By ALEX ORTIZ
While knocking on doors in Romeoville last week, Marie Newman, who is again challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in 2020, met a man she said embodies the typical voter in the state’s 3rd Congressional District.
Newman and a handful of volunteers were out canvassing during a busy weekend, mostly introducing herself to voters and asking them what issues matter. This particular 65-year-old voter said he was a retired welder on a fixed income with regular medical bills.
“Money is very tight,” the man said. “I worked six days a week my whole life.”
Newman said she has heard many similar stories from residents around the district, which is why she said she will advocate for implementing a
$15-per-hour minimum wage, paid family leave, universal childcare, strengthening unions and “Medicare For All.”
“I am absolutely laser focused on the affordability of life,” she said. “Right now our lives are not affordable.”
When she first challenged Lipinski in 2018, Newman said, he and the media focused on their differences on reproductive rights. Lipinski is anti-abortion.
While Newman described her policies as progressive, she rejected framing the race as only being about centrism vs. progressivism. She said the media should ask candidates whether or not they actually fit the views of their district.
Lipinski has touted his stances as “common sense” while attacking Newman as “running a ‘tea party of the left,’” in response to her endorsements from progressive organizations.
“I believe in progressive policies that will support this district because this district is filled with real Democrats,” she said.
In the 2018 primary, Lipinski edged out Newman by about 2% of the vote, but in Will County, she was ahead by about 17%, or around 1,200 votes.
Newman said between the endorsements and adding hundreds of field volunteers, she has seen a lot more excitement for the prospect of change among voters in the 3rd District, including the retiree she met in Romeoville. When Newman told him she was a Democrat running for Congress who supported Medicare for All and wanted to protect Social Security benefits, he replied, “Great! We need that,” and invited her inside for a drink.