U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill, and Austin Songer a Clear Difference

The differences between Republican Peter Roskam; who currently represents the Sixth District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives, and potential Democratic challenger Austin Songer are vast. 

Before his election to Congress Roskam earned $615,000 as a personal injury attorney in 2005, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn reported. His firm Salvi, Roskam & Mahr specialized in cases such as slip and fall and dog bite injuries.

Songer served in the U.S. Navy for seven years and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. Songer’s Naval duties as a corpsman included helping sick and injured sailors and Marines. Songer is a new face to politics; Roskam is a career politician who served in the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate in addition to his law practice.

There are vast difference between Roskam and Songer on a wide variety of issues including:

Human Rights

In January 2005; while he was a member of the Illinois State Senate, Roskam opposed an effort to amend the Illinois Human Rights Act to ban employers from discriminating against people because of sexual orientation.

I believe that Non-discrimination protections that currently apply to race, religion, and gender should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community and the atheist community. Making all Americans equal is not asking for special privileges, it’s asking for the rule of law — justice and equality for all as outlined in the United States Constitution.

Roskam said he supports “the underlying theme” of President Trump’s efforts to ban immigration and refugees from Muslim nations, The Chicago Tribune reported. Of the bans Roskam merely said "implementation was bumpy."

I vow to fight to close loopholes that allow federal authorities including Customs and Border Protection to profile people by race, religion and national origin. I also wants to guarantee due process and bond hearings for all immigrants.

Ethics and Money in Politics

Roskam was one of several Republicans who openly supported a vote to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) of its enforcement powers, Poltico reported. Roskam even spoke in favor of the measure to give control of the Office to the House Ethics Committee. Roskam is very familiar with the OCE it investigated allegations he had taken an impermissible gift from a donor on a trip to Taiwan in 2011.

I support a Constitutional Amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which allows unlimited donations to politicians by billionaires and corporations. I want private donations to politicians and campaigns and Super PACS banned.

Free Speech

Roskam has vowed that he will not hold another town hall meeting with constituents because of criticism he receives at such forums. "I did one meeting, and it was not productive," Roskam told The Chicago Tribune. "I made a decision to do other kinds of meetings. I have done discussions and appearance. Those shouting matches are not productive.”

The marketplace of ideas should be embraced and a vibrant debate is healthy for democracy, and we should cherish our First Amendment. I also support net neutrality for a free and open internet.

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