Jan Schakowsky speaks on healthcare and immigration issues in Q&A


Owen Stidman / Daily Senior Staffer

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston). Schakowsky was re-elected to a 12th term in the House Tuesday night.

Josiah Bonifant, Assistant Campus Editor

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) spoke to around 20 Northwestern students Thursday in an informal Q&A hosted by NU College Democrats.

Schakowsky elaborated on her opinions on healthcare by recounting an experience she had in a Senate Finance Committee hearing last week with three pharmaceutical representatives about the increased price of insulin.

“There were three CEOs of Big Pharma companies that have made insulin, which has been around since the 1930s,” Schakowsky said. “They’re smooth as silk, these sons of bitches. And people are dying. I don’t know how they sleep at night.”

Schakowsky said Republicans still see issues like sexuality, race and reproductive rights as controversial while millennials are much more tolerant than previous generations, and don’t see issues like those as problems. She said the 2018 election proved younger people have political drive.

One student asked about whether she is concerned about the presence of liberal socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in Congress, to which she answered she was not, and that she appreciated all support for liberal policies.

“The freshman class has added a sense of urgency,” Schakowsky said. “It’s time to get stuff done.That sense of urgency that mostly younger people bring to the debate is very helpful to move the agenda.”

One of the policies on the agenda Schakowsky mentioned is immigration reform. Although the US-Mexico border is far from Evanston, President Trump has recently proposed bussing the migrants on the border to sanctuary cities like Chicago.

SESP sophomore Ray Solorzano asked Schakowsky about her stances on immigration, as his parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was very young. He said he remembered when they brought him to the immigration court to remind him of the process they had to go through.

“I constantly go back to that moment,” Solorzano said. “What does it mean to be an immigrant or a person of color in this country?”

In Schakowsky’s reply, she recounted how her parents immigrated with far fewer problems than current immigrants do. She condemned President Trump, calling him “un-American” with his immigration policies on the US-Mexico border.

Although Schakowsky was very critical of Trump during the event, she said she appreciated how he has coalesced the Democratic party. She said congressional Democrats are voting together in record numbers, which she views as a sign of a new liberal age for politics.

“This is the largest mobilization in the history of our country, starting with the women’s march after Trump’s inauguration,” Schakowsky said. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling into 2020.”

Weinberg junior Alisa Liu said she was very appreciative of the event because it allowed her to personally talk to a congresswoman. She said she transferred from the University of British Columbia last year because she wanted to be more involved with American politics, and Schakowsky’s remarks cemented her resolve.

“This event inspired me to be as engaged as possible in the election” Liu said. “And it gave me hope.”

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