Expanding economic opportunity to low-income neighborhoods, reforming the criminal justice system and reducing costs for health care are just a few matters Thomas Day will work to improve if he’s elected as U.S. Representative for the 7th District.
Day, an Iraq War veteran, former journalist and nonprofit professional, will run against incumbent Danny K. Davis and former Chicago police officer Frederick Collins in the Democratic Primary in March.
The 35-year-old said the 7th District has a 15 percent unemployment rate and that incumbents have run out of ideas of how to put people back to work.
As a solution, Day plans to start an economic council that will be composed of union leaders, representatives from small businesses and entrepreneurial centers that will collectively generate ideas on how to engage unemployed workers.
“The West Side area is ready, collectively, to make a giant economic leap forward and become the economic engine of the Midwest,” Day said in a recent interview. “What I am coming to the table with is a set of ideas to engage the centers of influence and economic activity. Together, we can really bring this district to the next level.”
Day, a Near North Side resident, said the region has lost many jobs in manufacturing. He said the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a Chicago-based world-class manufacturing hub, could serve as a magnet for manufacturing companies to come to Chicago within the next five to ten years.
“Let’s locate our factories here. We need to make sure these workers are trained for advanced manufacturing technologies,” Day said. “We need to support growing centers of manufacturing and entrepreneurship,”
Day also said that he’d use leverage of Congress to get banks, which are required to invest into low-income neighborhoods, to extend more capital to businesses in distressed areas.
He said incumbent Danny K. Davis has been a strong voice for the people of the Austin neighborhood for a long time and he looks to carry on his legacy when it comes to helping ex-offenders re-enter society.
The war vet also said police forces are often incentivized to have strong shows of force against drug crimes through federal subsidies and that drug laws are applied differently to people of color. He said he plans to work to repeal these perverse incentives for anti-drug policing.
“The more arrests they make, the more money police forces get,” Day said. “This has led to so many arrests for crimes that nearly all of us have made when we were younger, but aren’t labeled for felons for the rest of our lives.”
Day also said he will work to end federal sentencing guidelines.
For health care, Day supports an idea by the American Center for Cures to provide federally funded research on diabetes, cancer and other diseases and illnesses that have affected low-income neighborhoods.
“It would be the domain of the public and not belong to any private entity,” Day said.
The veteran said he supports the idea of a national public health insurance program and he supports putting pressure on pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of medication.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) did some things to reduce costs but not enough,” Day said. “We’re still paying way too much for healthcare that we would not be paying outside of the United States.”