2nd U.S. Congressional District Race

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On March 16, 2004, an election will be held for the 2nd U.S Congressional District in Illinois. There are four candidates bidding for the election. The hopefuls are Jessie Louis Jackson, Jr., the incumbent; the Rev. Anthony William; former congressman Mel Reynolds and Everett Shumpert.

Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Jackson was elected in 1995, according to his biography flier. Jackson was born March 11,1965, in Greenville South Carolina. Prior to his stint in Congress, he worked for the National Rainbow Coalition. It is stated in his biography that Jackson was put in jail on his twenty-first birthday in Washington, D.C. for taking part in a protest against apartheid at the South African Embassy. In 1987, Jackson graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management. Three years later, he earned a master’s degree in theology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 1993, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has also been awarded several honorary degrees. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education.


Jackson was not available for comments. Rick Bryant, his press person, provided the answers to these questions.

RJ: What is Congressman Jackson’s feeling on health care and housing?

RB: He feels that all American should have access to health care. Housing is a necessity. He is working tirelessly promoting affordable housing programs.

RJ: How does the Congressman feel about welfare reform?

RB: He opposed welfare reform. He voted against it.

Anthony Williams

Another candidate hoping to become the representative of the 2nd U.S. Congressional District is the Rev. Anthony Williams. Born and reared in the Englewood Community in Chicago Illinois, Williams is a product of the Chicago public school system. He attended Williams Harper High School and Bishop College in Dallas Texas and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Williams is married and he’s the father of four children, according to his biography flier.

IL 2nd District Congressional candidate Anthony Williams

This isn’t the minister’s first attempt running for the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois.

He ran for Congress in 2002. On February 4, RJ interviewed Williams.

RJ: Are you a native of Chicago?

AW: I’m a native of Chicago, born here in Englewood. Both my parents worked for the city. For thirty years, my father worked for Streets and Sanitation, and my mother was a nurse [and] she worked for the Board of Health.

RJ: When did you decide to run in the 2nd Congressional District? Who are your backers; who’s backing you up?

AW: Basically this is my second time running…it’s the citizens and the residents of the 2nd district that encourage me to run…

I do have a history fighting for the people’s causes, right here in the first congressional district where this church sits. I’m on the community negotiation team to make sure that contracting jobs are given to legitimate African American contractors and the residents are getting the jobs with proper training. I’ve done more in this area as a private citizen than the entire country is doing.

In relation to my jobs, we have gotten hundreds of people employed. Currently, we are negotiating with a major corporations to bring about good corporate partnerships, to make sure African American contractors are involved in the process with $6 billion dollars of economical developments and revitalization [planned for] Englewood. So I have an extensive history of community service, an extensive history of public service, and I don’t get paid for it.

RJ: Where do you get your volunteer workers?

AW: They come from all over the 2nd Congressional District.

RJ: The campaign financing?

AW: Well it comes from common people. There’s no particular source or individual that’s giving money. I put in my personal money, because what people don’t understand is you don’t need a lot of money to do this. You just have to understand the process.

RJ: What type of advertising are you doing, like radio advertising or T.V. advertising?

AW: That’s a waste of money. It’s best to go people to people, door to door. We have a bus tour coming up, we are going through out the district, we may do some radio spots toward the end – you want to get the most bang out of your bucks. A mass mailing is what we are focused on right now.

RJ: If you are elected, what would your health care program be?

AW: First of all, I believe in universal health care. Every American should have the right to prompt, professional medical care.

RJ: What about the problems in Englewood? There’s a lot of crime going on there.

AW: You are talking about the issue of public safety. When people are working, crime is down. If you go to Wilmette or Rogers Park, you don’t see people standing on the corners, because people are working. We have enough resources out here to be creative; you just can’t look to the federal government to solve all your problems.

RJ: Welfare reform, will you comment on that?

AW: I think it is a program that needs a lot of fine tuning. Where are the jobs? You have to have someone in Congress who is going to make the system work, and unfortunately you have 435 congressmen in the United States – half of them don’t read the legislation in front of them.

Mel Reynolds
Mel Reynolds is a former Representative of the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois.

He is a candidate for the March 16, 2004 election. Reynolds was not available for an interview or comments about his bid for the congressional position, despite repeated interview requests.

Reynolds resigned in 1995 after being convicted of having sex with an underage campaign worker. He served 2 1/2 years in prison.

In 1997, he was convicted of fraudulently obtaining bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his campaign fund.

Everett Shumpert
RJ was unable to arrange an interview with Everett Shumpert by press time.

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