Vowing to take back the U.S. House of Representatives in the November elections, Democratic forces in the state stand behind candidate David Gill, an emergency room doctor from Bloomington who will run against Republican candidate Rodney Davis in the newly-formed 13th Congressional District in central Illinois.
Gill was joined Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and other Chicago Democrats at a fundraising brunch hosted by Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake, a couple that represents one of President Obama’s most prolific campaign bundlers – volunteers who give the legal maximum to candidates then persuade friends and colleagues to do the same. At the occasion, Brewster and Satawake helped Gill raise over $10,000, according to Jacob Meister, one of the event organizers.
“The reason David Gill is a special candidate is, as far as I’m concerned, he really does have core values that he believes in,” Quinn said. “He believes in marriage equality, in decent health care for everybody, and he believes in democracy – and this is a special year for democracy in our country.”
Quinn said stakes are high this year because of the creation of the Super PACs, political action committees that can accept unlimited donations from individuals and companies and spend it independently from formal campaigns on behalf of a chosen candidate.
“We have to make sure our democracy is listening to everyday people, not just the tycoons,” the governor said. “In the grassroots level, it’s important that we band together, in the best traditions of democracy, to win this brand-new district.”
According to Quigley, winning congressional seats in Illinois is crucial to help Democrats regain control of the U.S. House. “The race for the seats in the state are going to be very close, so every dollar in campaign contributions Dr. Gill gets is invaluable to make the difference in this race.”
Quigley predicts the party who gets to control the U.S. House in 2013 will do so by a mere 8-6 majority.
“I know that David [Gill] is fully supportive of marriage equality and is a pro-choice candidate,” Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation Commissioner, said. “As a trained physician, he’s intimately aware of the challenges and needs of not only the LBGT community but many communities to have better health care in our country.”
According to Shore, we need “fewer lawyers and more physicians, more physicists, more nurses, more architects, more teachers in Congress.”
“I think he’ll be a great advocate, not only for LGBT issues, but for progressive issues,” she said.
Gill has never held public office, but said his experience in family practice and in emergency departments has helped him develop a practical approach to problems.
“When patients come into the ER, I do not ask about their political views before I treat them,” Gill said. “I identify and examine each problem, offering solutions based on my experience and the best medical practices available.”
Gill said he supports marriage equality for the LGBT “because separate but equal really isn’t equal.”
“We can do far far better than that,” he said.
The new 13th Congressional District, recently redrawn by state lawmakers, includes Decatur and Champaign-Urbana, areas with large college student populations, and stretches west to the Mississippi River, including parts of Springfield, Bloomington and the St. Louis Metro East area.
A new map for legislative and congressional districts must be drawn every 10 years, following numbers from the U.S. Census. Illinois lost one seat in its new map due to slowing population growth, and now has 18 U.S. House districts instead of 19.