RACE: U.S. House - 3rd District

About the Candidate

Name: Juan Enrique Aguirre
DOB: March 9, 1996
Occupation: Registered Nurse
Political Experience: None
Instagram: Juan AguirreForCongress

Candidate Statement

While studying at the University of Michigan School of nursing, I learned about “Community as a Client” concept. I focused on my home during this project, the City of Chicago. To assess Chicago, I synthesized research regarding government and politics, housing, transportation, income, poverty rates, education level, and community resources, to name a few. The 5-step nursing process that is used in patient care is the exact same process used when treating a community: assessment, diagnosing, planning, intervention, and evaluation. In September 2019 I made a diagnosis: the city lacks affordable and nutritious food options, it lacks affordable housing, and it lacks safety–in other words, our streets are plagued with violent crime. Food, housing, and safety are human beings’ most fundamental and basic needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Despite the advocacy work of everyday folks like you and me, these needs remain unfilled in every community in the United States, including the 3rd district of Illinois.

This is how the community is treated as a client - as nurses, we have a responsibility to advocate for the needs of the community in the same way we advocate for the needs of our patients.

As a congressman, I will intervene and transform the 3rd district into a healthy community, which includes characteristics such as: status as a food oasis, access to reliable and affordable transportation, access to affordable housing, access to high-quality healthcare systems, access to a level 1 certified trauma center, access to high performing public education schools, low levels of poverty, low levels of homelessness, low levels of violent crime, low rates of chronic conditions, trust between law enforcement and the community, and access to jobs that pay a living wage with benefits such as profit sharing.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

I am running so the people have an opportunity to vote out the corrupt establishment democrats. I am running to give the people an opportunity to elect an independent thinker who has the ability to work hand in hand with his Republican colleagues. The GOP will surely take control of Congress following the 2022 midterm elections. My opponents who hold office have showcased time and time again that they are unable to work with those who hold differing viewpoints. This one-sided, my way or the highway, type of attitude will get nothing done for our district in a Republican controlled House of Representatives.

What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?

This office is rife with corruption, as evidenced by The House Ethics committee’s investigation into the bribe this district’s incumbent gave to one of my opponents in exchange for his agreement not to run against her in the 2020 election. It is a shame what the Democrats, led by Michael Madigan, have done to our great state. In the great state Illinois, quid-pro-quos have replaced honest civic duty. Every single night, before I go to sleep, I pray to God that the Justice Department holds more bad actors accountable for using our federal, state, and local governments as a criminal enterprise.

Although I am running as a Democrat, I am the anti-establishment candidate. Although I am running as a Democrat, I am the anti-corruption candidate. And although I am running as a Democrat, Once elected, I will work in good faith with all of my colleagues , no matter their political party, to secure vital resources for the constituents of the 3rd congressional district. When republicans take control of congress, this district will not have its concerns addressed unless the people make a bold choice to send a man to D.C. who has a track record of working as a humble servant of the community. While working on the frontlines of the pandemic, I rolled up my sleeves and provided life-saving care to all people and treated them with the utmost respect and dignity. I treated patients of every race, creed and color, from war veterans, to teachers, to daycare workers, to children, to healthcare heroes, to police officers, to politicians on both sides of the aisle, to community organizers who demand structural reforms at every level of government.

During our country’s darkest times, I patiently listened to their concerns, answered their questions, and provided them with a little bit of joy through my charisma and upbeat attitude. While serving this great country as a clinical leader in the fight against COVID-19, I learned how to connect on a personal level with hurting folks from all walks of life. As our country moves into a post-pandemic era, we need to elect politicians who are a veterans of the war on COVID-19, because they intimately know the needs of our struggling communities. While fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic, I learned that Congress needs a representative who will create jobs and opportunities for all Americans, instead of a congressman who will only create opportunities for his rich, powerful, and connected friends.

What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic human necessities are food, housing, and safety. These needs are unfulfilled in our low-income communities due to the fact that worker’s wages have remained stagnant over the last half-century, while the cost of living and inflation continue to skyrocket. I grew up in a low-income household, where our family relied on food stamps, Medicaid, and the Salvation Army to buy clothes, so I know this struggle all too well. It is an injustice that we live in the richest country in the world, while many of us bear the trauma of struggling to make ends meet. Our community needs high paying entry level jobs now, especially for our low-income constituents. As a congressional candidate, I am facilitating the opening of profit-sharing adult-use cannabis dispensaries in this district to solve this age-old issue.

My company, The Yard Illinois, won an adult-use dispensary license in Illinois' 1st cannabis lottery, held in July 2021. Our application scored a 93%, and received a perfect score on the community benefits plan, which included a dedication to profit sharing. We defined profit-sharing as a fixed percentage of profits dedicated to the employees and to community-based organizations.

On Tuesday, March 15th, the Illinois department of financial and professional regulation announced that the next round of licensing would open in the summer or fall of 2022. At least 55 dispensary licenses will be handed down through a lottery, the same format as the first round of licensing.

Consequently, On Wednesday, March 16th, my investment group announced the launch of The Social Equity Incubator, a program designed to cover the application and legal fees for Illinoisans who would like to apply for their own profit-sharing Dispensary in the state's next round. The profit-sharing investors group is not taking an economic interest in these applications. Instead, we are simply eliminating the financial barrier to entry for qualifying social equity applicants to try their luck in the state’s next cannabis licensing lottery. We require our incubator participants to sign a community benefits agreement (CBA) to dedicate a fixed percentage of their profits to the community and/or their workers, hence the name "Profit-Sharing Investors' Group."

Since launching this incubator, we’ve already identified 88 qualifying social equity applicants to assist in the 2nd round. Interested applicants can contact us at [email protected].

Once elected, I will secure federal funding to revamp underperforming high schools in the district. Federal funding will be used to offer vocational training for both students and their parents in the evenings after normal school hours. The vocational training courses will afford public school students and their parents with the opportunity to learn valuable skills and trades, such as welding, construction, manufacturing, plumbing, practical nursing, boilermaking, film editing, camera operations, web development, coding, drafting for the architecture and engineering fields, wind turbine maintenance, mechanics, HVAC maintenance, automotive mechanics, cultivation science, cannabinoid manufacturing, and retail operations, to name a few. A portion of the federal funds will be used to offer monetary incentives for parents to co-enroll in the same vocational training courses as their child. Co-enrollment will facilitate co-studying at home for these valuable money-making skills.

What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?

I will hold fireside chats on instagram and Facebook live Monday through Friday to keep my constituents updated on the work I am doing for them in Washington D.C. I will also host a town hall every single Saturday and Sunday evening before my flight back to D.C.. Our fist Saturday town hall will be hosted in the western half of the district, while the first Sunday town hall will be hosted in the eastern half of the district. We will rotate Saturday and Sundays between the east and the west to allow constituents without reliable access to transportation equal opportunities to attend. For our constituents who would like to physically attend but still face transportation barriers, we will arrange shuttle busses to pick up and drop off folks from their front doorstep. We will also broadcast every town hall on Instagram and Facebook live, as well as zoom.

In addition to making myself virtually and physically available as often as possible, I will hire social workers, community health workers trained in violence prevention, remediation facilitators, psychiatric and public health nurses, as well as financial advisors to work in my district offices 7 days week. These staff members will provide wrap around services and linkages to care for the constituents of the 3rd congressional district. Together, we will make the 3rd district of Illinois Strong Again. We will make the 3rd district of Illinois Safe Again. And we will make the 3rd district of Illinois Great Again! May god bless you, and may god bless these United States of America.