Four IL State 4th District House Rep candidates answer three questions


A light moment at the Feb. 21 Forum held at Rowe Middle School*

The four candidates running for the 4th District IL State House of Representatives answered three questions asked by Our Urban Times

Below are the questions and answers from Iris Millan, Alyx Pattison, Delia Ramirez and Anne Shaw. For campaign financial information for these candidates, click on 4th House District here.

There will be a report on their appearance at the first forum for these candidates, Feb. 21, produced by Our Urban Times. CAN TV will be airing the event and have it posted on their website soon.

The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce will be holding for these candidates on Wed. Mar. 7 at 7 p.m. in Bernard Moos Elementary, 1711 N. California Ave.

Four community organizations, CGNA (Chicago Grand Neighborhood Association), EVA (East Village Association), UVNA (Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association), WTNA (West Town Neighbors Association) will be holding a Meet and Greet on Mar. 12 in Roots, 1924 W Chicago Ave., 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. were there will candidates for various positions in the upcoming elections.


Iris Millan is leaving one prospective constituent on way to another

Iris Millan

Q1: What  qualifications do you have that make you the best qualified?

"As a passionate community organizer and a proud Mexican American, I’ve been intentional throughout my career and volunteerism to focus my efforts in the very communities I hope to represent in Springfield. My career has been dedicated to address the issues affecting the most vulnerable populations; such as immigration, housing, food insecurity, educational achievement, civic engagement, and economic development, and financial literacy. This has predominantly been through the opportunity to work in several sectors; having interned at a Democratic US Senator’s office, worked in the 1st ward aldermanic office, at St. Joseph Services (a nonprofit organization), and in public education at City Colleges of Chicago.  

In addition, my volunteerism has enabled me to further understand and support the issues of the 4th District communities. My current role at Wilbur Wright College, as a committee member of the Equity Project, an initiative funded by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) enabled me to work on research and identifying high-impact practices in the way that we, particularly, serve Latino students in higher education. This project also led to the establishment of external partnerships with organizations that focus on social work in response to issues of homelessness, food insecurity, civic engagement, financial stability, LGBTQ resources, among several others." 

Q 2: If elected to the office, what would be on you To-Do List?

"This is a great question because while some would think our state is full of problems, I see nothing but opportunities to improve our state. First and foremost, I would have to say restoring the citizens’ trust in our State Government. To do that, the first thing I would do would be to sponsor a progressive tax reform bill changing Illinois from being one the few states that uses a flat tax system to a more progressive one that relieves the tax burden from the poor and working class. Additionally, I would focus on moving Illinois off our current system of property tax funding to taxing goods and services where people pay higher taxes on buying luxury items, rather than paying taxes on essential goods. I would vigorously work to pass legislation to legalize and tax marijuana sales, not only for the tax benefits but for a myriad of other reasons. One, minorities are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for its possession. Two, many of our citizens can’t find work because of minor possession charges.  It would save money the State has to spend on prosecutions and incarcerations, as well. Lastly, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, two of the many goals I hope to accomplish would be to form a progressive legislator caucus and a Women’s caucus in the House of Representatives modeled after the State Senate’s Women’s caucus that was formed last year."

Q 3: What is the most important item on that list?

"The progressive tax reform bill not only helps solve our state’s fiscal issues, but will finally help our state break the vicious cycle of governing under one fiscal crisis after another. If you want to look at why so many of our former citizens and businesses moved away, it is because of our constant fiscal issues. No one wants to open a business, buy a home, or enroll in our colleges if they can’t count on our State Government to pass a budget that funds basic infrastructure projects, social services, public safety, or programs that help make public schools and universities available to all regardless of their socio-economic status. The progressive tax isn’t a silver bullet to our state’s issues, but it is a big step in the right direction." Millan's website.


Alyx Pattison (r) is working with her campaign manger Haleigh Hoff (l)

Alyx Pattison

Q1: What qualifications do you have that make you the best qualified?

"As an attorney and former legislative aide to Congresswoman Schakowsky, I have experience making government work for people. I have worked on drafting legislation both as an attorney and in my work on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. I will hit the ground running on day one to develop policy solutions to our most pressing problems here in Illinois."

Q 2: If elected to the office, what would be on you To-Do List?

  • "Strengthening our neighborhood schools.
  • Raising the minimum wage.
  • Organizing my district and Chicagoans around a real movement to amend Illinois’ constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.
  • Connecting constituents to job training and vocational programs.
  • Rebuilding the social services safety net that was destroyed over the last two years of Rauner’s disastrous budget policies, and reconnecting people in our community to services that will give them the tools they need to succeed.
  • Working to restore the Community Care program for seniors that was gutted by Governor Rauner"

Q 3: What is the most important item on that list?

"My top two priorities are strengthening neighborhood schools and connecting residents to 21st century jobs and job training." Pattison's website.


Delia Ramirez is writing thank you notes

Delia Ramirez

Q1: What qualifications do you have that make you the best qualified? 

"I am running for state representative because I am rooted in the community and ready to serve the residents of the 4th district in Springfield. I will be a strong and effective advocate for my community in the state legislature and fight against the attacks on our community by Governor Rauner and President Trump. My experience in social services, community housing and economic development, state policy, and coalition building enables me to address the issues that affect the 4th district and the state of Illinois.

As a lifelong resident of the 4th district, I am rooted in the 4th district and connected to the people who make up our community. I have been shaped by various personal and professional experiences serving in the community. I know the issues because of personal lived experiences either being impacted directly by issues like housing, education, and healthcare or through experience serving in my church, several community based non-profit organizations, and various public advocacy campaigns.

I am ready to take on the challenges facing the 4th district and the state of Illinois as an effective leader in Springfield. Everywhere I have served, whether in my faith life, professional career, or through community service, I have had the honor of being asked to step into leadership roles. I have effectively served in leadership positions at the executive staff and board levels at various nonprofit organizations and have been a vocal public leader on issues like housing and gentrification. I am an accomplished social service director, community leader, coalition builder and fund-raiser who has dedicated much of my career and volunteer time to the Humboldt Park and Logan Square communities while building relationships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds across Chicagoland.

In 2004, I became the executive director of Humboldt Park Social Services, which is now the Center for Changing Lives. I built the agency from a staff of three (and a budget of $189,000) in 2004 to a staff of 13 (and a budget of $1.2 million) in 2013. During my tenure, the agency served more than 2,600 households with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and other forms of assistance.

In 2015, as Campaign Manager for Common Cause Illinois, I led the group’s fund-raising and development efforts. Most recently, I served as the Deputy Director of the Community Renewal Society, overseeing development and organizing for policy change around the state budget, police accountability, and criminal justice reform.

I was board president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association from 2005-07. I recently served as board president of LUCHA (the Latin United Community Housing Association) and have been a leader for neighborhood stability and property tax relief along the Bloomingdale Trail.

I am also deeply involved in my local church, Humboldt Park United Methodist, and the United Methodist denomination. I co-founded the Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) legal clinic for immigrant families at my church and serve as a board member of Illinois JFON. Since its inception, the clinic has served over 250 families from more than 62 countries.

I have received numerous awards recognizing my public service and nonprofit leadership including:

The Chicago Community Trust’s 2013 Emerging Leader Fellowship Award
La Raza Newspaper’s 2013 “Mujeres Destacadas” Award
Cook County Board President’s 2013 Community Heroine Award
The National Hispanic Plan’s 2011 Leader for Change Award
Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago’s 2010 Community Hero Award
Community Renewal Society’s 2007 35 under 35 Leadership Award (alongside, Jay Travis, Josina Morita, Dr. Rami Nashashibi and Jamiko Rose)
Matthew House We Rise Awards’ 2017 Human Service-Social Justice Award 

I believe that my deep roots serving the people of the 4th district, my extensive leadership throughout my career and volunteer experiences in the Humboldt park and Logan Square communities, and my track record in fighting for progressive causes make me the candidate that is best qualified to represent the 4th district in the Illinois General Assembly."

Q 2: If elected to the office, what would be on you To-Do List?

"There are many issues that are deeply important to me but a few that I would like to highlight include housing and education, public safety, and the state budget.

Stable housing & stable schools:

I believe housing is a human right. I have a lifelong commitment and track record of working to address homelessness and ensuring all have access to housing. I believe public policy and government resources should ensure a stable supply accessible and affordable housing so that all the members of our community can live without fear of displacement. As a state legislator, I will advocate for allocating state resources to reduce displacement by helping families continue affordable home ownership and rentals in the private housing market.  For example, I want to target five years of property tax relief to landlords who keep their tenants’ rents stable through those five years, with only very limited rent increases. I believe that local governments should have the ability to enact rent control ordinances to stabilize housing markets and reduce displacement. I will also support local initiatives to fight displacement such as community benefits agreements for new developments, housing set-aside requirements for private developments, and property tax relief along the 606.

As a product of Chicago Public Schools, I know that our public education system is the backbone of a strong community. We must invest more in public education which, despite recent legislation at the state level to achieve greater equity, is still being inadequately funded. I believe that a well-resourced public education, including access to childcare and pre-k, k-12 education, and higher education, should be guaranteed to every child in Illinois regardless of what community they grow up in. The state of Illinois has long underfunded its public education system and I am committed to change this while fighting against efforts to privatize our public-school systems. Specifically, I believe that Chicago needs an elected representative school board bring about greater transparency and accountability in the management and allocation of resources in CPS. I believe that our state government must increase revenues to more adequately fund public education statewide. Furthermore, state legislation should be passed to allow TIF revenues to be used to fund schools and other public services. I also support a moratorium on charter school expansion. After decades of expansion and research, there is no clear evidence that charter schools function any better than neighborhood public schools. Illinois is not adequately funding our neighborhood public schools, and this must be our top priority.

Public safety and justice reform:

I have invested my professional career in the social services and nonprofit sector. Through this experience I know firsthand that violence is unequivocally a public health issue. I believe that proactive approaches that address the root causes of violence must be put into practice instead of reactionary policies of locking people with no opportunities for rehabilitation. I will fight to keep our communities safe by advocating for community-based approaches to reduce violence, working to pass laws that keep guns out of our communities, and ending the cycle of recidivism by expanding opportunities for people with records to gain housing and employment. Furthermore, I believe that we must work to restore the community’s trust in law enforcement so that a true community-police collaboration can be forged to create neighborhoods where everyone feels safe.

Specifically, I will advocate for greater investment into proven violence prevention strategies that target the needs of the young people most at risk for being victims or perpetrators of violence. We must prioritize investments into programs that address the root causes of crime and violence such as youth mentoring, street intervention initiatives, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and restorative justice programs that help repair harm without needing to criminalize people. I will also support Gun Dealer Licensing legislation (SB1657) and other common-sense gun laws that will help reduce the flow of illegal guns into our communities. We must also expand opportunities in housing, education, and employment for people returning from the criminal justice system to be able to contribute to their communities and end the cycle of crime and recidivism. Finally, to restore community trust in law enforcement I believe we must enact state legislation that removes barriers to filing a complaint of police misconduct. State legislators should also explore state licensing for sworn peace officers to modernize the policing profession and set conduct and training standards which will allow departments to more effectively combat crime while being able to hold bad actors accountable."

State budget and responsible government:

"I believe that government should work to meet the needs of people. Government services should be reliable, transparent, and revenues to fund them should be collected in a fair and responsible manner. It is unacceptable that our budgets are being balanced by cutting social services and programs which serve the most vulnerable members of society while wealthy individuals and corporations are getting tax cuts. I will fight to raise adequate revenues to fund the public services we all need and use, close tax loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share, and work to get big money out of politics.

Specifically, I will champion fair revenue policies in which those who have more pay more for the services that benefit everyone. I believe that the Illinois legislature must place a referendum on the ballot for a constitutional amendment to enact a progressive income tax where those with higher incomes pay a higher rate and those with lower incomes pay lower rates. I support closing corporate tax loopholes (as proposed in HB4004) and eliminating the Carried Interest loophole. I also believe that we must work to get big money out of politics through legislation that establishes a small donor public matching fund as proposed in SB1424."

Q 3: What is the most important item on that list?

"The 4th district has seen significant changes in the last 15 years and this has led to increased uncertainty about housing stability and public education. As I knock on doors, I hear that my neighbors are concerned over rising property taxes and increased rents which have displaced many in our community. They are also concerned over the adequate resourcing and funding of their local public schools.  As Illinois continues to over rely on local property taxes to fund education, working to shift this unsustainable model will be at the top of my priorities as a state legislator." Ramirez's website.


Anne Shaw takes notes as talking with a campaign worker

Anne Shaw

Q1: What qualifications do you have that make you the best qualified?

"I am a longtime Chicago homeowner, small-business owner, a civil rights attorney and a community activist. I am the proud daughter of immigrants, and have spent the last two decades fighting for the rights of all Chicago families - those born here and those born elsewhere - and to help make Chicago a safer place for our families and businesses. My husband Matt, and I, live in West Town where we are both active with family life and community service.

My parents are immigrants and as a I actually did not speak any English. When I entered Illinois  public schools, I benefited from a fully funded public school education and was fortunate to have a speech therapist who taught me English. By the end of first grade I was winning spelling bees.

I graduated from DePaul University and earned my law degree from Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law. I have always cared about our State and our families and as a result have served on many boards and volunteered in organizations that worked to improve Chicago and Illinois. Currently, I serve on the boards of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the East Village Association, and the Midwest Asian Health Association, which serves the mental and health care needs of low income families in the Chicagoland communities. I am also a member of Impact 100 Chicago Women Empowering Change, the Chicago Grand Neighborhood Association, the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association, West Town Neighborhood Association, and the Co-Chair of the West Town Public Safety Committee.I served for many years as a Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Ethics. I was the first person appointed to that position that was a first generation child of immigrants. I founded a pro-bono legal clinic back in 2010 and today it has served thousands of local residents and underserved immigrants in Chicago and the collar counties. I was honored by Chicago Volunteer Legal Services and IIT Chicago-Kent for her pro-bono work.

I have also been invited to speak to numerous organizations, including as a plenary panelist for the National Association of Women Lawyers, as a Keynote Speaker for DePaul University and many other organizations. I am also regularly invited to teach other attorneys business and financial law. In 2008, she was named one of the top lawyers under 40 to watch in Chicago by Chicago Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer. In 2017, I was honored by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for my dedication and commitment to the community."

Q 2: If elected to the office, what would be on you To-Do List?

"My to do list would include passing a budget that works for our families, fully funding our schools with state income tax, and a progressive plan to deal with gun violence in our communities."

Q 3: What is the most important item on that list?

"All these programs are related and must be accomplished to provide the kind of support our working families need in the 4th District. My top priority, however, will be fixing the state’s regressive tax system. Doing this can simultaneously help fund the other programs we need and bring some much needed relief to those who need it the most.

The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ranks Illinois as the 5th most unfair state when it comes to how our tax burden is distributed. We rely on highly regressive sales taxes and property taxes, and with our flat income tax the top 1% actually end up paying a lower percentage in state and local taxes than the bottom 20%. The problem in Illinois is not the total tax burden, but that we place too much of the burden on working class families. A progressive income tax is a crucial step to making out tax system fair.

It will take a few years for the process of a constitutional amendment for a progressive income tax to pass and be implemented. In the interim, my plan to provide some tax relief to working families is to allow a capped income tax deduction for sales taxes. This would greatly benefit middle and lower income families, and avoid the burden of double taxation. To make up for the lost revenue, the State could close sales and use tax loopholes used primarily by corporations or expand the sales tax base to services. In either case, we can increase revenue to the state while at the same time providing significant income tax relief to working families. I will post details of the plan on my website

Reforming our tax system also leads to increased revenue while still protecting working families. This revenue is absolutely vital to improve our schools. While the recently passed school funding reform (with the exception of the tax credit for private scholarships) provides a coherent road map to rationally funding and improving school outcomes, public schools in Illinois need much more support from the State."

*Photo: Stephen Rynkiewicz

Other photos: Elaine Coorens


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