Illinois action blog

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Campaign Spotlight: Luis Gutierrez

Luis Gutierrez
Democrat
United States House, 4th Congressional District of Illinois
Email
: gutierrez.house.gov/contact-me
Website: gutierrez.house.gov
Issues: Immigrants, Veterans, Transit, Financial Literacy

Luis Gutierrez is 100% pro-choice and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. Luis Gutierrez knows that women don't turn to politicians for advice about birth control, mammograms, or cancer screenings. He believes that government should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions.

Luis Gutierrez has a 100% voting record on PPIA issues. It is not enough for Congressman Gutierrez to just vote on women's health issues; Congressman Gutierrez is a leader. After hearing of the numerous reports that military women experience a high risk for sexual assault and abuse during their service, Congressman Gutierrez sponsored legislation that would require VA hospitals to provide counseling and sexual-trauma care to any female veteran who requests it. Because of this stellar record, Gutierrez should return to Congress so that he can continue his leadership on women's issues.

Biography:
Now in his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Luis Gutierrez has established himself as an effective legislator and energetic spokesman on behalf of his constituents in Illinois' Fourth District in the heart of Chicago. At the same time, Gutierrez's tireless leadership championing the causes of the Latino and immigrant communities has led to greater responsibilities within the U.S. Congress and has earned him widespread acclaim throughout the country.

As the first Latino to be elected to Congress from the Midwest, Gutierrez sought opportunities to address long-standing needs facing Latinos and immigrants in his diverse Congressional district, which is home to large and established communities of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere. During his first term in office in 1992, he led the fight to expand citizenship education and English language proficiency programs for newly-arrived immigrants. In Chicago, he has held citizenship workshops offering comprehensive assistance to prospective citizens that have helped more than 50,000 people take the first steps toward citizenship.

On the national level, there is no elected official more committed or more passionate about protecting and advocating for our nation's immigrant community than Representative Gutierrez. He has been at the forefront of the effort to pass historic, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation and helped guide the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to passage in the House of Representatives in 2010.

Because of the Congressman's outstanding work on immigration issues, he was appointed Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force and has previously served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force. He is the Democratic Party's leading strategist and spokesperson on immigration issues. During the 110th and 111th Congress, he served as a Member of the Judiciary Committee's Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Subcommittee.

As a former member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Rep. Gutierrez took the lead in calling for greater funding for Veterans health research and his hard work was instrumental in securing $92 million additional dollars for medical research, including tens of millions of dollars for prosthetics programs. While serving on the V.A. Committee, Gutierrez became the champion of victims of sexual trauma by winning passage of legislative language to provide counsel and treat veterans for sexual trauma. He continues to be a strong advocate for ensuring that Illinois veterans receive ample health benefits for their service. Gutierrez also led the fight to help Veterans affected by Agent Orange and his efforts resulted in the broadening of the eligibility and benefits now extended to those exposed to high levels of radiation during their tour of duty. Recently, he has championed the cause of military families and dependents facing separation or deportation because of America's inadequate and inflexible immigration laws.

Mass transit issues have also played a prominent role in Gutierrez' agenda. He secured more than $320 in federal dollars to reconstruct the aging Douglas Branch of the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line, the "L" route which runs through the southwest side and suburbs in his district. He also introduced legislation offering tax credits to commuters who use public transit on a full-time basis. Gutierrez joined community and business leaders to implement creative ridership incentive programs and to press for the restoration of full service on the CTA.

Gutierrez was born in Chicago on December 10, 1953 and later moved to Puerto Rico, his parent's birthplace, before returning to Chicago to attend college. He graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in 1977 with a degree in English and worked as a teacher, social worker, cab driver, community activist, and city official until his election in 1986 as Alderman from the city's 26th ward. In the Chicago City Council, he led the fight for affordable housing, tougher ethics rules, and a law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and was a key lieutenant in Mayor Harold Washington's progressive multi-ethnic coalition. Representative Gutierrez and his wife Soraida have two daughters, Omaira and Jessica, and a grandson, Luisito.
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This post was created by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA). PPIA is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL).

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