Angeles "Angie" Sandoval ( D ) is running in the primary against Alma Anaya for the seat being vacated by Jesus "Chuy" Garcia ( who is running to replace the retiring Rep. Luis GutiÃ©rrez in the 4th Congressional district ). There is no GOP candidate in this race. Sandoval works for ComEd on a solar work force development project. She previously worked for the Pilsen Wellness Center coordinating a state wide scholarship program for first and second generation immigrant families.
Windy City Times: Why did you decide to run?
Angie Sandoval: Across the country we have seen many women who are outraged and demanding more from our leaders and are stepping up and running for office. The commissioners are 80 percent male and there has not been a woman in this office since the 70s. Also, there are only two Latinx people currently on the board and they are men. It is time for the commission on the whole to reflect the community it serves. I would be the first Latinx woman to serve as a commissioner in 30 years.
WCT: You are one of the younger candidates ( 27 years old ) running for office. How will that affect the way you do your job?
AS: When I am speaking to the residents of our community, they are excited to see a new face and a new generation of leadership arise. I believe that although I am a younger candidate, I have intersectional experience that will allow me to navigate the political arena to accomplish my agenda of standing up for education, police accountability and the immigrants and DREAMer's of my district.
WCT: How would you approach the job differently than the soon to be ex-incumbent?
AS: The people in this district would appreciate any improvement or change to the status quo. Look at how people reacted to the soda tax. Shoppers and business owners were being hurt across the county and it took a group of consumers to reverse it. The incumbent had to reverse his position and repeal the soda tax due to the outcry.
WCT: Would you have voted for the soda tax?
AS: No because it was not explained properly and the public did not like it before it was enacted.
WCT: What are the best ways to raise revenue so the budget is balanced that don't involve regressive taxation on everyone in the county?
AS: At the county we have substantial solutions that are not regressive taxes. Women are affected by these taxes more because they earn less than men which is unfair.
We have to look at ways to be more efficient and that includes modernizing the way the county is run. Pushing legislators at the state and federal level to have a progressive income tax would allow the county to do the same.
Fully funding the programs and services we provide is also essential as well as taking care of county residents who need these things.
WCT: What are the most important issues facing the county and how would you address them if elected?
AS: We need more tax literacy so everyone can understand how government is run. This way they will trust the government with the type of social services we are providing and that they are well funded.
WCT: What additional measures would you advocate for to provide more transparency in how the county government is run?
AS: Conducting town halls so the constituents can learn about the budget process and voice their concerns. Also, talking to them about what their real needs are. We need to reassess our priorities.
Making the budget available, in a comprehensive way, for residents online in both English and Spanish and written in everyday language so everyone can understand where the money is going.
WCT: What, if any, interactions have you had with the LGBTQ community?
AS: When I was at UIC as an undergrad, a group of us pushed back at the cuts the school was going to make to the LGBTQ Gender and Sexuality Center. We went to the chancellor and told him it was unacceptable because we needed safe spaces where we would feel comfortable and be able to thrive. I was put on the blacklist by the chancellor after that because he did not appreciate the protest we did on campus.
I have also attended the Chicago Pride Parade with many of my family members.
WCT: What are the most important issues or obstacles facing the LGBTQ community and how would you address them?
AS: From an ally perspective, I think the transgender community still faces lots of discrimination because there is a lack of understanding of gender identity in general and the issues they face. I see this in the Latinx community where people do not want to talk about these issues due to our community's religious background and/or cultural attitudes. Information about the LGBTQ community needs to be published in both English and Spanish so the message can spread.
It is important to have safe spaces where the entire LGBTQ community can express themselves without fear of harassment or violence. We also need more counseling services for LGBTQ people. I want to hear from members of the community to see what their concerns are so I am more informed.
WCT: Are there any changes you would make in how the county jail and health and hospital systems are run? If so, what are they?
AS: Empowering access to healthcare services, especially family planning and counseling for women and more specifically Latinx women. Getting healthcare access to more county residents so they get treated for their illnesses is also key. We need to look at County Care and how it is run so local clinics can be included that are in-network. Also making sure County Care is working with, not competing with safety net hospitals.
We need to strengthen the relationships between neighborhood organizations and public safety officials, including the county jail, so they can serve the men and women who are returning citizens through workforce development so they have a job upon their release.
One of the barriers my mother had when she emigrated to this country from Mexico is she did not speak English. Any of the services she needed at the time were not offered in Spanish and today we still see a lot of that at the county hospitals and court system. We need more bilingual people working in both places.
For more information, visit www.angie-sandoval.com/ .