Picture from twitter.com
Candidate for U.S. House District 13, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, visited the University of Illinois Springfield Thursday, April 13 to meet with the UIS College Democrats club. The emphasis of the meeting was “women in politics” with several female political figures speaking, including Capital Township Trustee Board Member LaKeisha Purchase and local politician Jeanette Goza. Running against incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Londrigan won her March 20th primary with 45.7% of the vote, beating four primary hopefuls Erik Jones, David Gill, Jon Ebel, and Angel Sides.
Londrigan has a deep connection to the University of Illinois, having graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as well as founding the University of Illinois Springfield Alumni Association. Her visit focused on issues faced by women in politics, as well as her thoughts on healthcare reform.
“We have to acknowledge that it is different being a woman on the campaign trail,” said Londrigan to UIS campus Democrats, citing inequalities faced in the political sphere. “It’s about making sure that there are enough of us at the decision-making table.”
Beyond the recognition of the inequalities that women in politics face, Londrigan also cited the extreme female inequality in government representation. As it stands, despite the United States population being 50.8% female according to U.S. Census data, women only comprise around 19% of congressional seats.
Born and raised in Springfield, Londrigan previously worked with Teach for America, served as the Director of Alumni Affairs for the UIS Alumni Association, and worked for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin— receiving Durbin’s endorsement in November of 2017.
Along with a call for greater female visibility and participation in the political process, Londrigan also called for more women to run for office. “It’s not going to come easy.” stated Londrigan. “We can do it, and we have to.”
Following the call for greater female representation in politics, Londrigan explained her motivation for running for congress against incumbent Rodney Davis. After Londrigan’s son, Jack, was diagnosed with rocky mountain spotted fever, Londrigan noted that the lack of a health insurance cap at the time under the Affordable Care Act prevented her family from almost certain financial ruin. Later, Londrigan witnessed television coverage of Davis celebrating the repeal of the ACA individual mandate on the White House lawn with President Donald Trump. The repeal, despite its popularity with the right, will likely cripple the program if left unchallenged. “It looked like a white boy frat party,” joked Londrigan. “They were taking insurance away from millions of people and they were celebrating […] I got mad.”
When questioned about ideas toward healthcare, Londrigan explained that she wants to “stabilize the ACA,” protecting essential health benefits and pushing for stronger care for expectant mothers. “We need maternity care.” Londrigan said. “Everybody has a mom.”
Londrigan will face off against representative Rodney Davis in the U.S. House District 13 general election on November 6.