Blue America was the first national group to endorse Ilya Sheyman and we were sad that the DCCC and other DC conservatives were able beat him in the primary last month. But we were as happy as can be that just to the southeast of his district, another outstanding movement progressive, Dr. David Gill, turned back those same forces and triumphed the same night that Ilya faltered. Hopefully Ilya will run again and win-- and be greeted on the steps of Congress by David Gill, who has run several times already. Sometimes, as we saw with Donna Edwards and Alan Grayson, it takes more than one try.
Illinois' newly redrawn 13th congressional district is very different from the one Dr. Gill has run in previously. It's a D+1 district that voted for Obama by 11 points. But his opponent, conservative Republican Tim Johnson, David told us, "is still voting like he’s in his old 60-40 Republican district. He’s now voted for the extreme Ryan plan to end Medicare twice. He refused last summer to vote to raise the debt ceiling, an action that was necessary because of his votes for Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. He’s been in Congress for six terms and he’s a 40-year politician. He’s out of touch with the district."
David is a 20 year member of Physicians For a Single Health Payer Plan. "I became interested in running because of what I see on a daily basis in the health care industry as an ER doctor. We have a two-tiered system of access to healthcare in America and, frankly, the American health care system is failing a lot of people." But if health care was got him interested in running originally, he's as far from a one-issue candidate as you'll find.
"Health care is one symptom of many. There are many areas impacted by our corporate governance. Retirement security, jobs, healthcare, education and restoring the health of our planet are all areas where private interests are trumping the public good in Congress. People get to Washington, spend too much time around corporate lobbyists and suddenly forget that Social Security is in better financial health than the Federal budget that’s been decimated by Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest. They forget that Climate Change is the biggest crisis we are facing today, not the deficit. They forget that we have a jobs crisis to fix. They’ve forgotten that government should be working to solve problems for regular people."
David will be joining us here (in the comments section, below) for a live chat today at 1pm (CT), 11am on the West Coast. He's a fighter for all the values and all the principles Blue America stands for. Congress will be a far better place if he's elected. Please consider helping him replace Tim Johnson with a contribution to his campaign.
And David was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. He's also opposed to the continued occupation of Afghanistan. "I’ve come to the realization the past few years that our presence in Afghanistan has outlived its usefulness. It’s time to end our mission there and get our troops out of harm’s way as soon as possible."
He can win this race and bring a healthy dose of Prairie State populism to Washington. Although the corrupt Illinois Machine is still unreconciled to his victory over their candidate, last week a former area congressman and member of the Progressive Caucus, Phil Hare, gave him a ringing endorsement.
"I support David Gill because I know he will have the courage to stand up to Wall Street and fight for middle-class Illinoisans everyday. David will make sure millionaires pay their fair share and he'll be a strong voice for working men and women in the progressive tradition of my friend (and former boss) Lane Evans.
David Gill knows what it's like to roll up your sleeves and work hard. He comes from a working-class family. When his father died, David started working as a dishwasher at 13 to help support his family. David worked stocking shelves to pay his way through college at U of I. He mopped floors at a laundromat in the middle of the night to put himself through medical school.
I trust David to be a passionate voice for middle-class people. I know David will protect the rights of workers. And who better than an ER doctor like David Gill to block the Republicans’ attempts to end Medicare as we know it? The bottom line is this: Illinois families need David Gill in Congress."
David just defeated a DCCC and New Democrat-backed congressional challenger who outspent him 5-1. He ran a strictly grassroots, people-powered campaign and he won without compromising his progressive values. as you can see in the video above. "I was willing to stand up and fight back against the Republican War on Women and special interest-domination of Congress and the residents of IL-13 responded and were willing to put their trust in me."
Let's make sure the primary victory turns into a big win in November. Please consider giving what you can.