Friday, 30 September 2011 00:00

Immigrant Community Organizer Ilya Sheyman Runs for Congress on North Shore

Written by  Elías Cepeda, trad. Víctor Flores

Illinois’ 10th congressional district, which includes much of the North shore, has a reputation as one of the wealthiest and whitest portions of the greater Chicago-land. As such, it might seem a strange space for an immigrant candidate who proposes higher taxes for the rich to try and unseat an incumbent. But Ilya Sheyman, the son of Jewish refugees from Moscow, believes he can unseat first term Congressman Robert Dold in 2012 because the 10th district is far more diverse than people realize.

“Politically, the district has had a republican congressman for the last thirty years,” Sheyman admits. “But it is one of the top ten swing districts in the country. The 10th district is one of the most economically and racially diverse areas in the state. There is the North shore but there are places like Waukegan, which has double digit unemployment.”

Waukegan is also essentially half Latino at this point. Sheyman is hoping that his own immigrant experience will resonate among Hispanic voterse.

“My family came over from Moscow as Jewish refugees in 1991. I was just a little boy then. I’ve had a very typical immigrant experience in that I was taught to work hard, follow the rules and work my way up,” Sheyman says. “It’s about working hard to put your children through school, persevering, valuing your family and community. That’s what I learned from my parents.”

When Sheyman talks family values, he is quick to say how he’d support them as a member of Congress. “When I look at policy, I see that your hard work, plus medicare, social security, these core American safety nets, this is what makes a middle class possible. I see the GOP trying to dismantle that safety net and I want to fight to keep and improve it,” he says.

Similarly, Sheyman wants to use all the power of the federal government to create jobs. “A top priority in this district and nationally is unemployment. We have to use every single tool in the tool set, including the federal government, to invest in infrastructure, invest in state and local level aide,” he says. “We need to build a green energy economy and bring back manufacturing.”

Sheyman also believes that immigration reform should be a part of rebuilding America. “Immigration reform is one important piece. I think that we should pass the DREAM Act,” Sheyman says. “We need a pathway to citizenship for everyone that lives and works peacefully in their communities.”

Link to original article from extra

Read 4288 times Last modified on Monday, 02 January 2012 23:08

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