Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mr. Noland Goes to Washington: To Fight for the Middle Class


Last month we met Elgin-based Illinois state Senator Mike Noland as he weighed the notion of running for the IL-08 congressional seat that Tammy Duckworth is giving up to run for the U.S. Senate. Nolan is far more progressive, not just than anyone the GOP would ever put up, but than the professional class of political hack the DCCC is likely to rally around. This is every reason to believe that in Congress Mike would continue working on the issues that have moved him in the state legislature: economic recovery, ethics reform, and fighting for universal health care.

Mike's bio sounds a lot more like most of us than it does like the bio of a member of the ruling elite. "Growing up," he wrote, "it was common for my family to be struggling to make ends meet."
By the age of 8, I began shining shoes to help make some extra money rather than rely on an allowance. Later, as a teenager in high school, I would wash dishes, bus tables and worked at hotels and restaurants to help support my family. After graduating high school, I joined the Navy and served as a hospital corpsman. During my time in the Navy I began my higher education by attending community college at night. Following the Navy, I knew that I needed to continue my education so I began studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Like many college students, I had to support myself while attending classes and did so by working as a chauffeur. I eventually earned a BA and MBA from UIC, and a JD from John Marshall Law School. As an attorney I’ve worked as a public defender, and later in private practice where I defended hundreds of clients, many of which pro-bono.
He makes a clear case for why he should have our support in his bid for Congress:
If elected to Congress I hope to carry on the work that I have started in the state legislature. As a progressive member of Congress I would continue to (1) be a leader on campaign finance reform, (2) be a fighter for universal health care (which could include single payer), and (3) help ensure that we find solutions to stem the effects of climate change.

I’ve been a keen leader on campaign finance reform throughout my time in the state Senate. In 2009 I was a lead co-sponsor of IL SB 1466, which for the first time introduced campaign contribution limits for candidates running in Illinois. Not only did this legislation introduce limiting the amount individuals and PACs could donate to campaigns, it also created greater transparency by requiring all contributions over $1,000 be reported (and posted publicly) within 5 days, and required candidates to disclose their contributions each quarter (instead of only twice a year). In 2013 I helped pass a joint-resolution that urged Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision and clearly define that CORPORATIONS ARE NOT INDVIDUALS. During the current legislative session I am carrying a bill that will create a first of its kind system of public financing campaigns in Illinois. I hope to go to Congress and work with members of the progressive caucus to pass campaign finance reform legislation that can curb the influence of money in our electoral process.

Even before the ACA was passed, it came under constant assault from the Tea Party and Republicans who were unhappy with its goals and accomplishments. I believe that we must stand up and protect the ACA, while continuing to expand its reach and create greater access to quality healthcare for more Americans. As an IL State Senator, I worked on legislation that could start the process of creating a Single Payer system in Illinois.

Finally, while deniers exist, we have to accept the damage that our environment has suffered as we live with the affects of climate change. I’ve served on the IL Senate Energy Committee and have worked to find practical solutions that allow for the expansion of renewable sources of energy. I’ve been very proud of my work with a local manufacturer of wind turbines in my district. Finding more sources of renewable energy is good for consumers, business, and our environment.
This morning Noland did another guest post for us, this one to make clear his opposition to the TPP, opposition he sees as part of the epic battle to revitalize the middle class. We added Mike to our list of House candidates for 2016 who are being backed by Blue America. You can see that whole list of progressive candidates here. Take a look at Mike's guest post below and think about whether you'd like to support him as well.

Guest Post by Sen. Mike Noland

There are many factors weighing on my mind as I consider a run for Congress. One of the biggest is that too many members of Congress have become bought and sold by corporate titans, Wall Street bankers and the rest of the 1%.

I want to go to Washington to fight for the middle class and stand up for working families. That is why I am standing in strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is bad deal! It will put thousands of American jobs at risk, encourage slave labor working conditions across the globe, and do irreversible damage to the environment.

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted, we’ve seen a mass exodus of jobs to countries that do not respect workers’ rights and allow for corporations to pay near slave wages. The TPP will only continue this trend. It will destroy thousands of middle class American jobs. The TPP will benefit companies that decide to move jobs overseas to countries that have no respect for workers’ rights.

The TPP engages too many bad actors as “trade partners.” It is a reckless policy to engage with countries that refuse to respect workers and attack those who organize for better working conditions and wages. If the United States is going to give preferential trade treatment to some countries, we must do so with partners who respect workers and allow for union organizing.

We all recognize that climate change is a man-made disaster and something that, collectively, the global community needs to work together to stem. The TPP will undoubtedly create irreversible damage to our environment. This agreement will create an unmitigated risk to natural treasures and wildlife. Under the TPP, we will only see increased stress on resources, habitats, and wildlife across the globe. That is why all leading environmental groups are opposed to this proposal.

Finally, the most concerning part of the TPP is the reckless and hidden manner in which the administration has tried to pass this agreement: by hiding many key sections of the agreement from Congress and the American people. If there is going to be a vote on this proposal, it must be presented and debated in an open manner that allows for the consequences to be weighed and debated by our representatives in Congress.

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