By Kevin Beese
U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis fears the days of ordinary citizens being able to make it to national or statewide office are fleeting.
Davis, who had to chop cotton for 30 cents an hour to earn the bus fare to leave Arkansas for Chicago, said without campaign reform ordinary citizens are being excluded from the democratic process.
“The Georgia election cost those congressional candidates $50 million, each paying half of that,” Davis lamented.
He noted a representative of the English Parliament stayed with him recently and he asked her how much a campaign for the government body costs. She told him that English law prohibits candidates from spending more than $15,000 in an election.
“I’m for rigorous campaign reform,” Davis said at a town hall meeting Tuesday night in Bellwood. “The governor (Bruce Rauner) put $50 million into his own campaign fund. One of his friends, the richest man in Illinois, put $25 million into the governor’s campaign fund. That’s $75 million from two people.”
The Democratic gubernatorial candidates are well endowed as well, Davis pointed out.
“J.B. Pritzker put $15 million into his campaign and Chris Kennedy (a member of the Kennedy family) has said he will be able to match whatever Pritzker raises,” Davis said. “Are the only people willing to consider running for office the millionaires?”
Davis will be in Maywood for a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Maywood Village Council Chambers, 125 S. Fifth Ave.
The 20-year congressman touched on everything from the Affordable Care Act to national security to term limits during his time before Bellwood residents.
He said President Donald Trump has done nothing to try to draw people together, instead driving a wedge farther between people.
“We’ve never had the kind of political climate, since I’ve been around, that we are currently experiencing, a climate where the president of the United States and his administration will bash a city like Attorney General Jeff Sessions did when he called the city of Chicago ‘a city of lawlessness,’ saying that, you know, Chicago is just made up of a bunch of lawless thugs,” Davis said. “I mean this is the attorney general of the United States of America who is supposed to be the highest law enforcement official in our country.
“I guess that was because the mayor (Rahm Emanuel) had a press conference just simply saying that he was not going to allow the federal government or the president to coerce him to use the Chicago police to get rid of people who may have immigrant status.”
Davis said he agrees with Emanuel and feels that we as a country slipped up and elected a president who has no real sense of trying to unify America, “but makes use of every opportunity to further divide.”