Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois’ 5th Congressional District is facing opposition not just from a Republican in the upcoming general election, but from a third party candidate as well.
Nancy Wade of the Green Party, a lifelong activist and educator, hopes to bring a more progressive approach to Washington politics. Her platform focuses on social and environmental issues that intertwine with national and global problems.
“Equality and fairness are something we prize. We don’t leave the weakest among us in the dust, to fend for themselves, to live and die as fate would dictate,” she said. “I grew up in a time when there was more economic equity and the middle class was very strong. That meant a rising tide lifts all boats. That’s what I want to see again.”
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Wade became involved in the feminism movement and, “spent a lot of time in legislators’ offices trying to get them to do the right thing.” That desire to do the right thing was inspired by the group Occupy Wall Street, she said, and is one of the main reasons she’s seeking elected office.
If elected, the top of Wade’s to-do list focuses on finding more environmentally and economically sustainable energy and creating more jobs that wouldn’t erode at the planet’s health.
“We do need to begin investing in the clean, green, secure economy of the future,” Wade said. “I advocate a national environment defense plan, and that would encapsulate approaches to both creating those clean, green, sustainable jobs, to examining the impact we as human beings have on the planet. We, in the 5th District, can be the research and development center of the Midwest for the clean, green, secure economy of the future.”
Wade said the money to pay for such environmental research could come from raising taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.
“We [need] to address the fairness issue in taxation,” she said. “There’s on proposal—The Buffett Rule—that’s just a tiny piece of what we would need to address fairness in taxation. But it exists, it’s there. All it needs is a straight vote.”
According to the White House’s website, 22,000 households that made more than $1 million in 2009 paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes—and 1,470 managed to pay no federal income taxes on their million-plus-dollar incomes.
“And, the very wealthiest American households are paying nearly the lowest tax rate in 50 years— some are paying just half of the federal income tax that top income earners paid in 1960. But the average tax rate for middle class families has barely budged. The middle 20 percent of households paid 14 percent of their incomes in 1960, and 16 percent in 2010,” the site reads.
Wade added that the national deficit could also be reduced and more jobs created by cutting the Department of Defense’s budget by 25 percent over the next 10 years and reinvesting that money into more environmentally sustainable projects.
Wade also is calling for an end to subsidies for fossil fuel production. She is calling to outlaw offshore tax havens and is—along with the rest of the Green Party—opposed to corporate campaign donations.
5th District business owner Dan Schmitt is also on the ballot as a Republican. Requests for an interview were not answered.
If elected, Wade would be the only member of the Green Party in either chamber of Congress.