Marie Newman is a Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois’s Third Congressional District, where she is challenging incumbent Representative Dan Lipinski (D). Rep. Lipinski has held the office since 2004, when the prior incumbent, his father, retired after eleven terms. Mrs. Newman is challenging Rep. Lipinski, a member of the more conservative Blue Dog caucus, from his left. A local businesswoman and executive of the national non-profit “Team Up to Stop Bullying,” Mrs. Newman is a proponent of Healthcare-for-All and has been endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders’ organization, Our Revolution, as well as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, EMILY’s List, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
The Gate: Rep. Dan Lipinski has been in office since 2004. Why did you choose this cycle to launch a progressive campaign against him?
Marie Newman: The district has been displeased with him, probably, from the outset. He started his congressional career in a very shady way: he inherited the seat. He did not have to campaign, and he came in at the last minute and inherited the seat in in a very poor, disrespectful, and shady way. He started out on a bad note with the district, and I certainly have been watching his votes and career, and it’s always been alarming, but I’ve had kids to raise and lots to do, as did everybody.
This district is a working families district that is very busy working one, two, three jobs, not making enough money, but he doesn’t care about it. But nobody has the time to stop their job, or to shut down their business, and take on an entrenched congressman that is heavily supported by the Chicago machine. When you ask, “Why now?”, it’s because we’re all fed up. We’re all fed up. We’re done. We’re done with the machine and with the Lipinski monarchy. It’s over.
When I started my exploratory committee a year and a quarter ago, not only did the data in the district show us that Rep. Lipinski’s unfavorable ratings were extremely high, but that he was wrong on every issue, and that he’s done nothing. He’s been a very inactive congressman. So, when my path––people had asked me some time over the years to run, and I just couldn’t, because I was busy with my kids, et cetera––now, as we looked at November of 2016, the day after Trump, I realized that we’ve got to save us. Nobody was coming to save us, so we, the people of the Third District, had to save us. That’s when I started running with the District. I’ll often say in meet-and-greets, of which I’ve had a hundred and thirty, “We’re doing this together because we’re running in alignment. The district is running in alignment with me and we are together running for Congress. Mr. Lipinski is running against us.” We have to save ourselves, and we have to get this problem solved.
When I decided to run, it was because I knew I was in alignment with the district, and it was desperately needed. Rep. Lipinski has very dangerous views: he is against healthcare for all, he voted against the Affordable Care Act, he votes against immigrants at every turn, he is anti-DREAM Act, anti-path to citizenship, and anti-refugee. We are a country filled with immigrants and refugees. We were all immigrants once, so the fact that he is against all of us is sad.
He is against fifteen dollars an hour, which is despicable. I turned to him in the Sun-Times interview––he believes that “Twelve dollars an hour is enough”––and said to him, “Let’s do that budget. You’re going to feed your family on that. You’re going to have a roof over your head. You’re going to get to and from work, take your kids to and from school. You’re going to clothe them, and, if they have any level of activities, you’re going to take care of that.” You can’t really live on those items with twelve dollars an hour, and then you need to get healthcare. That’s impossible. He didn’t know what to say, sat there agog. He has no idea how much things cost, he is completely out of touch. He doesn’t understand healthcare, he doesn’t understand immigration policy, and he has done nothing for working families or the middle class. There’s nothing there that works for us, for the district.