SHELBYVILLE — Brock Hammond, 20, of Shelbyville, is a new precinct committeeman of the Shelby County Democratic Party. He’s been involved with the organization since 2016.
“I interned for the present comptroller Susana Mendoza,” Hammond said. “It was a really, really nice experience.”
Hammond said he was looking for a way to get involved in the election in 2016 and was the only intern from the area for Mendoza.
After the internship with Mendoza, he joined the Illinois Victory, an organization that supports democrats up and down the ballot, he said.
“Democrats are focused on healthcare, the economy, medicare, social security,” Hammond said.
He said that is what democrats are fighting for, especially a strong economy for the people in U.S.
Hammond said at the time of the founding of the U.S., there were so many stipulations to voting. Voters had to have been white male landowners.
“This is a right that has been long fought for, and really this is the way that people in a democracy actually do their part,” he said.
The U.S. has public officials who do their job, and voting is the job of the citizens, Hammond said.
“I had serious concerns prior to (President Donald Trump’s) election, and I still have serious concerns about this president,” Hammond said.
Hammond supported Hillary Clinton, and his opinion on Trump has not changed since the president was elected, he said.
“I have serious concerns about the impact of his trade wars on agriculture, especially on our rural communities,” Hammond said. “I have disagreed with several of (Trump’s) policies.”
He said Trump made a lot of promises to the agricultural community.
Trump claimed he was going to be there for farmers and rural communities, Hammond said.
“Essentially, a policy initiated by him is damaging to the farm community, and now he has to try to make up for some of the losses,” he said.
The Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010 by former president Barack Obama.
Hammond said this act was definitely a step in the right direction.
“Millions of people that wouldn’t have otherwise been insured, became insured,” he said. “Pre-existing conditions were covered, people could stay on their parents’ healthcare until age 26, and both of those things I think both republicans and democrats probably would agree on.”
The work is not done with the Affordable Care act, Hammond said, a lot of people are still not insured.
“Just to repeal everything without any solid replacement is not a good idea,” he said.
Hammond said the issue of education has been a hot topic, especially funding.
The Monetary Award Program provides grants, which do not need repaid, to Illinois students attending Illinois schools who. The grants are given to students demonstrating financial need, based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“Things we really need to be looking at is the MAP Grant,” Hammond said.
It is so important to so many college students, he said.
Hammond recalls when he first enrolled at Eastern Illinois University, he was unable to receive the MAP grant due to Governor Rauner “holding it hostage.”
Along with the issue of the MAP grant, Hammond said teachers are underpaid for what they do, and it needs to change.
“I think that what democrats are wanting to do is support our teachers… For what they are paid, they have to essentially fund their classrooms,” he said.
So many American students go to public schools, and citizens must do everything they can to make sure those schools and teachers have the tools they need for success, Hammond said.
J.B. Pritzker, democratic candidate for Illinois Governor, is being accused of wanting to tax every mile Illinois drivers will drive, Hammond said, which is simply not true.
This has been proposed in the past, but democrats such as Illinois State Senator Andy Manar have taken a stance against this, he said.
Hammond said Pritzker is also being attacked on the issue of a progressive tax, where the common folk will pay less and the wealthier will pay more.
This is beneficial to the middle class, he said.
“(Pritzker) has always been a strong advocate for education, especially early education,” Hammond said. “I’m confident in his commitment to education.”
The issue of mental health is also another topic Pritzker has discussed. He shared the following tweet Sept. 10 of this year:
“Mental health care is always something that should be prioritized. On #WorldSuicidePreventionDay let’s recognize the life-saving resources that help raise awareness of warning signs and assist people struggling. No one needs to suffer alone.”
Hammond said he is happy Pritzker is committed to helping mental health related issues, as it affects so many people.
“I am supporting J.B. Pritzker for governor,” he concluded.
Kevin Gaither is the a democratic congressional candidate for the Illinois’ 15th district.
“I’ve known Kevin for a couple of years. I know that he has been traveling all over the 15th district. He’s been meeting hundreds of voters, and that’s a small estimate,” Hammond said. “He’s been all over the district talking to people of all walks of life. That’s something that we haven’t seen in this district for quite some time, is somebody who is on the ground, pounding the pavement, getting out there talking to people, listening to what really affects them.”
Gaither was asked by the Shelby County Democratic Party to speak at their annual fundraiser Saturday Oct. 13, he said.
“I feel very confident about Kevin, ” Hammond said.
Beth Musser is running for Shelby County treasurer, and has worked in the treasurer’s office for 19 years.
“She knows the ins and outs of this job,” Hammond said. “Beth would have absolutely no problem going (into) the job.”
He said he feels Musser is the most qualified candidate and also thinks she can handle the responsibility of taking care of the county’s money.
Gina Vonderheide is the current Shelby County state’s attorney, and Hammond said she would be a great resident circuit judge.
“She’s fair, she has integrity, she’s ready,” he said.
Jessica Fox is running again for Shelby County clerk, and Don Koonce is running for Shelby County sheriff.
“They’re just so many good candidates on the ballot this year … good democratic candidates, I mean,” Hammond said.
“It’s not just about saying we have a duty or whatever, it’s about our state, it’s about our community, it’s about our county, it’s about our country,” he said. “I’m voting in November, well probably early voting, because I believe people like J.B. Pritzker and Kevin Gaither….. they have the right vision for our state, our country, our district.”
October 7, 2018 at 12:05AM