About the Candidate
Name: Kina Collins
DOB: March 8, 1991
Occupation: Healthcare and gun violence prevention advocate
Political Experience: I have a proven track record of policy making, coalition building, and working with communities to improve public health and safety. In 2017, when the Trump administration eliminated an Obama era policy attacking the civil rights of women and girls I co-authored and helped pass House Bill 5544-IL Council on Women and Girls Act into law. I am nationally recognized for my healthcare and gun violence prevention advocacy work.
I am native of the Austin neighborhood with a proven track record of policy making, coalition building, and working with communities to improve public health and safety.
My experience living in Austin makes me the only candidate in this race who deals with the everyday economic realities of marginalized communities all across the country. I have vowed to stay in the Austin community when I win because I believe those closest to the pain, should be closest to the power.
For over 20 years the interest of working families has been sold off to luxury real estate developers, big banks, and for profit healthcare corporations. And for 20 years our cost of living has risen, healthcare has become more expensive, and our incomes are staying the same.
I am proud to run a campaign that will not accept a single penny from corporations. Instead I am running a campaign that champions and advances improved and expanded medicare for all, tuition free public college, and fighting for a future free of gun violence.
The Illinois 7th district is the most democratic district in all of Illinois and currently sits as the 5th most democratic district in the nation. Our district should be serving as a national model on how to successfully advocate and push for comprehensive progressive agendas.
Instead we currently hold the largest life expectancy gap in the country and are responsible for 28% of all gun violence in the state of Illinois.
In a district that is 85% Democrat, overwhelmingly working class, and nearly 70% people of color, Illinois 7th deserves a working class champion. I am an organizer, a public policy expert, a survivor of everyday gun violence, and a daughter to this district.
I am the best candidate for this position because my campaign offers transparency, accountability to the voters, and the ability to push forth a true equity agenda for the many, not just the wealthy few.
Why are you running?
In Illinois 7th district, there is a stark contrast between the more affluent neighborhoods that have been invested in and the communities of black and brown families where we see a high percentage of childhood asthma, food deserts with lack of fresh produce, and some areas that have higher levels of lead in the water than Flint, Michigan. As the only candidate in this race running from a marginalized community I believe I can speak to the economic realities of working class Americans all across this country. This race is about a return of representative democracy and putting forth an equity agenda that works for the many not just the privileged few.
What is your vision for this office?
The Illinois 7th district is the most democratic district in all of Illinois and currently sits as the 5th most democratic district in the entire country. Our district should be serving as a national model on how to successfully advocate and push for comprehensive progressive agendas.
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
Gun Violence Prevention - I have seen firsthand the mental, physical, and long-term health issues that friends and family have struggled with after a shooting. After witnessing a shooting in front of my house at the age of 7, I have made gun violence prevention a core component of my fight for social justice. Gun violence is a public health epidemic, particularly in the IL-07 district which contains some of the neighborhoods with the highest homicide rates in Chicago. In Congress, I will push for critical investments to be made in trauma-informed education, mental health services, and advocate for increases in flexible funding to support innovative solutions to gun violence in our local communities.
Health Care Reform and Medicare for All - Before deciding to run for office, I was a national organizer for Physicians for a National Health Program, advocating across the country for a single-payer Medicare for All system. Recent reports have shown that there are drastically lower life expectancy rates in some of the neighborhoods in IL-07, and large health care disparities from the richest to the poorest. Of the five worst hospitals in Illinois, three of them are in the district. The incumbent has failed to address the health concerns of his constituents, and this is a core pillar of my campaign. This is not just a policy or political issue, it is a moral issue that needs to be seriously addressed in Congress to prevent people from needlessly dying because
they can’t afford their prescriptions and insurance co-payments.
Criminal Justice Reform and Police Accountability - The current criminal justice system targets communities of color, upholds institutional racism, and profits off of the mass incarceration of black and brown people. Along with other activists leaders, I have spoken out against state-sanctioned violence and led successful efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable, as was seen in Chicago when Officer Van Dyke was found guilty of murdering Laquan McDonald. We see systemic failures at all levels of the justice system, especially locally - when the Chicago Police Department only has a homicide solve rate of 17 percent, the families and community members who live in high crime neighborhoods like Austin have no faith that the police will actually stop the shooters. The most important actions we can take to improve public safety for everyone in the district is to go beyond resistance and towards implementing solutions. I support policies and programs that improve community interactions in the district and ensure accountability at all levels of the justice system.