active in adoptive services and parent support groups through the adoption of six of their eight children. They have eleven grandchildren. Naomi’s Legislative assignments are: Adoption Reform; Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education; Appropriations-Higher Education; Higher Education,Vice-Chair; and Human Services, Chairman.
·         campaign contact: (217) 419-5467
P.O. Box 273, Champaign IL 61874
·         campaign email: naomicampaign@gmail.com
·         campaign website: naomijakobssonfor103.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Illinois Constitutional Officers

Pat Quinn, Governor
Sheila Simon, Lieutenant Governor

The Illinois Education Association has endorsed the Quinn/Simon ticket in the November gubernatorial election. Citing the team’s commitment to education for every child across our state, IEA President Ken Swanson said, “There never has been a more clear-cut choice for governor and lieutenant governor of Illinois.”
Governor Quinn also announced that Sheila Simon will serve as Point Person on Education for the Administration. Sheila’s education background will serve her well as we continue to move Illinois forward and provide a first-rate education to every child in Illinois.
·         campaign contact: (217) 753-8889
600 East Ash St., Suite 110, Springfield, IL 62703
·         campaign email: info@quinnforilllinois.com
·         campaign website: QuinnForIllinois.com
·         Opposition Research:Who is Bill Brady?
Jesse White, Secretary of State

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office is the largest and most diverse office of its kind in the nation, providing more direct services to the people of Illinois than any other public agency. White’s office issues state ID cards, vehicle license plates and titles; registers corporations; enforces the Illinois Securities Act; administers the Organ Donor Program; and licenses drivers and maintains driver records. As State Librarian, Secretary White oversees the State Library and literacy programs, and as State Archivist, he maintains records of legal or historic value.
·         campaign contact: (773) 472 8300
1933 N. Marcey St, Chicago, IL. 60614
·         campaign website: http://JesseWhite2010.com
Lisa Madigan, Attorney General

As the People’s Lawyer, Lisa Madigan has presided over what can only be described as a groundbreaking tenure as the Attorney General of Illinois. She has proven herself to be an innovative champion of consumer rights and a tough and unwavering advocate for children and senior citizens.She has demonstrated a commitment to fight for the people of Illinois, regardless of the opponent – big utilities, sex offenders, mortgage predators or corrupt public officials. Lisa Madigan represents a new generation of public servant who puts ordinary people above political gain.
·         campaign contact: (312) 670-0606
500 N. Dearborn, Suite 510, Chicago, IL 60654
·         campaign email: info@lisamadigan.org
·         campaign website: LisaMadigan.org
Robin Kelly, Treasurer

Robin Kelly is a proven leader that Illinois residents can count on to make a positive difference in their lives. From her public service in central Illinois and the south suburbs to her groundbreaking work as chief of staff to the Illinois State Treasurer, Robin has demonstrated she can create jobs, protect taxpayer dollars and serve as a consumer advocate for Illinoisans.
The Chicago Tribune, recognizing Robin’s record of accomplishment, endorsed her in the February Democratic primary stating, “(W)e’re really impressed with Kelly’s performance in the legislature and her work in the treasurer’s office.” The Sun-Times’ endorsement said Kelly was the only candidate with “the right experience, temperament and background for the job.” And the Peoria Journal-Star endorsed her as a “better fit in a cash-strapped state.” Robin’s broad appeal led her to victory in the primary, winning 94 out of 102 counties.
·         campaign contact: (708) 382-0643
P.O. Box 6953, Chicago, IL 60680
·         campaign website: RobinForTreasurer.com
David Miller, Comptroller

I’m tired of budget gimmicks and pay-to-play politics. That’s exactly what’s wrong with Illinois government – payoffs for the insiders at the expense of the taxpayers.
As your Comptroller, I will open up our state’s finances to regular people like you and me through our website, as well as with surveys seeking your input on our spending priorities.
You deserve both input and information on exactly how your tax dollars are being spent. The more transparent our budget is, the healthier our economy will be. And that means more jobs for everyone.
I’ll also protect the jobs we have. I’ll make sure that companies getting tax breaks keep their jobs here…in Illinois. And I’ll hold accountable any business that violates labor or environmental standards.
·         campaign contact: (708) 849-7372
1350 E. Sibley Bl Suite 202, Dolton, IL
·         campaign website: DavidMillerForIllinois

Federal Candidates

Alexi Giannoulias, United States Senator

Alexi is a progressive Democrat who believes we need to move this country forward, rebuild the economy and create the next generation of good-paying jobs instead of returning to the failed policies of the past.
As a candidate for Senate, Alexi has introduced his comprehensive FutureWorks plan, a detailed, common-sense economic plan to jump start our economy and create the next generation of good-paying jobs right here in Illinois. Alexi’s plan includes tax relief for working families and small businesses, cracking down on deceptive and dangerous corporate practices that hurt our economy, and reducing our deficit.
·         campaign contact: (312) 738-6190
PO Box 494 Chicago, IL 60690
·         campaign website: AlexiForIllinois.com
David Gill, Representative in Congress, 15th District

As a physician, I work with people in need every day. When patients come into the E.R., I do not ask about their politics before I treat them. I identify and examine each problem, and offer solutions based on my experience and the best medical practices available.
If I am elected, I will do the same in Congress. As an independent-minded Democrat, with no assistance from any national political party, I intend to represent your interests in Washington, D.C. I will listen attentively to your concerns and work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the people of our district. I’ll fight to eliminate waste and help return common sense to the halls of Congress.
·         campaign contact: (217) 954-1536
116 N. Chestnut St., Suite 216, Champaign, IL 61820
·         campaign email: Gill2010@gmail.com
·         campaign website: Gill2010.com