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Across Illinois, there is strong bipartisan support for bold progressive policies and the policymakers who support them. Forward Illinois is a coalition of leading progressive organizations representing more than 500,000 member-activists, mobilizing Illinoisans this fall around this forward-looking agenda.

Reproductive rights
and equity

Access to reproductive health care is critical for the health and economic security of all Illinoisans. The laws and policies of the State of Illinois must recognize and affirm reproductive rights and promote reproductive health equity so that individuals have access to a full range of affordable reproductive health care and services, including but not limited to education, contraception, prenatal care, adoption, and abortion. Barriers, such as medically unnecessary restrictions, inadequate insurance coverage, or lack of providers, must be eliminated so that individuals are able to decide if and when they have children based on what’s best for them and their family’s circumstances, and more Illinois families will have the care they need to thrive.

 

Workers’
rights

While the cost of living keeps rising, wages are not keeping pace; too many working families are struggling to make ends meet. Working people throughout Illinois are coming together across racial lines and different backgrounds for a $15 minimum wage and the good union jobs their families need to thrive. $15 and union rights would give working families across our state the opportunity to lift their communities and make Illinois better for everyone. 

 

clean
environment

With a President in Washington intent on dismantling the EPA, dividing our communities, and opting out of the world’s move to act on climate change, now is the time for Illinois to step up and go boldly forward in the opposite direction - towards the healthy world we all want for future generations.

To secure a clean environment for all, Illinois should commit to a path of 100% clean energy, ensure environmental justice, provide safe access to nature and the outdoors in all communities, and get lead out of drinking water and pollution out of our rivers. We need new and expanded job training programs in these clean technology sectors to provide pathways out of poverty for those who need it most.

 

Criminal
Justice

The criminal justice system in Illinois is overrun with people who have nonviolent offenses and are unable to pay bail. Having a criminal justice system that seeks restoration as opposed to detention will move us forward as a state. Not only will this save Illinois money; it will give the environments that are eating away black and brown communities a hope for restoration. Illinois should be a national leader to reform the criminal justice system, if for no other reason, than to give the young black and brown people being raised in poor communities a pathway to success outside of the school to prison pipeline. We are advocating for prison and jail alternatives for everyone who has been detained for nonviolent offenses, a criminal justice system that is rebuilt with a restorative justice framework, increased access to the ballot for people behind bars,  and access to civic education for Illinois' detained population. 

LGBTQ Equality

In Illinois, we value inclusion, equality, and the freedom to be who you are and love who you love without burden or discrimination. As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans encounter a federal government chipping away at their rights, our work is not done. In our schools, 80% of youth who are transgender or are perceived as transgender report some form of mistreatment at some point between kindergarten and the 12th grade. This mistreatment can include verbal harassment, being prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, encountering harsher discipline than their peers, or being physically or sexually assaulted. Illinois must continue to move forward as a state where transgender children can access facilities and programming in schools that meet their needs, ensure their safety, and allow them to participate fully, fairly, and equally in school life.

Health care

Health care is a key issue animating midterm voters. Voters are concerned about how best to safeguard gains made under Obamacare like protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Central in many voters' minds is ensuring that people who have acquired insurance don't lose it or don't get less coverage under junk insurance plans that allow insurers to offer cheaper plans with less coverage. These concerns have reopened the question about how best to pay for health care and whether or not the United States should move toward a system of Medicare for All.

Immigrant
rights

Immigrants and refugees have faced unprecedented attacks from the federal government, including the Muslim ban, ramped-up raids and deportations, attempts to end DACA and Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, record low numbers of refugee admissions, jailing and separation of asylum seeking parents and children, and new proposed rules that would bar older, poorer, less educated immigrants who contribute to our community.  We must reject the cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants and actively advance more welcoming policies. 

We must ensure that our state agencies and local governments are not collaborating with federal immigrant enforcement agencies and that every Illinoisan can access hospitals, schools, and courthouses without fear of being detained by ICE. We must support resources to help immigrants become citizens.  We must ultimately stop the deportation machine and work toward citizenship, health care access, education, and other supports for all, regardless of where they came from or when they arrived.

Gun Violence

Firearms kill more than 1,100 Illinois residents and more than 33,000 individuals across America every year. Tens of thousands more are injured but survive, often with life-changing injuries.  The laws and policies in Illinois must recognize that gun deaths are preventable and we must take a holistic evidence based approach to solve it.  Solutions include but are not limited to policies that address the illegal trafficking of firearms, regulating firearm dealers, keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who should not have access to them, and funding for violence prevention strategies.  By working together we can address all forms of gun violence and keep our communities safe.

education

Our students, regardless of geographic differences, should be able to receive a high quality education and that includes ensuring fully funded schools in every school district. We also believe that it is critical to ensure higher education is affordable and accessible to all Illinoisans.

 

Fair tax

Illinois is projected to end this year with more than $10 billion in accumulated debt. Yet, due to its poorly-designed revenue system, Illinois has been unable to consistently provide support for programs that strengthen communities, such as education, human services, healthcare and public safety. A fair tax is one which wealthy pay a higher share of the state's income taxes while the middle class and lower-income pay a smaller share. Reforming our tax system would help stabilize our state’s finances – building the strong communities we all need while providing middle class and working Illinois families the break they deserve.