Durbin Discusses Racial Disparities In Federal Investment, Health Care With Illinois Mayors

SPRINGFIELDU.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke with the mayors of communities of color across Illinois about the racial disparities in federal investment, health care access, and economic support. On the call, Durbin discussed state and local fiscal relief funding in the House-passed Heroes Act that would help Illinois recover from the estimated $10 billion in state and local revenues Illinois could lose by next summer. Durbin also spoke about the remaining $130 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds and urged the local leaders to encourage Illinois minority-business owners to apply for the program.

“Racial disparities are present in so many facets of our communities – in the health care system, in federal investment, in policing, in schools, and more,” said Durbin. “I appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from the leaders of some the Illinois communities facing these disparities. Together, we’ll continue to push for reforms and a more equitable distribution of federal resources, ensuring these communities can rebuild after decades of underinvestment and can recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Durbin is a cosponsor of the newly introduced Economic Justice Act, which is a $350 billion community investment proposal to address systemic racism and historic federal underinvestment in communities of color. The bill aims to offer extensive investment into child care, primary and mental health care, and job creation to assist communities in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. Over the next five years, the bill will focus on investing $215 billion in infrastructure, instituting a homeowner down payment tax credit, and expanding Medicaid.

Mayors and city administrators who participated in the call included:

  • Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr., North Chicago
  • Mayor Dave Kaptain, Elgin
  • Mayor Sam Cunningham, Waukegan
  • Deputy Mayor Chuck Nelson, Aurora
  • Mayor Christopher Clark, Harvey
  • Mayor James Ford, Country Club Hills
  • City Administrator Ruth Siaba-Green, Berwyn
  • Mayor Markiewicz Qualkinbush, Calumet City
  • Mayor Larry Dominick, Cicero 
  • Mayor Curtis McCall Jr., Cahokia
  • Mayor Thomas Simpson, Cairo
  • Mayor Reggie Freeman, East Moline
  • Mayor Robert Eastern III, East St. Louis
  • Village Manager Eric Johnson, Carpentersville