Zopp Challenges Duckworth to Debate on African American Issues
Civil Rights Leaders and African American Media Say Duckworth has been absent
Sunday at her campaign headquarters in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community, U.S. Senate candidate Andrea Zopp challenged her opponent, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, to join her for a debate on issues that impact the African American community, a key demographic in the Democratic Party.
“Congresswoman Duckworth doesn’t want to do any more debates because she’s done very little for the people of Illinois,” said Zopp. “If you look at her record, particularly on the issues that matter to working families, and specifically, to the issues that matter to the African American community, like job creation, criminal justice reform and gun control, Congresswoman Duckworth been silent during her time in Congress. Her interests in the issues that matter in our community isn’t driven by the fact that she actually wants to get things done, they are driven by political calculation. Yet, she won’t come and talk to us about these issues.”
Zopp was joined in her call for Congresswoman Duckworth to stop ducking debate invitations from the African American community by Chicago Aldermen Howard Brookins, Jr. (21st Ward), Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), and Roderick T. Sawyer (6th Ward); Chicago Urban League president and CEO, Shari Runner; Chicago Defender publisher Cheryl Mainor; and historian and civil rights activist Edward L. “Buzz” Palmer.
Runner shared her concern that the Chicago Urban League’s debate invitation, that would have been televised on CBS 2 (WBBM), was ignored by the Duckworth campaign. Runner added, “Ever since we got the right to vote, the Urban League has been a leader in making sure that our community gets a voice in elections. When we reach out to candidates and ask them to address important issues faced by people of color and they don’t respond, we can only assume that those politicians don’t care.”
Mainor, of the Chicago Defender agreed, “As a newspaper we have invited all of the candidates to meet with us. Congresswoman Duckworth has declined our invitations. As someone who is responsible for disseminating information to our community, I find that unsatisfactory.”
“It is unfortunate that Congresswoman Duckworth will not come to our community. I think that is one of the things you are obligated to do as an elected official,” said Alderman Brookins. “Because we don’t see our elected officials in Congress, it is imperative that they at least come when they are asking us for our vote.”
Expressing her disappointment with Congresswoman Duckworth’s refusal to confirm anymore debates, especially in the African American community Alderman Dowell said, “We expect our politicians to come and have a dialogue with us — to understand our hopes and dreams, to understand our concerns, and to get a sense of what you are going to do to uplift our community as we deliver our vote to you.”
In last week’s debate on ABC 7 Chicago (WLS), Andrea Zopp was the only candidate who demonstrated a decades-long career driving change on key issues that impact the working families of Illinois. Zopp will continue her call for debates in the African American community and in central and southern Illinois. Zopp believes that the people deserve to hear the candidates debate as often as possible before going to the polls on March 15th.