Radio Free Resistance is proud to publish transcripts of the “10 Questions” series by @CaptainsLog2O18
10 Questions with Amy Murri Breil – with Guest Host @1IronMan2018
Amy is a candidate for US House of Representative, Illinois District 16
How are you doing today, Amy?
AMB: Fantastic! Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions.
TS: Great! Let's start off like we always do.
Q1: What inspired you to run for office?
AMB: The result of the 2016 election was the initial impetus to run. I was frustrated and angry that we could elect a president who was so divisive and so dismissive of women. After I went to Washington for the Women's March and as we began to see the first revelations that would lead to the #metoo movement, I decided it was time to consider a run for office. Earlier in my career, I had left a corporate position to take a job helping women who were victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives. So many of the issues those women encountered, lack of quality educational opportunities, lack of jobs that paid enough to raise a family, access to quality, affordable healthcare, and societal and law enforcement attitudes that caused so many of these women to remain silent were the issues that faced us as a nation. In addition to the critical issues we must address to undo the damage done by this president and his enablers in Congress, I want to be a voice for all women. I want to work on legislation that ensures that this brief moment of empowerment, when women have finally had the courage to stand up and tell the world what we have previously only shared amongst ourselves as whispers in the restroom, break room, or over lunch, is not brief. I want to ensure that no more women suffer in silence because of a culture that decided standing up and saying “No” was not ladylike. Of course, I have no intention of being a one-issue member of Congress, but I will bring the same commitment I made to each of those women I worked with to rebuild their lives to Congress.
TS: I have to say, very inspiring!!
Q2: Following the terrible tragedy in Parkland, FL, many of us are concerned about the safety of our children and safe gun laws. Can you tell us how you would address the very important issue of #GunReform?
AMB: The answer is NOT to arm our teachers. First and foremost, we need to pass common sense legislation that is supported by the vast majority of Americans, including expanding comprehensive background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and restricting magazine sizes. Currently, only 8 states have such laws. I would support national legislation that would codify magazine size. I also support measures that ensure people with a history of domestic violence and those on the no-fly list do not have the ability to purchase firearms. I would also support a plan that would require all gun owners to carry liability gun insurance. Additionally, while I have no doubt that this is a gun issue, we must also recognize that these incidents are almost exclusively carried out by disaffected young white men. We need to ensure that our schools have the resources necessary to identify and provide assistance for students who demonstrate the warning signs that have been present in so many of these shootings.
TS: These are the ideas we need in Congress on #GunSense
Q3: The residents of Illinois have serious concerns about #Infrastructure. An estimated $40 billion is needed just to shore up aged roads, bridges, transit systems, and tunnels. How would you suggest this be addressed for Illinois?
AMB: One of the issues I have talked about extensively is the need for a massive public works project. Having grown up in the Illinois Valley, I understand how essential the rivers are to moving goods and recreation. We must make an investment in repairing the locks and dams, dredging the river beds, and making critical fixes to the flood control system. Addressing those needs, plus the critical needs you mentioned in your question, will create good paying jobs. The Trump administration has proposed a plan that puts an undue burden on the states and amounts to nothing more than a privatization scam. Any infrastructure legislation that I support will need to include safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent bidding process, require that contractors pay their employees a prevailing wage, and are qualified to do the work.
TS: The people of Illinois should be glad to hear that!!
Q4: The GOP was able to pass their tax plan in December, which was eventually signed into law. Would you have supported the plan for your constituents had you been in office?
AMB: As I said at the time, the tax plan, which was supported by Representative Kinzinger, was a gift to corporations, the donor class, and the 1%. It will hurt middle class and low-income families. Nearly every CEO who was questioned regarding the impact of the tax cut said that the money received in tax credits will not go to workers. This tax bill was an attempt to continue to perpetuate the republican myth of trickle-down economics. Additionally, perhaps the most destructive aspect of the bill was the repeal of the individual mandate which disrupted insurance markets and destroyed the one of the most critical aspects of the ACA. Passed in the dead of night, this bill embodies everything that is wrong with the GOP controlled Congress.
TS: I couldn't agree more.
Question 5: Healthcare is an issue that is important to everyone and is likely to be an issue in Congress again. What ways do you foresee being able to help those on ACA keep their coverage, keep it affordable, and get more residents in #IL16 covered?
AMB: One of the issues that I discuss frequently with voters is my commitment to not simply telling them what they want to hear. Even if we are fortunate enough to have an unprecedented Democratic wave in November, we will still have a Republican president and we will not have veto proof majorities in the House and Senate. While I believe that universal healthcare will eventually be a reality, it is imperative that the next Congress is committed to replacing the critical protections afforded by the ACA until we can elect a Democratic president in 2020. The Chicago Tribune cited this pragmatic and progressive approach in their endorsement of my campaign.
TS: I very much agree with you.
Q6: Related to healthcare, Illinois hospitals have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of patients overdosing on opioids: ER visits statewide in the first 9 months of 2016 climbed 77% compared to 2015. Is this important for you to address?
AMB: My district has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis. Throughout the campaign, I have met with many medical professionals, emergency responders, and individuals who have had their lives torn apart by this epidemic. As a result of these conversations, I have developed a multi-tiered approach which includes treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue and providing resources to increase the number of supportive services facilities. In some areas of my district, it can take up to an hour to get to a facility for treatment in an overdose situations. I support limiting the pharmaceutical company’s ability advertise opioid medication. I also support full legalization of marijuana and would vote for additional funding for CDC research to test the efficacy of cannabis for pain management and addiction treatment. And finally, I support measures which will expunge the record of all non-violent drug offenders and provide commutation of sentences for nonviolent marijuana related offences.
TS: Thank you. Very comprehensive plan .
Q7: One way we can improve life for all Americans is through good education. What plans do you have for improving education for Illinois residents who have faced a number of funding gaps?
AMB: First of all, while it is a state issue, I believe that the manner in which we fund schools in Illinois, through property taxes, is misguided and has contributed to a wide gap in educational opportunity. I believe the most basic commitment a society makes to their people, is to provide every child with access to a quality education regardless of race, income, or zip code. I support investment in early childhood, school lunches, and after school programs. There is an increasing body of evidence that shows these investments pay for themselves in terms of lower crime rates and less reliance on social safety nets later in life. I also believe we need to increase our emphasis on vocational programs. The Obama recovery was extraordinary given what he inherited but it created high and low-skill jobs while not creating an abundance of medium-skill positions. The infrastructure plan mentioned earlier will help solve that problem, but I fear we do not have enough qualified individuals to fill that demand without reinvesting in vocational training. In terms of higher education, we need to allow student loans to be refinanced at current interest rates and change the prohibition against student loans being included in bankruptcies. And finally, we need to develop a public service option for students, much like Teach for America, which would offer tuition waivers for students who agree to work in underserved communities for a set time after receiving their degrees.
TS: Affordable and diverse educational opportunities are vital to the future of the country, for children, families, and all of us.
Q8: What is your stance on immigration? The current administration has taken a very hard approach that has led to the division of families.
AMB: First of all, I take exception to attempts by the administration and Republicans in Congress to use scare tactics and pejorative renaming of existing programs like family reunification. I am convinced that Donald Trump's wall is a solution in search of a problem. It is nothing more than pandering to fear and hatred. While I agree there is a need for comprehensive immigration reform, as a member of Congress I will be committed to ensuring that the Dreamers, law abiding, tax paying individuals who have made great contributions to this country are provided a path to citizenship. Our country has been made better for two centuries thanks to the contributions of immigrants. The current right-wing attempts to demonize non-native born individuals is a stain on our democracy.
TS: Q9: Women are fed up with not being heard, & not even being able to speak in some cases. How important is it that we have a more balanced representation as to our elected officials?
AMB: I support the bill introduced by Jackie Speier which provides additional oversight for members of Congress. As someone who worked closely with victims of domestic violence, and like all women who have ever been employed anywhere, I have plenty of experience with my own #metoo moments. Therefore, I would support legislation which would provide additional protections for women who report inappropriate sexual behavior in any workplace. We have reached a point where we will either recognize that we have had enough and that what has been the status quo for too long must end or as we have with gun violence, we will miss the opportunity to act and instead decide that the unacceptable is somehow acceptable. #Metoo goes beyond workplace harassment. Teen and young adults face sexual harassment and assault as well. The rollback by Betsy DeVos of the Title IX protections for victims who report assaults on campuses must be reinstated and become a permanent piece of legislation.
TS: Excellent points on the bill from @RepSpeier and Title IX protections. It's past time for this to be addressed.
Q10: What more do we need to know about you and how to support your campaign?
AMB: Thank you so much for providing me with the opportunity to share my views. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook @MurriBrielIL16 and share with your friends and family. Also please consider donating to our grassroots campaign https://act.myngp.com/Forms/509830413735037696
Follow Donna Noble at @DonnaNoble10th.