Mahnoor Ahmad

Candidate for US House - 6th District

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

To put the people first! I was born in the small city of Quetta in Pakistan, where my parents spoke Balochi and Farsi. Despite their different languages, they shared a common dream: the American Dream. They instilled in me the belief in an American dream rooted not in towering buildings and vast fortunes, but in Thomas Jefferson's vision of equality and opportunity for all. When we came to America, my parents, both doctors, brought with them a legacy of service to others. As a child, I did my homework in my father's office, watching him care for patients, even when they couldn't afford treatment. I dreamed of continuing his noble legacy and carrying on my father's tradition of serving people when I entered healthcare in public health. However, I was so disheartened by the way healthcare actually works in our country: profits come first, and people second. This dysfunction is not just in healthcare but in many aspects of people's lives in America. The rules have been changed to benefit the rich, corporate, and well-connected and to work against regular people. There’s a growing wealth inequality, the climate crisis, the wars, and human rights not respected, as in Gaza. We cannot support a genocide because it benefits politicians.The people in this district and our nation want a ceasefire. Our campaign is driven and funded to serve the people. When elected, I will fight for the people and put people first.

Our system is designed to prioritize profits, placing insurance and pharmaceutical companies in control. This has led to a staggering 85 million uninsured Americans, despite us spending double the amount on healthcare compared to other modernized nations. Shockingly, the average annual healthcare expenditure per person is $13,000, yet our life expectancy lags. Mental health care is woefully inadequate.

My personal experiences have been a testament to this broken system. During my pregnancy, I struggled to find the specialized care I needed in one of the nation's largest medical districts. Recently, when I took my son for a routine vaccination, I was turned away because of reimbursement concerns. Witnessing people lose limbs due to uncontrolled diabetes, simply because they couldn't afford care, has been heart-wrenching.

The solution is clear: every American deserves comprehensive, accessible healthcare without the burden of cost or paperwork. We can achieve this through a single-payer system and by negotiating drug prices. Healthcare is not a privilege for the few; it is a fundamental right for all.

But our challenges extend beyond healthcare. We face growing wealth inequality, a climate crisis threatening our planet, unending wars, and human rights violations. It is outrageous that our government supports policies leading to genocide in Gaza for the benefit of political donors, against the wishes of our district and our nation.

My campaign is fueled by the people and dedicated to serving them. When elected, I will always put people first, always listen to the district, and never sell my campaign to be a puppet for corporations. To love this country means more than just singing its praises and turning away from hard truths; it means being uncomfortable at times. It means being the occasional disruptor. It means to speak out against injustice, and to challenge the status quo when it falls short. This is the essence of America—the belief that we can always do better, and we have the political courage to make it happen. I will fight tirelessly for the rights and well-being of every individual in our district.

How has your district been impacted by the migrant crisis and what do you think should be done?

When we speak of migrants and immigration, we are not merely discussing policies; we are talking about the very essence of our nation—families, communities, and the shared dreams that have shaped America. Yet, for far too long, our immigration system has been a broken promise, tearing families apart and leaving millions in a state of uncertainty. In my district, which encompasses a part of southwestern Chicago and its suburbs, we are witnessing firsthand the impact of this broken system, with some suburbs receiving buses of migrants from the border. While Chicago provides shelter to immigrants, it also bears the strain on public resources.

Allow me to share a deeply troubling story. I know an individual who arrived in this country when he was just 6 years old, accompanied by his single mother. Despite his deep knowledge of politics and his unwavering dedication to various senate campaigns, he is unable to vote. This is unacceptable. He is one of the most informed and engaged individuals I know, and we need his voice in our democracy.

I, too, arrived in this country at a young age, and unlike him, I now hold American citizenship. It is deeply unjust that he still grapples with the complexities of his immigration status. We cannot stand by a system that denies someone like him the full rights and privileges of citizenship. His story is but one example of the countless individuals who contribute to our communities and our nation yet are denied the same opportunities.

The truth is, the U.S. economy benefits immensely from both legal and undocumented immigrants. Even though some are undocumented, they contribute significantly to our economy. Undocumented immigrants contribute billions in taxes annually, funding essential programs that benefit all Americans. It is a testament to their commitment to this nation, even when the system fails to recognize their contributions.

We need an immigration policy that is not only just but also compassionate—one that acknowledges the immense contributions of immigrants to our society. As an immigrant myself, I understand the challenges and triumphs of building a new life in a new land. I have seen firsthand the resilience and strength of immigrant communities, and I firmly believe that our nation is stronger when we embrace diversity.

We must also address border security in a manner that respects human rights. We need security measures that prioritize the safety of all individuals without resorting to military tactics that sow fear and division. Border security should be implemented with compassion and efficiency, ensuring that those seeking refuge are treated with dignity and respect. Let us forge a system that honors the dignity of every person and ensures that America remains a beacon of hope and opportunity for all who seek to call it home.

What do you think immigration reform in Congress should look like?

I believe that we can achieve border security without turning it into a military zone, while also treating migrants with the respect and consideration we would want for our own ancestors when they arrived here. It is crucial that we halt deportations while the appeals process is ongoing and stop deporting individuals with no criminal record. Additionally, we can establish a path to citizenship for those who have been living here for years, contributing to our economy and society.

When it comes to immigration reform in Congress, we need a system that is fair, humane, and reflects the values of our country. That means creating a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, providing protections for DACA recipients, and ending the inhumane treatment of immigrants at our borders.

We must also address the root causes of migration by investing in diplomacy and foreign aid to address poverty, violence, and instability in the countries that many immigrants are fleeing. It's not just about securing our borders; it's about addressing the underlying issues that drive people to leave their homes in search of a better life.

In Congress, we have a responsibility to pass comprehensive immigration reform that reflects our values as a nation of immigrants. It's time to treat immigrants with the dignity and respect they deserve and create a fair and just immigration system for all. 

How important is bipartisanship to you and what issues have you worked on across the aisle or with people who don't uniformly share your beliefs?

Bipartisanship is not just a political strategy for me; it's a fundamental belief that we must find common ground to tackle the significant challenges facing our nation. Despite my strong progressive values, I will actively collaborated with Republicans on issues where there is potential for agreement, believing that our shared goals are more important than our political differences.

Additionally, I've will partner with Republicans on crucial matters related to criminal justice reform. Our current system is in dire need of reform, particularly regarding mass incarceration and the war on drugs. I will collaborate with colleagues across the aisle to pass legislation aimed at addressing these issues and striving for a more equitable and just criminal justice system.

While there are undeniable differences between Democrats and Republicans, I firmly believe that there are numerous areas where we can find common ground and work together for the betterment of all Americans. I approach these collaborations with an open mind, valuing the diverse perspectives that different parties bring to the table.

At the end of the day, we all pledge allegiance to the stars and red and white stripes. It isn't about being a blue or red American; it's about being part of the United States of America. Despite the efforts of cynics to divide us, we must remember that there is no White America, Black America, Latino America, or Asian America—there is only the United States of America. When we work together, we are stronger and more united than ever before.

What action, if any, do you want to see next on abortion access after the Dobbs decision?

After the Dobbs decision, the urgency to protect and expand abortion access has never been more critical. This ruling threatens to dismantle the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which has been a cornerstone of reproductive rights for decades. To combat this looming threat, I stand firmly in support of 5efforts to codify the right to abortion into federal law. This is not just about preserving a legal precedent; it's about ensuring that individuals across the nation can access safe and legal abortion care without facing insurmountable obstacles.

We cannot ignore the systemic barriers that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. Restrictive state laws and limited access to reproductive healthcare services have created a landscape where accessing abortion care is increasingly difficult for many. It is our duty to dismantle these barriers and create a more equitable healthcare system—one that respects and protects the reproductive autonomy of every individual.

I firmly believe that access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare should be recognized as a fundamental right for all Americans, regardless of their geographical location. This includes ensuring universal access to birth control and family planning services, which have been proven to significantly reduce unintended pregnancies and, by extension, the need for abortions. Additionally, we must bolster our support for families by advocating for affordable childcare, paid family leave, and other social services. These measures not only empower individuals to make informed reproductive choices but also create an environment where raising a family is more feasible and where every person can pursue the path that best suits their life and circumstances.

As a woman who has lived these experiences and has had a child, I understand the profound depth of what it means to make decisions about reproductive healthcare. These choices are deeply personal and should be made with access to comprehensive information and resources. It is my mission to ensure that every person has the freedom to make these decisions based on their own circumstances, free from judgment or unnecessary obstacles.

At its core, this is about more than just legal battles; it's about safeguarding the bodily autonomy and well-being of every individual. It's about ensuring that reproductive choices are not dictated by geography or circumstance but are instead informed by compassion, understanding, and the fundamental rights of every person.

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