CHICAGO: A US-Palestinian professor hopes to win a seat in the US Congress in a newly created Chicago-area district without an incumbent.
Iymen Chehade, who teaches history at Columbia College in Chicago and is a community organizer, said his candidacy would “bring a fresh voice and an alien mindset” to an area that needs to be properly represented in Congress.
The new district that Chehade hopes to represent does not have a current incumbent and was recently selected by state officials by removing chapters from several other congressional districts.
Commentators have said that political foreigners like Chehade are likely to compete.
Chehade argues that while he sees himself as a political outsider in the political machine of the Chicago area, where politics is a blood sport, he has roots in the neighborhood where his immigrant parents have lived and worked since the early 1970s. 1960s.
If elected, Chehade has said on his campaign website that he will advocate for a “Marshall Plan” for the United States. âThe plan involves investing in social institutions and public infrastructure, and rehabilitating our economy by empowering workers and their children,â he added.
He said he supported citizenship pathways for undocumented immigrants and full benefits for veterans.
Chehade said he “knows the area very well” because of his roots there, and plans to open a community theater there next year in a building that belonged to his family.
He told Arab News he was running for Congress “because we need career-less politicians in power who will put the interests of the people first, rather than their own hold on power.”
He added that his experience as a historian has given him a unique perspective on what can work for the country as a policy maker.
âWe have to put America first. As a member of Congress, I will bring empathy and advocate for policies that empower the American people, âhe said.
The new district was created through a controversial process called gerrymandering, a political tool used to redesign and manipulate existing congressional districts to displace certain population groups, often to the advantage of a party.
The Congressional constituency redistribution is carried out by the state legislature and is intended to reflect an increase or decrease in local population counts, based on a national census.
In the case of Illinois, a Democratic state with 12 Democratic members of Congress and just five Republicans, gerrymandering often reflects competition between the various political wings of the Democratic Party.
But starting next year’s election, Illinois will lose a seat in Congress due to a net loss of population according to the 2020 census.
As a result, the new district in which Chehade is running will become the third congressional district, while the original third district – which has a large Arab-American population – will become the sixth district.
As a result, MP Marie Newman, who currently represents the Third District, will compete with sitting Democratic MP Sean Casten to represent the Sixth District.
Casten and Newman will face off in next June’s primary election, resulting in a net loss of a congressman to the state of Illinois.
Besides Chehade, several other candidates have expressed their desire to run for the new seat.
Among them is the alderman of the city of Chicago, Gilbert Villegas.
If elected, Chehade would become Illinois’ third progressive member, in addition to Newman and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, which is a blow to the establishment wing of the Democratic Party.