Stefanie Smith on the Election and the impacts of COVID-19
Written by Catrina Petersen on March 17, 2020
Photo courtesy to Stefanie Smith Facebook page
NORMAL, Ill.- Running for the U.S. Congress in the Illinois District 13 is Stefanie Smith.
With the results hours away Smith shared that she is not excited about this election, in fact she’s disappointed.
“Not postponing the primary is an egregious violation of public health and trust,” said Smith.
“We should be taking social distancing and isolation seriously, for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones and communities.”
With the Coronavirus taking a harder hit on the elderly and immunocompromised, Smith is worried about the exposure and representing those who are only able-bodied.
“Only able-bodied people will be able to vote and the potential for exposure and further spread of the virus is high. This election will be written in blood, and I am heartbroken,” said Smith.
However, it isn’t just the fact that the Primary Election is still going on today that has Smith heartbroken, but also how the federal government is handling the outbreak.
“This has been mismanaged from the beginning. Trump cut funding to the CDC in 2018 and sealed our fate in 2020 by refusing to act swiftly,” said Smith.
What kind of candidate will you see on the ballot today?
Well, Smith believes this pandemic highlights the structural inequalities inherent in our system.
Smith decided to run to fix the issues.
“Issues of poverty such as a lack of affordable housing, crippling medical and student loan debt and low wage work without benefits like paid sick leave have exacerbated this crisis,” said Smith.
In a pandemic, everything changes one issue Smith sees is one within the corrections system.
“The jails, prisons and detention centers are inhumane in any context, but in the context of a pandemic they are death chambers,” said Smith.
But “the most glaringly obvious issue” that would have the largest impact on public health is a single-payer Medicare for All policy that Smith backs entirely.
Throughout her campaign these issues have been central from the beginning.
“We foresaw major catastrophes and knew we were woefully under-prepared with little to no access to resources,” said Smith.
Moving forward with the pandemic Smith believes that Illinois needs relief.
“We need a freeze on rent, mortgages, and utilities. We need resources and means to obtain supplies. We need to be able to survive the virus and not come out the other side to insurmountable housing and utility debt,” said Smith.
Overall Smith urges mutual aid and community is the way through this.
“Take care of each other. Be gentle with each other. Solidarity, always,” said Smith.