There are five Democratic candidates for State Representative of the 17th District running in the upcoming primary election: Candance Chow, Mary Rita Luecke, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Peter Dagher, and Alexandra Eidenberg. The RoundTable previously published articles on Ms. Chow and Ms. Luecke. This article contains background information on Ms. Gong-Gershowitz and Mr. Dagher. The next issue of the RoundTable will include an article on Ms. Eidenberg.
Ms. Gong-Gershowitz has a B.A. from Indiana University, a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. She serves as the Director of the immigration law practice at the Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic, which serves Dreamers and other low-income residents of the community.
She has served as a member of the Glenview Education Foundation, and as a co-chair of the Illinois Unaccompanied Children’s Task Force. She resides in Glenview with her husband and three children.
Ms. Gong-Gershowitz says she “supports a progressive income tax that will force billionaires and the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share.”
She says Donald Trump and insurance companies would deny millions of people with pre-existing conditions access to health care. She says she “will fight for new protections that rein in skyrocketing costs that require insurers to provide care for all Illinois residents, regardless of what Washington does.”
She says “Illinois’ school funding system ranks last in the nation, denying students opportunities and sticking homeowners with high property taxes.” She “supports reform to bring millions of dollars in new state funding to local classrooms, making schools more transparent in how tax dollars are spent, and taking a critical step towards property tax relief.”
She says she will fight for equal pay for women, protect funding for Planned Parenthood, and ensure access to critical medical services like birth control and cancer screenings.
She supports “the implementation of the Future Jobs Energy Act to help stimulate job creation with energy efficiency programs, improve our clean energy economy, and preserve low energy rates for consumers.”
She “will be a strong voice for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together and provides immigrant children with a pathway to citizenship.”
She “will fight for common-sense gun laws to keep our communities safer, including universal background checks and a ban on military-style assault rifles and devices used to make semi-automatic weapons fully-automatic.”
Mr. Dagher is a resident of Skokie. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Masters in Business Administration from George Mason University in Virginia. He says he held various positions in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and subsequently worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation and later at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.
He discusses many issues on his website. “If Illinois wants to attract investment and make wise financial decisions, it needs solid financial reports that are assessable, searchable, and reliable,” he says. “I will follow Ohio’s example and deploy a financial reporting system that focuses on auditing expenditures to ensure we get what we pay for.”
“Passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) was a giant leap in the right direction, but we have to strengthen the core tenets of this law and make it financially and politically sustainable and not subject to the whims of a President Trump or anyone else who seeks to reduce coverage for the neediest among us,” Mr. Dagher says. “We must lower prescription drug prices to a level that is no more costly than what the rest of the world pays.”
“As your state representative, my priority will be to establish a world-class education system (early childhood through high school) that is fully and sustainably-funded, accountable, and financially audited for complete costs. Our efforts must begin with a complete audit of all public school funding and spending, as well as an honest review of the many school systems here in Illinois. Some need to be consolidated to reduce our tax burden and improve education, and all need to be under the control of publically elected school boards.
I will ensure our Illinois tax money is spent on actually educating students, rather than used as a political slush fund,” he says. “The cost of a college degree in Illinois is outrageous. … I will audit our spending and work to reduce college tuition for Illinois citizens.”
Mr. Daugher says:
“Want lower property taxes? Hire me. I will lower property taxes for all – even if you aren’t politically connected to the ‘right’ people.
“Want affordable, quality education? Hire me. I will audit every dollar and end the millions lost to corruption and lack of oversight.
“Scared of rising healthcare costs, or losing coverage? … Hire me to protect your healthcare rights.”