On today’s show, we interviewed Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. Londrigan is one of the Democrats running for the 13th Congressional seat. The seat is currently occupied by Rodney Davis, a Republican.
Londrigan is a progressive with a strong focus on healthcare. She shared the story of her son who fell critically ill, and how that served as a wakeup call about the need for universal healthcare. She also talked about how the group “Sangamon County Women For Hillary” became “Women Rising” after the election of Donald Trump.
Beyond the mainstream issues of healthcare and climate change, Londrigan also brought up the importance of the Science Advisory board for the EPA, and the changes the President Trump has made to it. She strongly objects to the move which prevents individuals with government grants from serving on the board, and laid out why that prohibition could cause serious issues for the EPA.
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Duckworth visits Springfield to support Londrigan
With the November 6th election less than a week away, candidates are making their final appearances before the votes are cast. In that spirit, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), came out to show her support for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in her race against Rodney Davis (R-13). Duckworth echoed Londrigan’s concern over support for preexisting conditions. Londrigan’s primary campaign issue has been ensuring continuing coverage for preexisting conditions.
The senator expanded on this point to highlight the issues that veterans face. A veteran herself, Duckworth explained that not every service member receives coverage at the VA. Many veterans choose or are forced to seek insurance coverage elsewhere.
Jim Dixon, president of the Illinois & Central Illinois Trades & Labor Council, also pointed out that not all injuries veterans receive in the line of duty are covered at the VA. Agent Orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam War, has led to huge numbers of cancers and deaths among those who were exposed to it. However, it took many years for the government to acknowledged Agent Orange was harmful to people. Duckworth suggested that there may be other unrecognized issues from service in more recent wars that require veterans to seek healthcare outside of the VA.
You can watch Duckworth’s and Londrigan’s full remarks in the player.
Bustos and Londrigan respond to Davis statements on healthcare
Healthcare, especially coverage for preexisting conditions, has been a major focus of the race in the 13th. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D) was motivated to enter the race specifically due to her son’s near-fatal illness. Both she and her Republican opponent Rodney Davis have been working to portray themselves as champions of those with preexisting conditions. At the same time, they have been attacking the proposals put forward by the other side.
Today, Londrigan was joined by fellow Democrat Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17) to rebut several recent claims from the Davis camp. One claim in particular, that the Washington Post gave “four pinocchios” to the Democrats for claims about how the AHCA protects preexisting conditions, was highlighted. The Post published an article this morning refuting this claim, and objecting to the Republicans’ refusal to correct their misstatements. Londrigan pointed to this article as proof of Davis hiding from his record on healthcare.
Bustos also spoke about the recent tax reform bill. She celebrated the fact that no Democrats voted for the bill, which she said greatly expanded federal deficits. Bustos went on to warn that Republicans may use the growing deficit as justification to cut entitlement programs like Medicare or Social Security.
Londrigan and Davis will have their final debate tonight in Normal, IL. You can watch Bustos’ and Londrigan’s full remarks in the player.