- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Chicago Immigration Activist Now a Congressional Candidate

New America Media, Interview, Fabiola Pomareda Posted: Dec 04, 2009

Traduccin al espaol

CHICAGO -- He was known first as an immigrant, a union organizer, and an activist in pro-immigration reform marches and rallies. The native of Mexico who has lived in the United States for 22 years will now be known as an immigrant political candidate.

With dual citizenship and an extensive career that began the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1988, Jorge Mujica Murias decided to announce his candidacy for the third congressional district in Illinois as a Democrat, a seat held by Rep. Daniel Lipinski, also a Democrat.

When Mujica took the stage and the microphone during the May 1 rally, posing the question to hundreds in the crowd, "Colleagues, who must we take to Washington so they will pay attention?," we knew the time had come.

He set up his campaign headquarters in his house in Berwyn, a suburb southwest of Chicago and, from there, he and his colleagues proceeded to collect nearly 2,000 signatures to register his candidacy. He only needed 800. To this day, his registration as a Democratic candidate remains unchallenged.

Mujica, 54, was interviewed by La Raza Newspaper reporter Fabiola Pomareda.

How did you decide to become a candidate for the U.S. Congress?

This campaign is part of the immigration movement; it is not a personal initiative. It came out of a long talk with a lot of people within the immigration movement, and we arrived at a very simple conclusion: Why are we going to put other people in charge to solve our problems? It's better if we handle it ourselves, and to do that we need one of our own in Congress. That gives the campaign a very wide scope.

How do you prepare to challenge someone with so many political and business ties?

Look, first Lipinski doesn't have a good record. He originally came to Congress because his dad gave him the seat, so he was never actually elected by the voters in the district. Second, he has dedicated himself to creating a vicious circle where he gets money from construction companies to finance his political campaign, and then he gets a construction project for his district. So he makes the construction companies happy, and they give him money again for reelection, but he ignores the rest of the district. Third, and lastly, Lipinski has stood out as someone who is very anti-immigrant. He voted in favor of the Sensenbrenner Act, the wall along the border, all the budget increases for 'La Migra' [immigration authorities]. He voted for the war along with all of Bush's lies, and every year his district has more and more immigrants, and Lipinski is not representing them. We have 75,000 immigrants already registered to vote in the district and, well, obviously, he doesn't represent them, and they don't like him. That is our basis to win.

Lipinski says he will continue bringing in jobs. How do you compete against those promises?

Theres no way to say that someone brings jobs. In reality, when President Obama launches his economic recovery plan, he is placing millions of dollars on the table to create those jobs. Its not that Lipinski has brought them. What he is doing is taking the portion that the district is entitled to and saying, I am bringing you these jobs. If he brought money for the CTA [Chicago Transit Authority], there would be jobs forever for the CTA drivers, and so people can go to work easily instead of waiting for a bus every half hour.

What are you proposing to the residents of that district?

What I am proposing is real representation. My candidacy is not an individual issue. I am proposing to the voters that they hire me to represent them in Washington, to represent the 75,000 immigrants and the interests of more than 150,000 whites, the elderly, and those who don't have health insurance.

What alliances have you formed during the campaign?

We have spoken with various non-Latino, non-Mexican, immigrant communities and they are all are willing to support this candidacy, and that is significant. We are also reaching out to other sectors. Berwyn has the third largest LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender] community in all of Illinois, and they are resentful of Lipinski for having voted against the possibility of giving them benefits as couples. We are processing all of the support from unions, and we have yet to find a union that will tell us no. And the proposals are simple: guarantee better jobs, jobs that have health insurance where people can unionize, and I have been a union activist for many years. I don't have to promise unions that I will keep my word. I'm a union member. Lipinski isn't.

How will you build popular support for your campaign in the coming months?

The people who identify with me and the things Ive said have given us a lot of support. Now we have a bigger challenge, and that is to get the commitment of at least 60,000 people to go vote for us on February 2. It is not going to be easy. We need to make direct contact, speak person to person, try to help people. That is what I have tried to do my entire life, to organize communities, because there are a lot of communities outside the city, in the suburbs, and few community organizations. We are going to go out with more local associations, merchant associations -- Latino or non-Latino. This is a campaign to organize and a basic commitment to get out and vote on February 2.

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage