Springfield resident Betsy Londrigan, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Rodney Davis for his post representing the 13th Congressional District in Washington, D.C. Londrigan spoke with Windy City Times about her decision to run, and how healthcare came to be such a central part of her platform.
Windy City Times: Why did you decide to run?
Betsy Londrigan: "My tipping-point for getting onto this race was health care. Nobody worked harder than Rodney Davis to whip up votes to pass that horrible "Trump Care" bill in the House. I saw him and all the GOP Congressmen celebrate on the White House lawn that they had just voted to take healthcare away from millions of Americans. For me, it was like a knife to the gut.
My husband and I have three kids. Nine years ago this summer, we almost lost our oldest son when he was 12. Jack was bit by a tick, and he developed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and then he became septic. We spent 21 days in a pediatric care unit with him. The medical team saved his life. We were incredibly blessed that at the end of that, we were able to take him home and his brain was perfect, and we got to move forward. But, for me, to see people celebrate taking healthcare away from people, I thought, "They don't know. They don't know what families go through." For our family, if we did not have access to care, we would have lost our child. … and, if did not have good insurance, that would have bankrupted our family.
WCT: What kind of protections do you want to see put into place around that healthcare issue, and what are some other issues that you think are important for the district?
BL: I think it's important to note that tonight I have my 11th town hall. I have 14 counties in the district and I've been doing them in every county. It does not matter where in the district I am, over-archingly people are worried about healthcare. They're worried about what's happening with pre-existing conditions and them trying to roll back those protections; prescription drug costs are going up; and co-pays are going up. They're very worried about those things. We have a large aging population in our district, and they're very concerned about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Those are big issues, and lot of them do tie back into healthcare. Also that's a huge employer hereour health systems are big and they employ a lot of people. It touches all parts of people's existences.
We've a lot of colleges and universities in the district, and education and the affordability of education is a big issue too. And jobswe're such a geographically large district. You know, infrastructure is important to so many districts, but our district is so diverse, it's crucial to us for building our local economy. It's not just our roads and bridges; it's our waterways, electrical grids and water lines. We still have a digital divide here, so it's about rural broadband, making sure that it reaches everywhere in the district [as well]. … We have huge infrastructure needs.
WCT: Have you had much experience working with, or advocating for, the LGBT community, either locally, or at some other level?
BL: I've been endorsed by HRC because of, I think, of my forward thinking, and I have people in my family and friends circles. For me, it's just a human issue.
WCT: What do you think are the most pertinent issues for LGBT residents of the 13th?
BL: From what I'm hearing, it's really how much we need protections in place for the LGBTQ community on a federal level, just as we make sure that people of color are protected in federal anti-discrimination laws. We have to make sure that that language is included. Protection is protection, and it should be across the board.
See betsydirksenlondrigan.com .
See more Windy City Times 2018 candidate interviews and election coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gaynewsarticles.php .