Local Editorials

Our view: 14th Congressional District: Lauren Underwood

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In making his appeal to voters for election to Congress from the 14th Congressional District, Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove attempts to paint the freshman incumbent, Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville, as being out of touch with the values of the diverse suburban and rural district. We disagree. Since her election to Congress in 2018, Underwood, as a member of House committees dealing with education and the workforce, veterans affairs and homeland security, has emerged as an effective champion of mainstream legislation intended to benefit her constituents throughout the 14th District.

As a registered nurse who has a heart condition that she says informs her stand on health care issues, Underwood secured passage in Congress of the Lower Insulin Costs Now Act, which reduced the cost of insulin by making generic brands available more widely and sooner. President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan bill into law in December 2019.

Underwood also has worked to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act, which provided health care coverage to millions more Americans, including those with preexisting conditions. One of the health care measures Underwood backed, the House-approved Affordable Care Enhancement Act, would limit how much consumers in ACA marketplaces would have to pay for certain plans tied to a percentage of their incomes. The plan, which still awaits consideration in the Senate, also aims to save money by giving Medicare the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Concerning the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Underwood has trusted the science and publicly supported Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations – including wearing masks – to help limit the spread of the disease that has tragically claimed more than 200,000 American lives and hospitalized thousands of others at considerable expense. Underwood also has been rightly critical of Trump’s handling of the pandemic and laments what she believes is a lack of leadership and an unwillingness on the part of the White House to put forward a national plan to help the nation combat COVID-19 and recover from the pandemic.

On the issue of protests that have occurred across the nation in the wake of the death of a Black man in May at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Underwood has described the violence that has broken out as heartbreaking and a tragedy. And in response to calls for police reform, she has voiced support for legislation that is intended to increase police accountability on misconduct allegations and end discriminatory policing practices.

We believe residents of the 14th District want a health care system that will not bankrupt them if they become ill, nor do they want to have to import prescriptions from foreign countries just to afford their medications. They want police to apply the law fairly to everyone. Above all at this moment, they want to get this pandemic behind them so they can get back to work raising their families and paying their bills. In less than two years in Congress, Underwood has been a strong advocate for measures to support all of these goals. She has earned a second term in Congress and is deserving of your vote. Underwood is endorsed.

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