Stand With Me!

“We did it!” That’s what my friend and part-time bagger at my Jewel food store said as he gave me a bear hug after the vote on health care. He didn’t say “You did it.” or “Obama did it.” He said “We did it!”, and he was right. Everyday people in communities across my district and across America, many of them knowing personally the failures of our current health care system, stood up and said yes to health care reform.

Some of you may remember my raucous town hall meeting in Skokie last August. Thousands of people, some determined to shut down the meeting, came out to express their opinions about health care. After that I received thousands of phone calls and emails -- about 80% in support of health care reform -- some for a single payer system, some for a public option, and some just pleading for relief from pre-existing condition exclusions or unbearably high premiums. Throughout the year long debate in Congress, the people of the 9th Congressional District let me know where they stood and asked me to stand with them. Together, we did it!

Still, there are those who want to break the momentum that is building behind a progressive agenda – even here in the 9th District – and they are willing to spread lies, and fear, and misinformation to prevent us and our candidates and elected officials (including me) from succeeding.

Let's make it perfectly clear to everyone that the Tea Party agenda and the special interest money agenda are rejected by the 9th Congressional District and are a world apart from the values that you and I share.

To demonstrate our strength, I am creating a “Stand With Jan” committee and inviting you and all progressive-minded supporters to sign up.

Standing with me can mean a little or a lot; it’s totally up to you.  Minimally I want your good name on the committee.  You decide if you want to take me up on volunteer opportunities in my campaign or others, or send e-mails in support of various issues, or attend events, put up a yard sign and more.

The beauty of the 9th District is that it is a stand-up community – one of the most diverse in the country with people from all walks of life; urban and suburban, affluent and working class, all races and religions.  One-third of our residents were born outside of the United States and 50 languages are spoken at our high schools.  It’s where I grew up and raised my own family.

In the 9th, we stood up right after 9/11 and marched down Devon Avenue in solidarity with our Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Hindu neighbors to say that we stand together against terrorism and will not be divided by prejudice and hate.

In the 9th, we stood up to the Bush Administration against the unnecessary war in Iraq and the subsequent occupation.

In the 9th, we stood up to help defeat the Bush plan to privatize social security and helped turn the tide against him and his conservative agenda.

In the 9th, we stood up in 2006 and campaigned in Congressional districts around the state to help Democrats reclaim the House of Representatives and set the course for Democratic victory in 2008.

In the 9th, we stood up for a young State Senator Barack Obama from Hyde Park who was running for U.S. Senate, and we continued to stand with him on a cold day in Springfield in February of 2007 when he launched his historic campaign for President.

In the 9th we stood with Barack Obama in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere; our volunteers called every caucus and primary state and knocked on tens and thousands of doors before election day, contributing mightily to his stunning victory.

We have so much to be proud of – and much yet to accomplish.  I have described the GOP obstruction of the health care bill as a clog in the drain.  The Republicans knew that if they succeeded in blocking its passage, nothing else would be able to get through.  Now the drain is clear.  Already the President is making the world safer from nuclear weapons.  Financial reform to get Wall St. under control is near completion.  Repairing an utterly broken immigration system, so important to our district, is a must-do this year.  Setting our economy on the right path and getting our people back to work will take bold and decisive action.  I was appointed to the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – a huge honor and a bigger challenge.  Together we can do it all.

I hope you will stand with me as we take the next steps.