CHICAGO: Marie Newman, who became the Democratic Party nominee for the 3rd Congressional District after unseating seven-term incumbent Dan Lipinski, said she will give Arab Americans a voice during her term.
Newman won the March Democratic Primary election, making her the party’s choice to fill the office in the Nov. 3 general election.
She faces Republican newcomer Mike Fricilone in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic, and she is expected to easily win the seat.
The 3rd District also has the eighth-largest Arab voting population in the country, according to a study conducted recently by the New York Times.
“For the last few decades, Arab and Muslim Americans in the 3rd District have largely been left out of the conversation,” Newman told Arab News.
“We need leadership in Illinois’s 3rd District that’s truly inclusive, and I plan to be a voice for every single person in our community.”
Newman was feted at a rally organized by two of Chicagoland’s largest community-based organizations: The American Arab Chamber of Commerce and the American Palestine Club.
At the rally, she vowed to listen to their concerns and to give them a voice in her policy decision-making.
“When I decided to enter this race, we formed an Arab- and Muslim-American advisory council, led by my campaign Chairwoman Shadin Maali, to deepen and significantly broaden our relationships in the community,” Newman said.
“From there, we worked side by side to better understand universal issues as well as those issues more prominent in the community.”
Maali is a long-time Palestinian-American activist who helped Newman unseat Lipinski in the election with 52,384 votes to Lipinski’s 49,568.
The progressive centrist also easily overcame two other challengers, including Palestinian-American activist Rush Darwish, who in his first-ever campaign raised more than $500,000 but only received 5.7 percent of the 111,000 votes cast.
“I’m indebted to the community for their counsel, partnership and friendship,” Newman said. “We’re looking forward to expanding our partnership to create real change on the ground, to address racial injustice and income inequality, to elevate small businesses, to guarantee health care for all, and to address critical foreign-relations issues. We’re here to build bridges and bring people together to solve problems.”
Newman earned a BA in journalism and business from the University of Wisconsin. As of her 2020 campaign, she had worked in advertising, consulting and non-profit advocacy.
She founded a non-profit organization, Team Up to Stop Bullying, which sought to address bullying among schoolchildren.
In speaking at the Arab-American rally, Newman did not hesitate to take the bull by the horns and address one of society’s most important issues, one especially felt by Arab and Muslim Americans.
“Systemic racism is real. Bigotry is real. Racial injustice is real and we must address it. We’re the first to bring law enforcement and activists together to talk about the injustices and stereotyping and the racial injustices imparted by police,” Newman said at the outdoor event.
“Most cops are great. They’re very talented. They work very hard and do a lot of different jobs, not just policing. They’re mental-health experts, they have to be housing experts. They have to be food and security experts. They have to do a lot in one day,” she stressed.
“Let’s bring law enforcement together more with activists to solve our systemic racism problems, because we all have to do this together. We can’t yell at each other all day. It doesn’t work.”
Newman blasted President Donald Trump, blaming him for the fact that America has the highest COVID-19 infection rate of any country in the world.
Johns Hopkins University and Medical Center reported this week that the US leads the world with the highest infection and death rates, with 6.2 million cases and 188,000 deaths
Newman told attendees that the pandemic has brought the district and region together. “The amazing thing (is that) through COVID, we’ve all come together in a really beautiful way. Bridgeview is helping the 14th Ward, the 14th Ward is helping Summit, Joliet is helping the 11th Ward and we’re all coming together. And that’s from the coalition we built on the campaign. That wasn’t happening before,” she said.
“The pandemic has been a tragic teacher and a travesty. It’s a travesty because this pandemic didn’t have to affect us in this way. This president has very clearly made it clear that he’s cruel and he doesn’t know how to run a country. We’re all now suffering because of it,” she added.
“Almost 190,000 souls we’ve lost. If that isn’t enough motivation to vote, I don’t know what is. Please use that motivation in the voting booth.”
Newman said one of her priorities is also to “build a better health-care system,” which she described as “incredibly broken.”
She urged the adoption of “Medicare for all,” adding: “It’s a system that’s already in place. We can make it better and roll it out for everyone.”