Response to 2/21/24 State Budget Address

February 22, 2024

While I’m encouraged by many of the investments the Governor addressed, I’m afraid of what investments will get stalled, which ones will fall through the cracks.

The state got a stark reminder that its fiscal challenges are not just a thing of the past. And the fiscal crises will continue because two things are true at the same time.

  1. Illinois won’t be a state that puts children, healthcare, and community development last. Illinois is a state that seeks to robustly invest in its people, and its people make Illinois a unique, and wonderful place.
  2. Illinois has a broken tax structure that crushes working families with higher taxes, especially when compared to the wealthy. Numbers don’t lie.

Illinois ranks top 3 in the highest state and local tax rates on lower and middle-income families. The effective tax rate for those in the lowest income 20% is twice as high as the tax rate for those at the top 1%.

Illinois takes a bigger share of the single working parent’s income, than it does from the wealthy hedge fund managers.

This tax structure is not dictated by the market or by circumstance. This is a policy choice. A choice we clearly can’t afford to keep making as a state.

The Death of CPS Students Reinforces the Urgency of Violence Prevention

February 1, 2024

CHICAGO – 20th District State Senate candidate Graciela Guzmán issues the following statement in solidarity with those affected by the recent shootings of CPS students and supports bold action to address the root causes of crime. 

I am heartbroken at the injuries and loss of CPS students in the Loop and Edgewater. Children going to and from school, nor anyone else, should not have to fear and constantly look over their shoulders. I pray for their families and their communities as they mourn this ineffable loss.

This is a crisis now, as we speak. There is no time to waste. We need to radically invest in tackling the root causes of crime. Families need stable housing, communities need mental health resources, and too many folks live in cycles of poverty that trap and limit their access to basic necessities.  Surely if overpolicing worked, the city with the second most police per capita in the country would show a different result. We know the science, we know the policies.

But we need to do more than just name the root causes of crime. We need to push for policy change that addresses those causes. Paying lip service to these key policies without using our power to advance change only serves to set us back. It delays the solutions we need to ensure that communities are truly safe and no one fears living in our city and state. 

We need to build a system of care that helps us prevent crime and expand the tools we use in community response. It will mean a lean-in to our violence prevention organizations; strengthen the reach of trusted community providers to address community well-being after incidents of crime; and create pathways to appropriately address emergency behavioral and mental health crises.  

We also have to layer a strong anti-poverty agenda into this work. To reimagine and implement public safety means we must also improve access to education, healthcare, homeownership, and wealth-building opportunities to promote economic mobility. We have an imperative to get this right, for our kids, for our neighborhoods, and for us all. 

I am holding those we’ve lost and their families close to my heart and recommitting myself to the struggle for a safer and more just city and state.

Commends Passage of Uniting for Peace

January 31, 2024

CHICAGO – 20th District State Senate candidate Graciela Guzmán issues the following statement to commend the City Council’s passage of Ald. Rossana Rodríguez Sánchez’s resolution in support of calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and calling on the President to take action to ensure a lasting peace in the region.

Speaking up makes a difference. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I don’t need someone to convince me of that. I’ve lived struggles that many thought were hopeless and yet were sustained and advanced through solidarity and advocacy, through people coming together to speak as one in expression of their values.

I’m proud that the city of Chicago stands with peace and justice. I’m so thankful to Ald. Rodriguez Sanchez and Ald. LaSpata for their hard work and solidarity to craft a call for peace that takes care to acknowledge the harm so many communities have faced, and bring people together in a call for action.

Our advocacy and our solidarity does not end here. We must continue to organize – in solidarity with people across the region – In hopes of a lasting peace.

Ceasefire Statement

January 17, 2024

CHICAGO – 20th District State Senate candidate Graciela Guzmán issues the following statement in support of the calls for a ceasefire in Gaza by Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, and State Representative Will Guzzardi; and in support of Ald. Rossana Rodríguez Sánchez’s resolution calling on the President to take action to ensure a lasting peace in the region.

“Above all, I want to acknowledge the grief and frustration that we’re all feeling given the recent violence in the Middle East. So many of us and our communities still grapple with so much loss. I want us all to hold space for that pain and to sit with it – to let it help us foster understanding and a spirit of reconciliation and peace.

We must not cease to condemn the cruel attacks on October 7, the hateful targeting of Jews in Israel and around the world, and we must not stop calling for the immediate return of hostages by Hamas.

We also cannot stand by silently as the tally of Palestinian homes burned, and innocent lives lost rises and rises – all in service of what goals?

Every day this violence continues leads to more and more scars that will persist for generations, further harming the prospects of a lasting peace.

Alongside those reflections, we must acknowledge this country’s role in helping facilitate peace and we must keep pushing our government to act. This is why I support Alderwoman Rodríguez Sánchez’s Ceasefire Resolution and call on others to do the same.

Alderwoman Rodríguez Sánchez’s resolution clearly acknowledges the tragic loss of life, it clearly condemns the targeting of civilians and it acknowledges the immediate need for a ceasefire, not just for its own sake, but for the countless lives it will save by allowing critical humanitarian aid to reach areas where it is needed the most.

I am hopeful that we can come together to support this resolution and continue the fight for peace and justice for all those affected.”

Resolution Text: