U.S. Senate

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David F Black
Green Party

815-871-8991
dblack107@gmail.com
davidblackforsenate.org
Social Media:
facebook.com/David-Black-for-Senate-101844094847813
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat

312-890-2176
gbales@durbinforsenate.com
durbinforsenate.com
Social Media:
Facebook.com/DickDurbin
Instagram: @DurbingCampaign
Twitter: @DickDurbin
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican

847-721-3189
markcurranlaw@gmail.com
electcurran.com
Social Media:
Twitter: Former Sheriff Mark Curran
Instagram: electmarkcurran
Facebook: Mark Curran for U.S. Senate
Danny Malouf
Libertarian

815-245-6938
contact@danny2020.com
www.danny2020.com
Social Media:
facebook.com/dannymalouf2020

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Candidate Background
David F Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Education
BA, MA, PhD, JDGeorgetown Undergraduate and LawSpring Hill College of Law BS in Business Administration; IIT Chicago Kent-College of LawB.S. Accountancy – Illinois State University
Experience
See bio belowPrevious member of U.S. House of Representatives; Current U.S. SenatorAttorney; Former Prosecutor; Former Sheriff; Small Business OwnerI am the only candidate who will uphold their oath of office to always support and defend the Constitution of the United States
Biographical Statement
I supported new Farm Bill programs to expand local and regional systems that strengthen diversity (both economically and socially) of the farm sector, like dedicated funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and the new Office of Urban Agriculture. Better outreach, education, and training are imperative so more local farmers know and use these programs. We must pursue more creative thinking similar to what was done with establishing microloans, NAP recognition of organic crop economics, and expanding FSFL eligibility. And USDA must act on the law that makes local farmers eligible for the $9.5 billion in CARES Act pandemic funding. I supported new Farm Bill programs to expand local and regional systems that strengthen diversity (both economically and socially) of the farm sector, like dedicated funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and the new Office of Urban Agriculture. Better outreach, education, and training are imperative so more local farmers know and use these programs. We must pursue more creative thinking similar to what was done with establishing microloans, NAP recognition of organic crop economics, and expanding FSFL eligibility. And USDA must act on the law that makes local farmers eligible for the $9.5 billion in CARES Act pandemic funding.I am an attorney in private practice, and I am a former county, state, and federal prosecutor. I was the elected Sheriff of Lake County, Illinois from 2006-2018. I was endorsed by the Lake County Farm Bureau in my 2010, 2014 and 2018. Lake County has very few farms but I did work the Lake County Farm Bureau to raise money for them and I frequently served at “Feed my starving children” in Libertyville, a non-profit that sends food to hungry people around the globe. I have toured many farms and spoken with countless farmers as a Candidate. I am a 32 year old HR Manager and volunteer youth wrestling coach, based out of Woodstock, Illinois. A former athlete of Crystal Lake Central, and Team Illinois in the USA wrestling scene, I competed on a national level, becoming an individual ‘All-American’ wrestler. Upon graduating from Illinois State with a B.S. Accounting, my career began in the recruitment industry working for the world’s largest staffing company. After 5 years with the firm, I joined a global manufacturing company at its US headquarters in Elgin, IL. With a competitive spirit, I have found success in business and in sports, developing a philosophy that we should promote self-ownership and accountability.
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1. Illinois ranks 6th in value of agricultural production, yet the Illinois Department of Agriculture estimated in 2011 that over 90% of the food purchased in Illinois came from out of state. As sources like the St Louis Federal Reserve Harvesting Opportunity and others conclude, local and regional food systems can have a positive economic impact. Support for local farm businesses increases the share of money recirculating in the local economy and helps local farm families access a greater share of the consumer expenditures on food. For more of the food we eat to be sourced locally, we would need more farmers raising diversified crops and livestock, and we need to reinvest in scale-appropriate infrastructure (such as regional mills, food hubs, livestock, and poultry processing) to process   and transport farm products.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What, if any, policies will you support to increase food security and build a vibrant local food economy?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
I support full funding and an increase in SNAP benefits. I personally shop a local farmers’ markets and fully support food coops and other local food sources. I support schools offering nutritious meals, locally sourced if possible.I supported new Farm Bill programs to expand local and regional systems that strengthen diversity (both economically and socially) of the farm sector, like dedicated funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and the new Office of Urban Agriculture. Better outreach, education, and training are imperative so more local farmers know and use these programs. We must pursue more creative thinking similar to what was done with establishing microloans, NAP recognition of organic crop economics, and expanding FSFL eligibility. And USDA must act on the law that makes local farmers eligible for the $9.5 billion in CARES Act pandemic funding.I have been running for Office as a Candidate that will work to support small businesses and small farms. I have spoken extensively on the dangers of the “too big to fail” mantra. I believe that the local economy is critical. Generally, products that can be made in America should be made in America. Similarly, agriculture that can be grown locally, or at least in America, should be grown locally. A large percentage of young people subscribe to the concepts of entrepreneurship and socialism. I think if they saw more entrepreneurial opportunities, they would be less inclined to socialism. The smaller farmers are able to grow organically safer crops. I am a strong proponent of the social justice prongs of solidarity and subsidiarity. Specifically, we do best with a government and economic system that allows decisions to be made at the lowest level of government possible and creates an economic climate that is friendliest to small local businesses.When it comes to needing “more farmers raising diversified crops and livestock,” I can only imagine a more favorable business environment in this state would be a good start. As the state with arguably the highest overall tax burden in the country, the Illinois governor and state legislature are driving existing businesses away, and creating artificially high barriers for new businesses to overcome and enter the market. We need to promote a more business friendly state with lower taxes and fewer regulations.
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2. Programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school meal programs help ensure that vulnerable Americans have access to sufficient food. The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), formerly FINI, provides extra funding for SNAP clients to buy fresh produce from local farmers. The Farm to School Grant Program connects children with fresh foods from local farms. These programs strengthen the local food system by putting money in the pockets of local farmers while alleviating hunger with nutritious health- promoting foods. These programs are also particularly important for communities of color who suffer disproportionate levels of food insecurity. However, many families and individuals in need are faced with considerable barriers to access due to restrictive eligibility requirements and insufficient funding. Farmers also face barriers in being able to accept online SNAP/EBT payments.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What will you support to increase the consumption of health-promoting foods by SNAP clients while ensuring the success of local farmers?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Yes, definitely and aggressively. This summer, I introduced the Expanding SNAP Options Act to require USDA to implement online SNAP purchasing in every state, provide $25 million for USDA to develop and operate a secure online EBT portal to help smaller retailers–including farmers markets and small growers–participating in SNAP, and provide $75 million for technical assistance for these retailers and recipients. I have supported pursuing WIC flexibilities during the pandemic and extending a number of school meal waivers for the 2020-2021 school year, and funds to help with the cost of meal delivery to low-income students. I have also opposed efforts to limit eligibility for SNAP.I strongly believe in an America that provides healthy food for the poor. I referenced the social justice concept of solidarity above. We need to make sure that children in America do not go to bed in hunger. Although, most decisions are better made at the local level there are many things the federal government needs to do including providing benefits to the poor. I believe in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school meal programs and will fight for their funding. I also love the idea of the Farm to School Grant Program. I would work hard to simplify the barriers faced by farmers in accepting SNAP/EBT payments as well insuring that poor families were able to access the food their families need.Ideally the SNAP program should be localized and privatized. As a federal legislator I would promote the idea of community food pantries as a means of taking care of the needy. Ultimately, this is the role of individuals, churches, and charities, rather than the federal government through federal subsidies. My opponents will most certainly compete for who can promise farmers more subsidies and who can promise the people more free stuff. That’s not my agenda. I would like to get government out of the way, and instead of them picking winners and losers, allow for the market to do so.
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New Farmers
Farmer Chase Sanert of Sugar Grove Family Farm in Greenview holds a free range chicken from his farm. Chase raises 100% grass fed and finished beef, and pasture raised pork and chicken he sells direct-to-consumer, to restaurants and retail. Meat processing is among the most consolidated industries. Four meat processors control over 85% of the U.S. slaughter market, as well as 35% of cattle ranches and 65% of the poultry industry.

3. The average age of farmers is 58 and has been increasing over time, while the number of beginning farmers is a fraction of what’s needed to replace retiring farmers. Young and first-time farmers face significant barriers to   entry, including access to land, credit, and capital. A majority of this new generation come from non-farm backgrounds, operate smaller, more diversified farms, and are more interested in conservation practices to support soil and water health.

However, farmland consolidation makes it challenging for new farmers to compete with established operations to secure land. A compounding factor is how development pressures have been decreasing the amount of available farmland while increasing its price. The farm bill’s ACEP-ALE program has been an effective tool to permanently protect farmland and create affordability, but much more can be done to address this challenge.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What policies will you support to ensure access to land, credit, and capital for the next generation of farmers?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
I support expanded agricultural education at the high school and college levels. I will support each and every effort to protect farm land and create affordability.I support stronger federal funding for USDA farm loan programs and staffing, and tailoring more programs to target and train new, young, military, veteran, or underserved farmers to receive affordable access to credit. I support payment limits and safeguards to ensure actively engaged smaller and medium sized farmers have a fair shot at accessing the USDA safety net. I also support expanding outreach and education so more of these farmers understand what resources are available from the federal government to start and expand their operations.I hope to be elected as the next United States Senator from Illinois and if elected I will all I can do to help Illinois Farmers. 75 percent of Illinois is farmland and much of the manufacturing in Illinois relates to farming. My son attended Iowa State University with an interest in farming. The University of Illinois has a good Agricultural Program but the U of I is very expensive. I think we need to bring the cost of education down especially for young people interested in Agriculture. There is a danger in relying solely on the Big Corporate Farms. Our food supply could be jeopardized by a number of different variables. The ability to access land, credit, and capital is limited to what the market is willing and able to provide. We should not force financial institutions to lend where credit worthiness is not demonstrated. By artificially lowering lending standards we artificially inflate risk and potentially even limit the ability for otherwise credit worthy individuals to obtain the land, credit, and capital they need and deserve by diverting resources elsewhere.
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4. In 1920, Black Americans made up 14% of U.S. farmers with 892 black farmers in Illinois. Due to the exploitation of heirs’ property by white developers and speculators and the racial discrimination in lending practices by the USDA (see Pigford v. Glickman), today Black Americans make up less than 2% of farmers nationwide with only 59 black farmers in Illinois. Agriculture in the U.S. has a long and cruel history of colonization, slavery, land dispossession, and labor exploitation. Although people of color make up 38% of the population, only 7% of farmers are people of color. People of color not only face barriers to access land, credit, and capital by systemic racism and discrimination but are actively dispossessed of land and wealth in our current system. Furthermore, farmworkers, in particular those in guest worker programs, are subject to poor wages, human rights abuses, and lack adequate access to health insurance or workers’ compensation. Some proposals from advocates include reparations for BIPOC people; reforms to the USDA administration; moratoriums on government foreclosures of Black land; debt forgiveness programs; reforms to labor laws and many others.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What policies will you support to address structural racism in the food system?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
I fully support reparations for BIPOC people; reforms to the USDA administration; moratoriums on government foreclosures of Black land; debt forgiveness programs; reforms to labor laws and many others.More USDA funding must be provided to address title issues with fractionated heir’s property (a cause of farm losses, and a barrier to farm ownership and USDA program eligibility faced by historically underserved farmers). We must redouble efforts to ensure county committees reflect the diversity of their service areas, and support approaches like tribal consultation when creating and improving USDA programs. We must increase USDA attention to the health, safety and livelihood of food and farmworkers. I am a cosponsor of Senator Booker’s bill that would establish a commission to study and develop proposals to provide reparations.I am not in favor of reparations for Black Americans. I think many of the economic problems in the black community relate to the absence of a father in the home. The absence of a nuclear family is the greatest factor determining whether an individual will grow up in poverty. We need better schools in inner city neighborhoods as well as school choice. I think that there are labor laws that need reforming specifically to address monopolization in farming as well as almost all industries in America. I have been a strong proponent of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and I think that will help with wages for the undocumented community as well as all American workers. The best way to support people of color wanting to get into the agriculture business is to first get big government out of the way. Barriers to entry will always exist within all industries, but onerous regulations and barriers established by the government hurt all prospective farmers, people of color or not. When it comes to reparations, moratoriums of foreclosures, debt forgiveness, etc., we need to rely on the court system rather than Congress.
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5. In addition to access to land and capital, urban farmers face many unique barriers including permits and licensing, secure land tenure, and soil remediation. Historically, urban farms have relied on programs not specifically targeted for urban farming like the Community Food Projects (CFP) or the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Along with not being designed specifically for urban farming, these programs have faced cuts.

Youth and adults work together to trellis tomatoes during an Advocates for Urban Agriculture training program at a farm site in Chicago. According to the Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project, the city of Chicago is home to over 80 urban farms and nearly 300 community gardens.

Funding for CFP was reduced by about 45% in the 2018 farm bill. Most existing local urban programs provide assistance that is geared more towards gardeners and hobbyists, rather than commercial, career farmers. There was an effort to address the issues of urban agriculture in the 2018 Farm Bill by authorizing $10 million in annual appropriations through FY2023 in grant funding for research, education, and extension, as well as the creation of the “Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Forms of Production” which has yet to be fully implemented.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

Considering these challenges, how should we tackle federal planning for urban agriculture and ensure that urban farmers do not fall through the cracks?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
The $10 million in annual appropriations for urban agriculture is clearly a drop in the bucket. I grew up in Detroit which has become a model for urban agriculture using abandoned land in the city. This has become a great source of healthy food as well as creating much needed employment opportunity.I supported the creation of the Office of Urban Agriculture in the 2018 Farm Bill, and cosponsored the amendment last year to appropriate $5 million for this office to begin operations. I am optimistic that creating this new, centralized location for urban farming will improve USDA data, responsiveness and outreach to urban growers, including participants in FSA, NRCS and RMA programs. I will be vigilant to ensure USDA keeps and expands this commitment to urban farmers.Detroit is an example of the success of Urban Farming with over 1400 community gardens and farms. I would like to see that model implemented more extensively in Illinois. East St. Louis where Senator Durbin grew up is in terrible shape. This community would really benefit from an investment like the one in Detroit. City governments throughout the country make it difficult to invest in urban farms because of the regulations. I have run on a platform of rolling back regulations and I would support greater investment in Urban Farming.I oppose the idea of federal planning for urban agriculture and other federal subsidies because there are only a finite number of resources that can be redistributed, and in attempting to do so among an infinite number of requests, the government is again picking winners and losers.
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6. The farm and food sectors are experiencing unprecedented corporate consolidation leading to unfair market conditions for family farmers that drive down wages for workers and hurt rural communities. Consolidation throughout the industry, including the agrochemical sector, means that farmers pay more for inputs like seed and fertilizers. The projected median farm income for 2020 is negative $1,449. Farm household income for most farmers comes from off-farm jobs and government subsidies. With low incomes and high operational costs, farmers are amassing debt, and loan delinquencies are rising. Some proposals include placing a moratorium on large agribusiness, instituting supply management programs, updating the Packers and Stockyard Act, and more.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

Do you believe accelerating consolidation in the farm input and food processing industry is a problem, and what will you support to ensure a level playing field for farmers?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Clearly consolidation in the farm industry is a problem. I support the breaking up of monopolies, creation of farm coops, and support for small producers.Changes in consumer demand over time with food expectations, pricing, and availability has influenced consolidation in the farm and food sector, and the pandemic further underscores shortcomings and weaknesses. I have called for increased vigilance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in the enforcement of antitrust laws during the pandemic, including the agriculture and food sectors, and will support exploring policies that can provide increased financial diversification, viability, and transparency for farmers and consumers.According to the New York Times the wealthiest 1 percent of America has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The large corporations have had pay scales where the bulk of the profits go to a hand full of executives at the top while these executives may make 40 times the pay of the average worker. Senator Durbin has been working on behalf of the wealthiest individuals and corporations for the last 38 years in Congress. I will work on behalf of the little guy. I will work to break up monopolies in farming and other industries. I will make sure the laws are not written so that only the biggest can comply with the regulations.Aside from perhaps existing antitrust laws, I don’t believe the government has the authorization to prohibit mergers and acquisitions of farms and related food processing businesses.
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Water Quality
Farmer Steve Buxton of Two Mile Creek Organic Farm in Sullivan holds a piece of earth planted with cover crops. “Our lake, thought to have near endless life and community benefits, could be lost to silt,” Steve said. “This is tied to the direct reflection of soils leaving the area farms. When soil moves it carries anything contained within it. Organic matter is being depleted.”

7. A major problem affecting our water is nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from fertilizers and animal waste that go into nearby waters or leach into groundwater causing adverse effects on the environment and people’s health.

Sustainable farming practices such as cover cropping, no-till, and conservation buffers have proven benefits in reducing nutrient runoff. These practices improve soil health by keeping more nutrients in the farm system, reducing erosion, and improving water storage ability. With low commodity prices in the past 6 years and high operational costs, farmers are strapped for cash and often cannot afford the extra up-front cost of soil health practices despite its long-term benefits. Programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) help fund investment in these soil health practices but the demand for assistance is often greater than available funding.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

How will you address the issue of agricultural runoff and water quality?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Support is needed to fund alternatives to the increased use of chemical fertilizers. Increased funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) would be a start.Conservation compliance for USDA program eligibility is important. I support stronger funding for CRP, EQIP, CSP, and related programs, and for creating a USDA-wide National Water Quality Initiative to improve their coordination. I support more incentives for cover crops, and called upon USDA to complete “good farming” cover crop guidelines. I support efforts by the Illinois Corn Growers, the University of Illinois and others to pilot, calculate and disseminate data to farmers on how reduced tilling and nitrogen application can be beneficial. I have called upon the USDA to quickly approve the Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreement.The margins for farmers are tighter than ever yet we have a great interest in ensuring high quality water for health and environmental reasons. I would support increasing funding for Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. I have spent a lot of time going to farms and talking with farmers and I am well aware that the farmers cannot afford all the government mandates. Hence, we need to make sure we give the farmers the funding to comply with these regulations. I also think the local farmer should take priority in receiving federal funding over any large corporate farms.The court system for starters. Unlike the establishment Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians actually support your right to your property. Whether you are an individual private land owner whose water systems have been contaminated, or a community of individuals surrounding a contaminated body of water, property owners have the right for their resources not to be damaged.
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Cover Crops
Farmer Bryce Hubbard of Pleasant Hill kneels to look at the cover crops on his field. Cover crops are typically planted after harvest to “cover” the field and prevent bare soils. They are a conservation tool used to protect against soil erosion and run-off, build organic matter, and capture carbon.

8. Farmers are at the forefront of the climate crisis. They face increasing threats to their livelihood from drought, severe weather events, and higher than normal temperatures. Sustainable agriculture’s focus on soil health plays a significant role in the climate change solution through carbon capture. Storing carbon in the soil is the cheapest   and easiest method of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while also improving yields because of improved soil quality.

Agricultural research that focuses on improving farm and community resilience to climate change is crucial to informing technical innovation and climate-ready production systems. Although soil health and sustainable farming practices build greater resilience and farm viability, farmers transitioning to such practices face steep barriers and often need technical and financial assistance.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What steps will you propose to assist farmers in becoming part of the solution to climate change?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
I fully support agricultural research that focuses on improving farm and community resilience to climate change. I agree that soil health and sustainable farming practices build greater resilience and farm viability. I favor financial assistance to farmers transitioning to such practices.My climate bill, America’s Clean Future Fund Act, dedicates a portion of the revenues generated by its carbon fee specifically for direct payments to farmers for the capital costs of implementing practices or equipment upgrades that reduce or sequester carbon emissions, and creates a new process at USDA to help farmers to quantify, verify, and monetize these carbon reductions and generate new revenues. My America Grows Act calls for a 5% increase annually in public research to accelerate breakthroughs and new opportunities in food and farming.Unlike many Republicans I accept the premise that our sinful behavior can affect the temperature of the climate and likely does. I am a big proponent of further research into climate change. We have an obligation to future generations to be good stewards of the earth. I think all government action regarding climate change requires a balancing. How great is the threat to the climate as well as food and water supply versus what are the costs? I do not subscribe to doomsday scenarios regarding the life of the planet however this does not give us a license to pollute the air, ground, or water. I care about the environment, that’s why I prefer the government not to be in charge of it. A limited role of providing information and external resources would be sufficient for the federal government. This could be something the states better service farmers with rather than the federal government.
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9. Farmers are an aging population working in one of the most dangerous industries in the country. To access health insurance, farmers depend on off-farm jobs, taking time away from the farm and hindering efforts to scale up. In rural areas, declining populations lead to hospital consolidations leaving many rural farmers and eaters with few options for quality care and in precarious situations when emergencies arise. Telemedicine has been helpful but broadband access is still out of reach for millions in rural America. Further, researchers have found that without competition between multiple providers, insurance premiums in rural areas are significantly higher than in urban areas. Many healthcare reform proposals include a public healthcare system, a public option, premium subsidies, caps on payments, and reinsurance. Some states have allowed farmer-owned co-op members to purchase group health insurance rates to lower the cost to individuals.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

Considering these factors, what do you support to guarantee access and affordability to quality healthcare?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Support for improved Medicare for All is a keystone of my platform and it differentiates me from my oponents. It would not only assist farmers but everyone in the country.My bipartisan Rural American Health Corps Act would increase and expand student loan forgiveness for health care providers who move to and serve in rural communities. I also introduced the Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act to add more rural hospitals to the financial lifeline provided by Medicare’s Critical Access Hospital designations. My SIREN Act, enacted into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, increases funds for rural EMS staff, certification and training, and equipment. I also support strengthening and expanding the Affordable Care Act to lower costs, boost competition, and improve access.I am opposed to a single payer healthcare system. I support and intend to ensure the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare. I would support farmer owned co-op members to purchase group health insurance rates. The healthcare industry is complicated in large part because it is serving many different special interests. We need tort reform but the Democrats including Senator Durbin consistently block these efforts. We need to know the costs of a medical procedure in advance to help ensure that there is healthy competition. We need to allow insurance to be purchased across state lines. We eventually need to remove the federal government entirely from the industry to better provide affordable care. Government has been intervening in the healthcare markets for over 50 years and has spent trillions of dollars, and what do they have to show for it? Medicare, Medicaid, and the general overregulation of healthcare and insurance have all contributed to the unaffordability of healthcare, so I don’t want to reward these government failures in healthcare with even more money and power. It’s time we unleash the power of the free market in order to reduce costs and create an abundance of care.
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10. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our health while underscoring some of the deepest cracks in our food system. It has highlighted longstanding issues in the food system including the systemic inequalities of food access for low-income households and communities of color. It has caused some food and supply shortages in grocery stores where long supply chains struggled early on to stock shelves amidst the increased demand. At the same time, farmers are forced to dump milk and euthanize their farm animals while families struggle to access food because the inflexibility of a centralized food system and a lack of regional food infrastructure prevents fulfilling local demand or selling directly to consumers. Across slaughterhouses and farm fields, food chain workers are deemed essential but insufficient PPE, low-wages, lack of access to health care, and no paid sick leave put them at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.

Learn more about these issues from our Eat-Drink-Vote Series

What do you support to ensure equitable access to nutritious foods, protection for food chain workers, and a more resilient local food supply during this ongoing crisis and potential future crises?

David F. Black
Green Party
Richard J. Durbin
Democrat
Mark C. Curran, Jr.
Republican
Danny Malouf
Libertarian
Recent epidemics have their roots in factory farms and encroachment on the natural environment. We need to begin there while also providing protections for agricultural workers including their access to free health care.“I called upon USDA to use all authorities during the pandemic to purchase and distribute surplus food to pantries experiencing high demand, including allocating funds for “last mile” deliveries. I cosponsored the Food Supply Protection Act to reimburse farmers who can package food directly to pantries, and for grants to smaller processors for storage and refrigeration upgrades that can diversify the concentrated processing chain. I opposed the President’s order forcing meat plants to open during the pandemic, which endangered workforce safety, and called upon the top meat facilities in Illinois to explain how workers will be protected. I support an emergency OSHA standard to protect workers during the pandemic.I grew up being told that it was sinful to waste food. Excess food should be given away before it is destroyed or thrown out. The United States should ensure that Americans are not going to bed hungry when we live in a country of such abundance. Charity begins at home but after our own needs are met there are other places in the World that need our assistance. The United Farm Workers Union has fought for better wages and working conditions but has been essentially limited to California. Once again when 1 percent of America has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent than to quote Bob Dylan there is “revolution in the air.” We are going to lose our capitalistic system if we do not quickly realize that greed at the top is driving more and more Americans to the idea of socialism.Once again, I support getting the federal government out of the way and unleashing the power of the free market. Unfortunately, in response to COVID-19, much of what the federal government did, and had done in the past, prevented people and businesses from thriving even with the side effects of the virus. Overregulation of industry prevented medical equipment and other PPE manufacturers from providing an adequate supply to meet demand.
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Thank you, Voter Guide Partners!

Advocates for Urban AgricultureAngelic Organics Learning Center Chicago Food Policy Action Council Family Farmed FoodWorks Illinois Farmers Market Association Illinois Stewardship Alliance The Land Connection Openlands Seven Generations Ahead HEAL Food Alliance Izaak Walton League of America National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition