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Name: Robert Emmons
Occupation: Nonprofit leader
Prior political experience: None
Why are you running for U.S. Congress in the 1st District of Illinois?
While we suffer from some of the highest asthma rates in the country, while we struggle with everyday gun violence and while we have some of the highest levels of poverty in the nation, our Congressman and even some of the other candidates who have thrown their hats in the race are not offering solutions that would tackle the root causes of many of these issues. The residents of the Illinois 1st District deserve better. [Response truncated for exceeding word limit]
What makes you the best candidate for this position?
Following the death of my best friend and former college roommate, who was shot and killed in Chicago, I took a leave of absence from the University of Illinois. I began to see how problematic fear can be when you allow it to be your motivator, and although it took me many months to fully process the death of my best friend, I eventually turned that fear into purpose. I returned to school and completed my political science degree with the Class of 2017.
After graduation, I landed a position at OneGoal, a nonprofit organization which promotes college access and persistence support for students — the same org that helped me and my best friend get into college. I followed this opportunity with a consultancy position with the Obama Foundation, UNLEASH (innovation lab) and a Young Diplomat title with the Global Diplomatic Forum. [Response truncated for exceeding word limit]
What are the Top 3 issues you see facing the district, and what would you do to solve them?
This campaign is about ending gun violence once and for all. It is not enough to reduce it; the lives lost are so much more than statistics. We need to call out gun violence for what it is: a public health epidemic caused by social and economic instability. Our communities are also in need of long overdue economic growth. Due to a long history of community disinvestment, corporate misconduct, predatory lending practices, and a range of other economic injustices, our community’s ability to prosper has been hampered by those in power. We must also find solutions to one of the greatest challenges our country has ever faced: the monumental reality of climate change and our political leaders’ lack of courage in addressing the issue. Protecting our environment, addressing climate change and creating good-paying jobs in the process are priorities for our campaign.