With weeks to go until the midterm election, Democratic congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan rallied her base during a recent stop in Bloomington-Normal.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis has held the seat since 2013, but the Cook Political Report moved the district from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.” The race has received national attention as Democrats work to win the 23 seats necessary to flip control of the House. The district includes parts of Bloomington-Normal.
In an earlier interview with GLT, Londrigan said the GOP tax bill passed last year benefits only the top 1 percent. She said she wants to work to "grow the economy from the middle class out."
Speaking before her Oct. 4 rally in Bloomington, Londrigan said constituents in the 13th District "are very aware that that tax scam and the benefits from it were not for them."
"Any tax reform that I support has to be targeted at the middle class," Londrigan said.
The GOP tax bill has caused a steep increase in the budget deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reported the federal deficit jumped 20 percent from the previous year in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2018.
In dealing with that deficit, Londrigan suggested there must be a change in future tax bills.
"The tax bill is a fact and on the ground right now, but that doesn't have to be so. What scares me, and what scares the people that I'm meeting with throughout the district is what comes next," she said.
She said the GOP's tax efforts added almost $2 trillion to the deficit, and they are now looking at making cuts to "entitlements." Londrigan said this includes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which she insists are earned benefits.
"People have paid into Social Security, they have paid into Medicare their entire working lives, and to say now that you're going to change the rules at the end of the game is simply not fair," she said.
I am in Bloomington with @BetsyforIL firing up early voters. Last week, a record breaking 800,000 Americans registered to vote. Help Betsy and me make the #BlueWave a reality by finding your nearest early voting location, gathering your friends, and going out to VOTE! #twill pic.twitter.com/IYmOxOv0yE
— Susana A. Mendoza (@susanamendoza10) October 4, 2018
Londrigan recently signed a letter with 106 other congressional candidates across the U.S. calling for significant reforms to reduce the role of money in politics and to restore faith in government. She said people have the right to see who is funding campaign and government initiatives.
"There's steps that we can take right now. We can shine a bright light on these political donations so that people have knowledge, right? So they can see who is donating to some of these big super PACs," Londrigan said. "For example, Paul Ryan's super PAC that just dumped a million dollars in the race against us."
At the end of September, a TV ad funded by the Congressional Leadership Fund (linked to Ryan) aired, stating Londrigan would support a health care plan that could cost over $32 trillion.
She called the ad categorically false, and filed multiple cease-and-desist letters ordering TV stations to pull the ad.
"What they are referring to is Medicare for All, which is not something that I have supported," Londrigan said. "I have very specifically said on multiple occasions that what I support is first, fixing the ACA (Affordable Care Act), because the GOP in Congress had tried, they couldn't get it repealed."
Instead, she said, Republicans in Congress could only make minor changes, causing premiums to go up and putting essential health benefits at risk.
"I want to make sure that we fix the ACA, get it stabilized," Londrigan said. "And then the next step that I think really makes sense for the people in our district in particular is to offer a public option, and that would be the Medicare public option."
She said she thinks this will introduce competition into smaller, rural communities and to small business owners.
On the cost of this public option plan, Londrigan said it's too early to talk specifics, but she estimates it will be 3 percent of the $32 trillion Medicare For All plan.
You can also listen to the full interview:
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