After the Los Angeles riots, Congress enacted a series of laws — including the Housing and Community Development Act, which helped increase federal resources for public housing, and the Riegle Act, which created the Community Development Finance Institutions fund — to attack sources of hopelessness that enabled the L.A. Riots in the first place.
Now mass incarceration is tearing communities apart, and Congress does nothing. Congress isn't working because the people in it don't fear being held accountable, with good reason. In spite of its 11 percent approval rating, 96 percent of members of Congress were re-elected in 2014.
We hold presidents accountable every four years. We need to start holding members of Congress accountable too.
If economic growth lags, the electorate holds the president solely responsible. Put simply, no matter the other circumstances, if economic growth is around 4 percent, the president can expect another term; around or below 0 percent and the White House gets a new tenant from the other political party.
Yet all we ask of our members of Congress is that they vote the way we want them to. That unemployment in Illinois' 7th Congressional District is regularly surveyed at more than twice the national average has been of no consequence to the incumbent.
I am planning on stepping forward to challenge Rep. Danny Davis for the Democratic nomination to represent this district. I do this not out of disrespect to Rep. Davis, but because we cannot afford another two years of entrenched incumbency. Even as I hold Rep. Davis in great esteem, I am convinced he and his colleagues need to be held accountable for inaction. Simply voting the way we want him to is not enough — we need results.
The 7th District needs a leader who understands how this district has changed. It needs a new leader with a new way of leading.
I am an Iraq War veteran. Last year I teamed up with two other veterans and we launched The Bunker, a new business community for veteran-owned businesses.
The Bunker works out of 1871, a co-working space at Merchandise Mart that gets its name from the year of the Great Chicago Fire — 1871 represents the new Chicago. We used to be a city where if nobody was sent, then nobody was wanted. Now we're a city where entrepreneurs are planting their flags and building new innovative businesses.
My campaign logo, an inverted pyramid, symbolizes how I view leadership. We used to view leadership with an upside-right pyramid, with the leader at the top. That's why we reelect incumbents time and again, and pay CEOs 400 times the average worker.
The new model of leadership is much different. With mobile devices and social networks, individuals are now at the top, and I, as a candidate, sit at the bottom serving you.
Leadership means recognizing that you don't have all of the answers, but by tapping into and channeling the collective powers, energy, and ideas of the people you seek to lead, you can move a community forward.
That's the kind of leadership I'm offering the people of the 7th District.
Tom L. Day is a resident of Chicago.
Answer Book 2019
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