I said from day one that my campaign was not about me. It was about fighting for what we need in this district. If in an effort to win I become a part of dividing our house, it wouldn’t be a win. Not when we need unity more than ever. That’s why I decided to withdraw my candidacy for the 2nd Congressional district seat. I thank God that I still have a platform to fight for all of the things that are so important to all of us in the State Senate. But as ever, I also know we need a champion in Congress as well. I endorsed Robin Kelly in her campaign to win this district, and I urge you to support her with your vote on election day.
I entered this Democratic primary wanting to be true to the things that make me a Democrat. Protecting the safety net, creating real jobs with livable wages and growing our economy from the middle out, not the top down. I wanted to talk about how to make sure we don’t keep going down the same road over and over again with special elections and impeachments. I wanted to talk about how the South Suburbs and South Side are chronically unemployed and chronically undereducated.
As I sought political, spiritual, and financial support for my candidacy, the level of faith that was placed in me by my supporters moved me. We fought every day to tell the story of this district and try to bring people together. I prayed with Apostle Carl White, Reverend Turner, Reverend Tyrone Crider, Bishop Simon Gordon, Bishop Randall Gordon, and many other pastors about what was really important in our communities, from the South Side through the South Suburbs and down to Kankakee. They stood in the gap for me in what felt like gale force winds. I sat in Reverend Clay Evan’s office and knew that I would forever remember his wise counsel, advice and prayer. Regular people on the street, people who went online and donated, my mother’s nursing school class, folks who hugged me in the grocery store, flagged down my car picking my kids up from school…every day this campaign had a little magic and grace in it. I watched my children begin to be able to discuss things like Medicare and Social Security, and it made them proud every time I talked about education because they are in public school right now. My husband Paul was my biggest champion and he kept our family together as we waded through this fight. I was fighting for all of us, but I was never fighting alone.
For the last several months, we have seen a debate in this country about gun violence and its profound impact on our communities. This debate was a long time coming, and I hope it bears real fruit for the people of the South Suburbs and South Side. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye as we lose a generation of kids to senseless killings. There are common sense things we can do right away. We can and should create universal background checks, get military grade weapons off our streets, and ban high capacity clips. But none of those initiatives will go very far when resources are strangled from vulnerable communities, when our young people cycle from juvenile justice to the prison system and then get shut out of the work force. Too often people demand budget cuts and deficit reduction without ever telling the story of what those cuts really mean to real families who are struggling every day to make it to the next.
We can’t move our state or country forward divided. I always said that this campaign was not about me. I’m stepping aside so we can stand together as a party and as a community. Our voices are loud. Our voices are strong. I believe in us. That will never change.