Who am I?
I began my career in journalism where I broke many stories of corruption and greed in government, including: the practice of a police department withholding arrest reports of prominent and politically connected people; a fire chief who made a practice of submitting fraudulent restaurant receipts for reimbursement; and a township official who was investigated and reprimanded by a grand jury and states attorney as a result of my research into his unethical spending.
I also worked in community relations and communications for health care providers. I served as the Vice President of Public Relations and Communications at IHS. Prior to my work at IHS, I served as the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Trinity Regional Health System in Rock Island, Ill.
I am currently President of the board of directors of the Womens Connection, one of Illinois largest womens membership organizations. I am past volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters-Quad-Cities; Junior Achievement of the Heartland in the Quad-Cities; Two Rivers YMCA in Moline, Ill.; and United Way of the Quad-Cities Area, where I served on the Community Investment Committee.
After working in journalism and during my career in health care, I decided to serve as a strong, independent voice for the community of East Moline. I served as an Alderwoman on the City Council in East Moline, Ill. My top priority -- economic development led to founding and chairing the East Moline Downtown Revitalization Committee. Evidence of my success is seen in a more vibrant downtown area where dilapidated buildings have been demolished to make room for new development such as a Community Health Care clinic, now under construction. I am also a past member of the East Moline Citizens Advisory Committee and the East Moline Plan Commission.
I earned her bachelors degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and my masters degree in journalism from University of Illinois at Springfield. I also attended Illinois College, Jacksonville, where my parents and son are graduates. I was honored to be inducted into the Illinois College Sports Hall of Fame.
My husband, Gerry, is a captain with the Rock Island County Sheriffs Department and is the founder and commander of the Quad-City Bomb Squad. We have three sons, Tony, Nick and Joey, a daughter-in-law, Amanda, and grandson, Keiton.
Why am I running?
My sister-in-law, Barb, died more than a year ago without health insurance. Barb and her husband both worked full-time but couldnt afford health insurance. When Barb got sick, she couldnt afford the most effective cancer treatment she needed. Even those with insurance arent immune. A few months later my big brother, Danny, died, leaving a wife and two daughters. He had a good job and was fully insured. Yet his health plan wouldn't cover his treatment because he had cancer that required an experimental drug. I will fight for people like Barb and Danny. They are a major reason why I am running Congress.
1. Revitalizing the Manufacturing Sector
We need to focus not just on lowering the unemployment rate, but ensuring the jobs created provide livable wages and good benefits. That means manufacturing jobs.
Manufacturing Triangle. On day one of my campaign, I discussed the creation of a Manufacturing Triangle. We must promote manufacturing and innovation in America and right here we have three great anchors in the Quad Cities, Rockford and Peoria. We have the skilled work force, the infrastructure and the innovative capacity to make this region a hub of manufacturing growth, and I will work hard to promote the region.
Level the playing field. America has the best workers in the world, but they compete on an uneven playing field that results in our jobs being shipped to China, India and other countries around the world. We should end unfair trade deals, and we should repeal incentives for corporations to move jobs overseas. I support the Patriot Employer Act, which eliminates incentives for firms to outsource jobs and promotes domestic manufacturing. This is a common sense measure that reverses incentives to offshore American jobs.
2. Preserve and Protect Medicare and Social Security
For generations, Medicare has been a solemn promise: work hard, pay your taxes and we will make sure you get the health care you earned when you need it most. We need to keep that promise.
Unfortunately, Rep. Bobby Schilling and others in Washington have embraced an extreme plan by Rep. Paul Ryan that would dismantle Medicare, divide our country and give seniors a voucher instead, leaving them to deal with insurance companies on their own. Worse, it would raise costs on each senior by $6,000 a year. The Wall Street Journal said the Ryan plan would essentially end Medicare.
To ensure Medicares long-term financial stability, we should implement common sense reforms to lower costs, like electronic medical records and better coordination of services. We should also use Medicares negotiating power to get better prices, including for prescription drugs. And we must do a better job of eliminating fraud and abuse to help lower costs and preserve Medicare for generations to come.
I also strongly oppose any attempt to privatize Social Security or cut benefits. Social Security is a critically important element of retirement and I will fight to protect it.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
My race began as a massive volunteer effort. I had been actively campaigning for nearly three months before I hired my first paid staff person. If it had not been fot the commitment, belief, and support of those first volunteers my campaign would not be expieriencing the success we are today.
Volunteers and grassroots supporters continue to be at the heart of our campaign. One of the most impressive examples of this is their efforts in our social media outreach. They have developed projects such as our community leader testimonials and put the idea into a developed product that we can utilize on our website and social media outlets.
I believe everyone who wants to contribute to this campaign should have the opportunity to contribute their time and talents to our cause.