Agriculture is the heart of the Illinois 17th District, the proud home to thousands of farms. Esther is proud to stand up for our family farms and will fight for farmers when elected to Congress.
The agribusiness economy is the economic engine that drives our state, with farmers adding huge value to our economy. We must make it possible for the next generation of farmers to be competitive by ensuring access to existing markets and creating new markets for our exports.
By passing reasonable long-term farm bills, ensuring access to reliable crop insurance, and promoting new technologies and opportunities, we can ensure that future generations are excited about their prospects in the agribusiness economy. Our farmers need federal support when appropriate, but not federal interference. Our economy relies on advocating for sensible environmental policies that recognize farmers as the best stewards of their land and standing up for farmers when policies seek to turn back the clock on the advances we have made.
Bipartisanship is not selling out our values, or the needs of our district, to make political gains. True bipartisan cooperation is putting the needs of our district forward for consideration and working with others to find ways to give where it doesn’t matter as much as to gain where it matters the most.
Finding ways to ensure that the needs of the Illinois 17th district come first, before party, before politics, and before special interests, is the key to moving our regional economy ahead to keep pace with the national growth trends.
American workers, including the workforce in the Illinois 17th District, are potentially the best workers in the world. American workers suffer from unfair trade and labor practices creating good-paying jobs in China and elsewhere overseas, and that needs to cease immediately. We need financial policies and trade practices that create American jobs, return our supply chain to American soil, and grow the American economy.
Manufacturing is a vital segment of our nation’s and the 17th Congressional District’s economy. We must preserve our country’s role as the global leader, as a robust manufacturing sector provides growth and opportunity for the American workforce.
Manufacturers need the necessary tools and resources to thrive. It should be the role of the government to implement a framework that allows for innovation and manufacturing to prosper. The 17th Congressional District of Illinois needs someone who will work with those at the Federal and State levels to provide manufacturers with the ability to succeed.
Enhancing and empowering Americans to start and grow small businesses is a vital component of our long-term economic success as a country. Small businesses create two-thirds of the growth in jobs in the American economy. Nurturing the growth sector of the economy and expanding access to markets to make the export of American products more competitive is what will create jobs and ensure economic opportunity and success for future generations.
Making sure all children have the access and opportunity to a high-quality education is critical and ensuring parents have a say in this education is just as important. For our educational experience to be world-class, we need to ensure schools have dedicated and sustainable funding that is actually benefiting the students. Federal funding should provide resources and training for our educators, properly equip classrooms, and maintain local control over curriculum and leadership, and encourage parental engagement.
For too long, our high schools have focused on only one path forward for graduates – a four-year college degree. It’s time we teach our students that anything is possible upon graduation. While a four-year college education may be great for many students, it’s not for every student and it’s certainly not the only way to be successful in life. Vocational and on-the-job training programs are just as important to present as options as four-year institutions are. We are facing a labor shortage, in part, due to our aging skilled trades’ workforce. My goal is to work with labor groups and businesses to help promote these programs that help young adults succeed in life.
However, for those choosing to attend a four-year university, it’s important we work to contain the costs of college and help students understand loans and borrowing to ensure they’re graduating with less debt.
As the most prosperous nation to ever exist, Americans deserve access to quality healthcare, and it’s up to our leadership to make care more accessible at a reasonable cost. America needs market-based healthcare, giving customers more choice, and keeping costs down.
Patients and their doctors should be responsible for healthcare decisions, not insurance companies or Washington bureaucrats.
We should have laws that encourage employers to offer health insurance plans with more flexibility for the consumer, and work for innovative solutions to help self-employed workers—including farmers—because as our “gig-economy” grows, healthcare access should not hold back bold business ideas that grow small- to mid-sized business and strengthen our communities.
Growing up on the border between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, I have a firsthand understanding of immigration. I’ve witnessed illegal border crossings with my own eyes, and I’ve watched my brother-in-law struggle with his student visa after marrying my sister. He was forced to get in line, pay a lot of money, and to wait for three years before he was able to return to this nation legally. Now he is a successful business owner who pays his taxes and contributes to society.
Immigration policy must begin with securing our borders. America is a land of opportunity, giving so many immigrants a better life and strengthening the fabric of who we are as a county. America is also a nation founded on laws, and our laws need to be enforced to keep our country strong and united.
Congress needs to work to repair this broken system by enacting new immigration laws that protect us and provide a legal pathway to citizenship for those willing to comply with our rules. Children who were brought to America illegally at an early age need a legal path to become citizens, and they need to be in line with those who have waited patiently to come to America legally.
National Security is the primary function of the federal government. The men and women in uniform are the ones who protect our unique democratic society. America needs to lead the world in defense. We need leadership that will arm our military with the resources and training they need to defend our nation from potential domestic attacks on our water and energy and to provide strong national defense from foreign threats.
As a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, I understand the importance of national defense, and I’m committed to a strong military and to honor the brave men and women who serve this nation. It is vital to provide our military with the training and resources they need to handle the mounting security challenges and threats around the world.
A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay is one of the most basic contracts that can exist in the modern workforce. When it comes to organized labor, we need representation that supports the rights of workers to organize if they choose to. It is vital that we support collective bargaining.
Management and labor succeed when they work together and are encouraged to have an open, direct, fair, and honest relationship because that is what creates a successful enterprise long-term.
A basic element of the American work landscape is the idea that people are best when they are working together to improve themselves and their community. Trying to find ways to unite to create more and better jobs, increase production and economic growth, and elevate income is pro-worker and pro-middle class.
One of the most pressing issues facing the American workforce is training workers to prepare them for high-tech jobs. American manufacturing can lead the world in high-tech applications and to make sure our workforce is prepared to stay at the front of the pack. To do that, we must fully fund trade schools, apprenticeship programs, and workplace safety training.
Science has shown and is continuing to present research that a fetus is a human being with completely unique DNA that can feel pain early in development. The Declaration of Independence declares individuals are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” including the right to life. We must protect the most vulnerable, including babies in the womb.
We need to support and expand access to women’s healthcare for Federally Qualified Health Clinics and Rural Health Clinics (which do not provide abortion but provide other critical health services for women). Adoption must be an easier option for mothers.
I’m unapologetically pro-life. I am also pro-women’s rights, especially the rights of female babies who are still in the womb.