Jan Schakowsky up for re-election against Republican Sargis Sangari


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) speaks at an event in January 2018. Schakowsky is currently up for re-election against Republican Sargis Sangari.

Laya Neelakandan, Reporter

After over 20 years in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) is seeking re-election for a 12th term representing Illinois’ 9th Congressional district.

Schakowsky is up for re-election this year against Republican Sargis Sangari, who defeated Richard Mayers in the Republican primary earlier this year. Schakowsky, who has held the seat since 1999, is currently serving as a Senior Chief Deputy Whip in the House.

The Democratic Party of Evanston’s committeeman, Eamon Kelly, said Schakowsky is doing exceedingly well, largely because she has name recognition compared to Sangari.

“She’s doing terrific, and I’m confident she’s going to get re-elected,” Kelly said. “Jan stands out among other members of Congress as a fighter for progressive values.”

In a Chicago Tribune questionnaire, Schakowsky said her highest priorities are curbing the effects of COVID-19 and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. On the other hand, Sangari, who is a self-defined moderate, said he is focusing on business and economic development to bring about equal opportunities.

Cook County resident Sarah Neczwid strongly supports Schakowsky, but said she had not thought much about the Representative until recently.

“She didn’t come into my field of vision until this year when all of the racial justice issues took place,” Neczwid said. “When I came across that she was a co-sponsor of the H.R. 40 bill for reparations, I thought she’s actually really forward-looking and understands equity.”

Neczwid has been particularly frustrated with Sangari’s “lack of transparency” in making his platform visible to the public. She said she has been unable to find actual paragraphs of information about his stances on his website, where she’s only found links to interviews or articles.

However, even if she could find information, she said she still would not vote for Sangari because of the “way the Republican party has currently been presenting themselves.” Neczwid is hopeful that Schakowsky will win because she believes in progress.

Similarly, Edgewater resident Susan Danzig said she did not even know Schakowsky’s opponent and doesn’t know anyone who will be voting for the Republican. Instead, she expressed her unwavering support for Schakowsky.

“She’s fabulous, smart, and focused,” Danzig said. “She’s been my Congresswoman for years, and we’ve become really good friends.”

Danzig said she often volunteers for political events and, over the years, has grown close to Schakowsky. Danzig specifically appreciates Schakowsky’s work on bettering healthcare and furthering gun violence prevention.

As the incumbent, Schakowsky is highly favored in this race, according to the Democratic Party of Evanston. If she wins again, she will be entering her 12th consecutive term as a Congresswoman representing Illinois.

“I have really made it my mission in these years to encourage young people, young women, young men, to run for office,” Schakowsky said in a Sept. 26 debate hosted by the League of Women Voters. “Everyone needs to get out to vote to make sure that we have a country we can be proud of.”

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Twitter: @laya_neel 

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