Ryan is a 31-year-old data analyst living in Palatine. He is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland, having grown up in Elgin and attended public schools in District U-46. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2008, and earned his Master of Public Policy degree with Honors from the University of Chicago in 2015. His professional career includes time at the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Crain’s Chicago Business, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and the White House. He’s proud of what he’s accomplished in his career, but it has been anything but a smooth ride. Like so many of his generation, Ryan found gainful employment almost impossible to come by in the aftermath of the Great Recession. He carries six figures of student loan debt that he won’t pay off until 2045. He knows what it means to struggle, and he will fight tooth and nail to build a new economy that includes millennials too.
Huffman has a rather large priorities page, which you can access via his main site. I’ll just do some random blockquotes below:
Money In Politics – The most important thing we can do is get money out of politics. Not only has the disastrous Citizens United ruling made it easier than ever for corporations to buy elections, but our elected officials spend hours every day calling donors to raise money for their next election. It’s no wonder representatives like Peter Roskam don’t vote in the interests of their constituents. Do we really think he voted to sell our internet search histories to the highest bidder because he thought it was good for the residents of the 6th District? I pledge that I won’t take a dime of special-interest money during the campaign or while serving as your congressman.
Healthcare – Ensuring that every American has access to affordable healthcare must be our number-one priority. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made a great deal of progress on not only insuring more people, but also on making certain that everyone’s health insurance plans met certain minimum quality requirements. Even so, people in this country still die or go bankrupt due to lack of affordable care. It is a tremendous injustice that, in this land of plenty, we still allow people to suffer so much from preventable problems. We also need to address rising premium costs, excessive prescription drug prices, and barren counties that will have no plans offered on the individual market.
Ultimately our country needs to transition to a single-payer, Medicare for All health system similar to what has worked so well in other countries around the world.
Wages– In today’s economy, too little of each worker’s productivity is returned as income to that worker. In fact, 95% of all new wealth created in this country goes to those at the very top. This is not only bad for the workers, it is bad for the economy as a whole. Working class people are much more likely to put that money right back into the economy than those at the top. In short, higher-paid workers means higher-spending consumers. Everyone wins in a world where workers get a higher portion of a company’s revenue.
Unfortunately, this is not happening naturally, as the decline of unions and rampant underemployment has allowed corporations to get away with underpaying their workers for decades. Wages for the middle and working classes have remained stagnant for years, even as income for those at the top has risen to unprecedented highs.
One way to correct this injustice is to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Even if a minimum-wage employee works full-time, they’d only receive an annual income of about $15,000. I support raising the minimum wage to $15 and indexing it to inflation. That will allow it to increase naturally along with the cost of living. We also need to raise the tipped minimum wage, which sits at a paltry $2.13, and institute a law capping corporate salaries at ten times the company’s lowest paid employee.