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WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THIS TIME OF NEED?
It’s hard to believe that only 5 years ago, a tornado all but destroyed a town in our own county, Fairdale. But what was truly miraculous about that event was the response from the people of our county. Thousands came together with donations of food, clothing, building materials, tools, time and money in order to help those people rebuild not only their homes, but their lives. It is a testament of which we can all be proud.
Now we are called on to help again, and I know together we can make a difference. With the current health crisis, many people are out of work or are underemployed and are struggling to pay their bills and buy food for their families. Food pantries are endeavoringng to meet the increased needs. The easiest way to help is through monetary donations because for every $1 donated, food banks can provide $8 of food to those in need.
Ways to donate:
DeKalb County Community Gardens: 815-793-0950 or https://www.dekalbgardens.org/
Northern Illinois Food Bank: https://solvehungertoday.org/
Also keep in mind that on May 7th, Give DeKalb County is again offering a way to donate, online, to a variety of non-profit organizations and have the donation be matched to make your money go further. https://www.givedekalbcounty.org/
Please help as much as you are able.
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS' DAY
Today (May 1) is International Workers' Day (and the day we celebrate Mother Jones' birthday). Around most of the world, this is their Labor Day - in remembrance of the Haymarket riots, which were related to a bombing at labor protest for the 8-hour workday in 1886. Labor, and Mother Jones, have been fighting for better working conditions ever since. That fight is still a crucial one today. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers are being forced into a very hard choice. As many states are re-opening businesses, workers have to either report back to work, or stay home, but lose unemployment benefits (since their jobs are back). But are there guarantees that those workers will have safe conditions? Will meatpackers, for instance, forced back to work by the President, have adequate protective personal equipment (ppe) or will they have to put their health and lives at stake in order to provide for themselves and their families? Too often we see profit take precedence over safety, with only organized labor stand to stand up for us.
JACKIE ROBINSON DAY
Today is Jackie Robinson Day. Let's take a moment to reflect on what he went through in order to break baseball's color barrier. It wasn't enough that he be a great player (which he was), but he had to suffer all the indignities flung at him because of his race. And he had to do it with grace (which he did). Baseball, and America, are much the better for his abilities on and off the field.
As many of us are celebrating Easter, it may be an appropriate time to reflect on how and when we, as a society, will resurrect our economy and our normal lives.
Watching the rates of infection, and death, it seems as though we may have indeed “flattened the curve” – the number of new cases nationwide has stopped increasing, at least for now. Original predictions of 100s of 1000s of deaths now look overly pessimistic – due to our efforts to stop the spread. But I would caution strongly against thinking that we are past the crisis point. Even though it looks as though the worst may be over, I’d point out that we are still seeing over 30,000 new cases, and close to 2000 deaths a day. And I’d further point out that much of the national trend is being driven by the New York metro area, where over a third of our cases can be found. As things begin to level off in New York, we may yet see other regions, including Chicago and the Midwest, see spikes in COVID-19 cases. Now is not the time to ease up on social distancing. I think it will still be a while (June?, July? even later?) before we begin to return to normal. This virus represents the greatest challenge the country has faced since World War II and the Great Depression. But like our parents and grandparents before us, we will weather this storm, as long as we maintain our resolve.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate what we do have – our neighbors, our friends, our families. In times like these, we see our better natures emerge. We are in this together, and if we remember our better natures, we will come back stronger than ever.
Thoughts on COVID-19 (the coronavirus)
It's obvious to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock (and if you have been, maybe it's best to stay there for another couple of weeks or so) that this is a big deal. But I still hear people saying it's not - folks who think it's all a liberal, mainstream media, Democratic conspiracy to those who compare it with SARS, H1N1, and the common flu. Certainly none of those three have caused the shutdowns, cancellations, and widespread concern that we're seeing today. Infections and death tolls from those dwarf what we've seen from COVID-19. SO FAR. From what I've seen and read, there are three reasons COVID-19 is creating greater concern than those others - 1) It is spreading more rapidly, 2) it has a higher mortality rate (estimates currently are that about 3% of those infected will not survive), and 3) there's no vaccine (yet). And while the numbers are still small, they're growing at an ever-increasing rate (see graph below).
Personally, I think we will weather the storm in good shape, after some inconveniences for the next few weeks while we work to slow the spread of the disease. The vast majority of us either won't get it at all, or will experience varying but non-lethal degrees of illness. The risk is for those whose health is already compromised by age or pre-existing conditions. So for their sakes, please wash your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid unnecessary gatherings. The CDC has a good information page that encourage you all to check out: https://www.cdc.gov/coronav…/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
Keep calm and wash your hands.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!
And with the new year comes a new opportunity for change! We came close in our campaign for a more representative government last election, and with that added extra push, we can achieve our goal! So it's time to roll up our sleeves (metaphorically speaking - it's cold out there!) and get the citizens of the 70th district the representation they deserve.
Phase 1 is complete - we gathered way more than enough signatures to get on the ballot, and this year we've got no primary opponent. From my conversations on the doorsteps, I know we've still got momentum from last year. With your help in spreading the message we can prevail. You can participate in many ways - donations, of course, but also by volunteering to canvas your neighborhood, host house parties, write letters to the editor, and just talking with friends and neighbors. Remember - it's a government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, and for the PEOPLE! Be one of the people!
ILLINOIS NEEDS A CHANGE.
I Will Fight For:
The people of Illinois need a fair and affordable tax system. Our current tax system is a burden on Illinois families and needs to change. Paul will fight for a fair and progressive tax structure allowing middle-class families to keep more of their income.
I will work to hold lawmakers accountable by advocating for local campaign finance reform and put an end to party-politics of gerrymandering.
A Fair and Balanced Budget:
Illinois had a 2 year budget impasse that affected our state financially and hit the citizens of Illinois the hardest. As a member of the DeKalb county board, Paul has experienced working with members of both parties to pass a fair and balanced budget. A budget impasse is costly both financially and to the citizens of Illinois who rely on social services and education. Paul will work to make sure a budget impasse never happens in the state again.
NewsTuesday, June 25, 2019 11:34 AM
Thank you to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle for allowing me to write a guest column on a topic that is of great concern to me as a scientist, a politician and a citizen of the world.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 10:51 AM
You may have heard that there have been some machinations in our State Representative Race. Incumbent Bob Pritchard resigned early, and was appointed by Governor Rauner to fill a vacancy on NIU's Board of Trustees. I think with his legislative experience, and history of friendship with the University, Bob is an excellent choice to fill that role.
To fill the vacancy left by Bob's retirement, the Republican Parties of Boone, DeKalb, and Kane Counties have appointed my opponent, Jeff Keicher.
I'm actually kind of flattered that the Republicans feel threatened enough by our campaign to put all this in motion. I still have the greatest confidence in our ability to win this race, but in the meantime, congratulations to Jeff.
Friday, May 18, 2018 5:04 PM
US House Fails to Pass Farm Legislation
So today, the US House of Representatives failed to pass the farm bill. A perfect example of what's wrong with the way we currently do politics. The bill failed for two reasons, neither of which had anything to do with helping our farmers. Those two things were the inclusion of tougher working conditions for SNAP (a.k.a. food stamp) recipients (which cost Democratic votes), and an intra-party fight among Republicans over immigration policy (which cost Republican votes). Both were moves designed to win political points. It was putting politics ahead of policy. Party ahead of country. SNAP should be a separate vote, as should immigration. If legislation is helpful, it should pass. Period. Let's start thinking about our citizens, and stop worrying so much about our parties.
Saturday, March 24, 2018 11:12 AM
March for our Lives inspires Boston Globe article
Today, as thousands of students and others march in cities around the country calling for action to curtail gun violence in schools and elsewhere, the Boston Globe has listed seven steps Massachusetts has taken that have reduced their gunshot fatalities to the lowest in the nation:
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:32 PM
The Primary is Over - We Won! On to November!!
The results are in - we're moving on to November! Thanks to my opponent, Howard Solomon, for running a good, clean race. Between the two of us, we had the chance to talk to voters across the district and raise many good issues. Thanks to all the people who supported us with their votes, efforts, and checkbooks. Special thanks to Julie Rogers and Jackie Schmack for their efforts knocking doors and handling communication. And my most sincere thanks to my campaign manager, Randi Olson, for everything she's done and all the time and effort she's devoted to this race.
I look forward to working with all of you as we move forward and continue to spread our message throughout the district.