The last time voters in Illinois House District 9 in the West Loop of Chicago, Illinois, area had a choice on their general election ballot was in 2006. Now, there will be a choice in the Nov. 8 general election for state representative. Kevin Munroe, an independent, was recruited by Illinois Policy to offer competition in the general election and help end the voter suppression inherent in a system that fails to give voters choices.
“I grew up on the Chicago Northside in a very blue-collar neighborhood. My mom was a Chicago Police officer and my dad worked as a truck driver and dispatcher until he moved up to management. Going to the warehouse with my dad as a kid was always so exciting. Memories of the 1910 Model T Truck and the sign above the breakroom, “Only the World’s Best Movers Pass Through this Door,” always stuck with me.
“When I was about 10 years old, the movers went on strike and that was a really difficult time. These men weren’t employees, they were my dad’s friends and borderline second family. He celebrated birthdays and christenings with them. But when they went on strike and risked taking the company under, he felt betrayed and heartbroken. I didn’t really understand a ton of what was going on because I was so young, but later in life, I was able to see it from two perspectives.”
“My father was running the company, so I saw the business-management side and the struggle it is to operate a business in Illinois with very high workman’s comp, high taxes and all the struggles of a small business owner.”
“Yet growing up on the trucks like my father, I grew to know these guys myself. Their struggles, their aspirations. I saw how these guys gave their everything morning and night to support their families. I understood why they would fight for every raise and benefits increase. That certainly formed my desire to get into politics to try to help the people that need it most, to find complete solutions that aren’t biased by a singular perspective.
“I’ve never felt pulled to either end of the ideological spectrum. They serve a purpose and it’s important for people to be passionate about their beliefs. But my life experiences have always shown me that it’s the middle way that creates the most impactful, pragmatic solutions.”
“The 9th District is a microcosm of the divide in Chicago. It has arguably one of the most affluent and booming neighborhoods, the West Loop where I live and work juxtaposed with the near West Side, Douglas Park, North Lawndale and some of the most disproportionately impacted areas of the city.”
“Although we all want that one law or program or investment to right this crisis, it is not realistic. We cannot permit our urgency to solve these dire problems overshadow the need for a patient, long-term and high investment approach towards resolving these decades-old problems.”
“In the short term we need our government to unify and scale up the incredible work of the public, civic and private sectors. This web of services can build the public and private infrastructure needed to heal people, produce better education, job opportunities, affordable housing and improve health outcomes.”
“Long term, we need to rethink the system of government for the city, county and state. For example, in 1991 Chicago, L.A., and New York had the same homicide rate. Yet in the next 30 years there was a major divergence with Chicago failing to make the statistical improvements its counterpart cities were able to.”
“Why does Chicago and the state of Illinois have one of the worst unfunded pensions in the country? This is not an indication of good governance or government firing on all cylinders. We cannot solve these intractable problems with the antiquated and ineffective forms of governance that created them.”
“As a state rep, I would fight to reform the Illinois laws in order to restore greater home rule to Chicago and allow it to join the ranks of every other major city in America and establish its own charter or constitution.”
“After years of working to make life better for my co-workers and studying the ins and outs of government and all the innovative solutions that exist to help people, it was time to take action and put these experiences to work to serve my city.”
Senior project manager
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