Progressive Caucus forms in Illinois House
A press conference was held Thursday to announce the formation of the official Progressive Caucus in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Reps. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) and Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) will be co-chairs.
Ammons said the Progressive Caucus believes in health care and education for all.
"We support the $15 minimum wage, cannabis legislation and campaign-finance-reform legislation," Ammons said.
Guzzardi said the current minimum wage is a poverty wage and keeps people trapped in poverty.
"We've been working to introduce and pass legislation to bring the minimum wage to $15," Guzzardi said. "We believe in good jobs for all, and that means a job with enough money to get by."
Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said pertaining to recreational cannabis, the Progressive Caucus was coming from a social justice standpoint.
"I'm proud that our Progressive Caucus has made this a priority," Cassidy said. "Doing this right is key to us and I think we can really do that well this year."
Mah said focusing on campaign finance reform is important.
"One of the biggest obstacles is our broken campaign finance system," Mah said. "The small donor match program would be a way to keep big business and special interests out of everything."
Guzzardi said these issues are just a few of the many the caucus is supporting this year.
"We also stand united behind the plan for a progressive income tax across Illinois," Guzzardi said.
The remaining members of the caucus are Reps. Celina Villanueva (D-Summit) as treasurer, Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) as secretary and Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview), Greg Harris (D-Chicago), Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee), Aaron Ortiz (D-Chicago), Lamont Robinson Jr. (D-Chicago), Anne Stava-Murray (D-Downers Grove) and Maurice West II (D-Rockford).
The minimum wage bill passed in the House on Thursday evening, but many businesses have spoken out against it.