Over the past 8 months in office, Representative Hoan Huynh has proudly served our neighbors and communities in Illinois’ 13th District. In the State House, he has advocated and fought for his constituents and for everyone to have safety and meaningful opportunity.
Representative Huynh has fought for legislation to support the working and middle class by investing in our local businesses and teachers, expand healthcare coverage, create more affordable housing and build new pathways to home ownership, build a green economy with new good-paying jobs, fight to end gun violence, and protect our children.
Covid-19 caused economic difficulties for millions of Americans and many in the Illinois 13th State District, which includes important business corridors in our neighborhoods of Uptown, Ravenswood, Andersonville, Lincoln Square, and Lake View. Businesses have shut down, evictions have run rampant, and essential workers in every field from healthcare to food service and transportation remain underpaid. We must do better, and the state government has an important role to play.
In the State Legislature, Representative Hoan Huynh has fought for:
- Small businesses, including allocating $10 million to fund a “one-stop business portal” to support entrepreneurship
- Benefits and legal protections for workers
- Better pay and protections for caregivers, including a $24 million rate increase for home workers who assist senior citizens
- Expanded workforce development programs for industries of the future such as electric vehicles, clean energy, and data and technology infrastructure
- Additional funding to support a pilot program to fill teacher vacancies
Representative Hoan Huynh has also fought for paid family and medical leave for all employees, because no one should be choosing between a job and supporting their family.
My mother came from a single-mother household. I was raised by strong women, who worked in factories. Full equality for women is long overdue and I am committed to passing legislation that eliminates the systemic barriers that reinforce inequality.
We need to make equal pay for equal work a reality. Today, for every dollar that a man makes, a woman earns just 79 cents, and the gap is far higher for women of color – Black women only earn 62 cents and Latina women earn 54 cents. Representative Huynh has supported legislation to provide more transparency from employers responsible for pay discrimination between men and women.
More than 2.9 million women left the U.S. labor workforce since February 2020 during this pandemic. Working women often took on care-taker roles and family responsibilities. Representative Huynh has advocated for policy to support robust paid family and medical leave, and a statewide public option for childcare to allow women the ability to work and provide for their families.
Every woman should a right to choose and should have complete bodily autonomy in the U.S., in addition to access to contraceptives of their choosing.
As the devastating ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has now overturned 49 years of settled law granting women the right to an abortion, it is a crisis moment for the nation and for Illinois. A woman’s right to choice is currently protected in Illinois, but more has been done. As State Rep of IL 13th District, Representative Huynh has fought to:
-Enact laws to protect not just our citizens but anyone coming here to receive reproductive health care full protection from other states anti-abortion laws, with allocating $18 million in new funding to support reproductive healthcare access.
-Durable funding to ensure access to culturally sensitive reproductive health care and abortion providers in our black and brown, immigrant, and other vulnerable & underserved communities, with expanded language access.
I believe that women have the right to control their own bodies and that government, other than protecting and expanding that right, should stay out of it.
Despite some gains in recent decades, more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ Americans still face discrimination in their everyday lives and the number rises to more than 4 in 5 for transgender individuals. Our community is home to many LGBTQ+ individuals. Recognizing that members of the LGBTQ+ community are four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes, we must do more to ensure that all of our neighbors feel safe and accepted.
That is why Representative Huynh supports all efforts to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in employment, credit, education, and housing, and build up the LGBTQ+ community, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. When we look at other states around us, we see laws in process or passed to remove the rights of transgender youth to gender-affirming care or label it as child abuse. There are also states that are considering removing the right to healthcare for any trans person. It is critical that we make Illinois a sanctuary state for those seeking refuge from other states’ anti-trans laws. In the State House, Representative Huynh has:
- Supported taking away overly restrictive ID change laws in Illinois, so that individuals are acknowledged by our government and are able to live authentically;
- Built laws to ensure that gender-affirming care is available to everyone in Illinois;
- Worked with state and local partners and stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of laws and policies that allow transgender people to experience dignity and safety in their everyday lives.
- Advocated for a faster rollout of the state’s third gender option on driver licenses and identification cards;
- Allocated further funding for mental healthcare services to address higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicides in transgender youth; and
- Fought to increase resources available for community groups and organizations that work with and for transgender people and transgender youth that don’t have supportive families
Our state has a fast-growing senior population. Almost 1 in 6 Illinoisans is 60 or older. All senior citizens deserve to live in dignity after retirement and everyone with a disability needs security. The 13th House District has one of the largest concentration of senior citizens in Illinois.
No senior should have to choose between paying for their prescription drugs over their rent. Representative Huynh has fought tirelessly for legislation to support our seniors by:
- Fighting to allocate $408 million for the Community Care Program which helps senior citizens remain in their homes through in-home and community-based services
- Supporting a $24 million rate increase for home workers who assist our seniors, and an increase in Adult Day Services for our seniors
- Pushing for $8 million to continue to meet the demands for the Home-Delivered Meals Program for our homebound seniors across the state
- Updating our senior care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities to meet the needs of our growing senior population;
- Reduced backlog of low-income seniors and Illinoisans with disabilities who are unable to receive in-home services by investing in our caregiver workforce with increased pay and benefits; and
- Ensured that medication is affordable and combatting price gouging on prescription drugs
- Freezing property tax increases for our seniors
Healthcare is a human right. I have seen relatives struggle to afford healthcare and friends set up fundraising pages to cover medical expenses after a tragic accident to cover surgeries. No patient should get sicker because they can’t afford to go to the hospital or go into debt to pay their hospital bills. No doctor should have to haggle with an insurance adjuster about the costs of life-saving drugs for a patient. No parent should have to choose between paying for their child’s medical costs over their rent.
I support Medicare for All at the federal level, but we cannot allow Washington dysfunction to excuse a lack of imagination in Springfield. Not while people are dying from overinflated costs. Single payer systems reduce overall costs, remove insurance agents from the medical decision making process, and reduce the time doctors and other health professionals must spend doing billing-related paperwork.
Representative Huynh supported the creation of a state-based health insurance exchange, which will allow Illinois residents to buy individual and family health insurance plans. In addition, Representative Huynh supports setting a target of providing every resident with comprehensive healthcare, including dental, vision, hearing, reproductive care, long-term care services, within the next ten years. Doing so would elevate Illinois as a magnet for businesses and talent across every industry.
We need climate justice, not just climate action. Illinois must take the national lead in green technology and infrastructure. We must invest now in the transition away from our fossil fuels and put an immediate freeze on permit approvals on fossil fuel projects.
As we invest in a new future, we must recognize the systemic harm that toxic materials, waste dumping, and fossil fuels have had on low-income communities of color. Neighborhoods and communities who suffered from toxic air quality and other environmental contaminations from dirty fuel sources should be first in line to receive the benefits of our green revolution.
Building a green economy in Illinois would create new jobs and new opportunities for sustainable prosperity. State Representative Huynh has worked to bring new jobs and industries to the 13th district and create programs to provide job training for at-risk communities in green technology to create more employment opportunities.
State Representative Hoan Huynh has a 100% voting record when it comes to fighting climate change, protecting our environment and open spaces, and ensuring the environmental resilience of our communities.
Public Safety & Gun Violence Prevention
Every one of us needs to feel safe in our neighborhoods and communities. Over 1,000 homicides occurred in Cook County in 2021. More than 250 kids have been victims of gunfire in Chicago, the youngest, a 1-month-old baby. We need action now to protect our families and children from senseless violence.
State Representative Hoan Huynh has fought to increase $250 million in funding for the Reimagine Public Safety Act to prevent gun violence and provide funding for community-based violence intervention programs and address underlying issues that are contributing to gun violence such as lack of opportunity, hate crimes, and mental health. The state must also make sure that there is accountability for violent crimes that harm our children and families. The violence and crime that has plagued Chicago in recent years is the tragic result of poverty, economic desperation, and systemic issues with policing.
There is a lot of work to be done with mass incarceration and criminal injustice in Illinois. Representative Huynh supports legislation to hold police officers accountable and require better training for police members. At the same time, we need to reduce the burden on officers. Too often they are called to respond to emergency situations when other trained professionals should be called – a system that has led to the criminalization of mental health issues. This has resulted in a dangerous mental health crisis in our prisons.
The Cook County Jail has housed more individuals suffering from mental health illness than the population of any psychiatric hospital for years and is one of the largest mental health facilities in the country. But Cook County Jail is not equipped, staffed, or trained to handle such cases.
I support innovative programs that focus on criminal diversion of those who have mental health issues. I will push for resources to be invested in a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) – a voluntary division of the police patrol that trains officers on intervention tactics to help those suffering from mental illness. I will defend and expand external measures to investigate police-civilian conflicts, including complaints against officers. Creating better oversight and accountability for every officer will allow the great officers to rise to the top and create a safer environment.
Affordable Housing and Houselessness
Housing is a human right, and every person deserves housing that is clean, safe, and affordable. When affordable housing is unavailable, it is impossible for our neighbors and loved ones to save for and invest in their future. It often means that entire households live daily with the immense anxiety caused by living paycheck to paycheck. For many, outsized housing costs mean folks cannot meet other basic needs like adequate healthcare and food purchases. In the most acute cases, unaffordable housing leads directly to homelessness.
Homelessness is the symptom of systemic injustices in our city and state: lack of affordable housing, a failed healthcare system, domestic violence, untreated mental health, addiction disorders, and many other sudden or unforeseen circumstances. This issue is dear to my heart – my mother experienced homelessness at one point, and I have been involved with housing organizations in Uptown.
To address this problem, Representative Huynh fought to:
- Allocate more than $350 million to support homelessness prevention, affordable housing, community outreach and holistic services to support those experiencing homelessness
- Include an additional $85 million in new funding and innovation to support the state’s goal of reaching functional zero homelessness
- Allocated more than $40.7 million to emergency transitional housing and homelessness prevention programs
- Invest in innovative housing models, allowing Chicagoans to earn homeownership, and ensure that Chicago remains an affordable place to live, work, and raise a family!
Transportation and Infrastructure
We need to invest in our infrastructure system. We must invest in our roads, railways, technology systems, and public transportation systems with clean energy.
Representative Huynh has advocated for bold investments to ensure equitable transportation and transit in our communities, clean energy sources, and adequate emergency responses and innovation by:
- Expanding Chicago’s public transportation options in low-income areas
- Continuing to push for existing trains and buses to run on clean energy and reduce gas emissions;
- Closing the digital divide and bringing broadband access to all households in the 13th District
Mental Health and Addiction
Chicago has a mental health and addiction crisis. Covid-19 caused stress, worry, and trauma to nearly every individual in our communities and state. Drug-related deaths and those battling substance use disorders in Illinois has increased. Suicide rates have risen among our young people and returning Veterans.
So many Chicagoans are in need of mental health services and treatment, but do not have access or cannot afford care. We need to protect our loved ones, neighbors, and communities by ensuring everyone can get the treatment they need.
Representative Huynh has advocated for a comprehensive plan that will revolutionize mental health and substance use treatment in our communities, and Illinois by:
- Defending and expanding our current mental health and addiction treatment centers. Funding for these centers continues to be cut, while the need increases. We need to ensure that everyone can access resources and treatment;
- Fought to allocate $53.5 million to overhaul our public health disease monitoring infrastructure and prepare for future public health emergencies
- Providing emergency funding for mental health providers to deal with the mental health fallout from Covid-19;
- Expanding telemedicine and suicide prevention services. Telemedicine has been integral to mental health medicine during the pandemic and is a great option to allow people a convenient option for care.
- Allocating additional resources to our mental health clinics to make them available to our most vulnerable neighbors
As a Vietnam War refugee, I am the beneficiary of a K-12 public education that gave me the foundational tools I needed to excel in life. Public schools can and should be hubs in our community where learning is celebrated and valued. Unfortunately, public schools in Chicago have been chronically underfunded for decades. Too often, our children are being left behind, and teachers and parents are not getting the resources they need.
Our students face poverty, violence, homelessness, and mental health issues outside of school, and during this Covid-19 pandemic. I will push for comprehensive legislation that makes our public schools not only better funded but ensures that funding is used to benefit all aspects of students’ lives.
To address this, Representative Huynh has:
- Fought to allocate $250 million to fund the first year of Smart Start Illinois, as a way to eliminate preschool deserts and expand early intervention programs for our students
- Supported the inclusion of $350 million for K-12 evidence-based funding formula
- Advocated and pushed into the state’s fiscal year budget an extra $45 million to fund the first year of a three-year pilot program to develop our teachers workforce pipeline and fill outstanding vacancies in our schools
- Expanded $100 million increase to the statewide Monetary Award Program grant funding to ensure that all students have access to a college education
As a refugee, I believe that no human being is illegal and I will always support legislation that protects undocumented immigrants and their families. I see the immigrants at our borders and know all they want is the same safety my family found in America – the safety that so many of our ancestors sought here.
Representative Huynh has fought to make Illinois a more welcoming place for immigrants by advocating for immigrant inclusion policies, starting with providing additional resources for skilled job training, language and mental health resources, for newly arrived individuals.
Representative Huynh has allocated additional resources to community non-profit organizations that would help immigrants navigate and apply for public benefits, receive legal assistance, apply for permanent residence, and access educational initiatives.
The CDC estimates that 61 million adults in America are living with a disability – that’s nearly one in four adults. Despite their large numbers, this group of people is consistently treated unfairly and inhumanely by public policies at every level of government.
Representative Huynh has worked with disability rights activists to fight for individuals with disabilities to receive equitable treatment. To this end, Representative Huynh has fought for a $7.5 million increase in funding for home modifications that will allow individuals with disabilities to stay in their homes, while having the state resources to modify their homes to assist their daily living.
Representative Huynh has also been a vocal supporter to ban minimum wage exemptions for people living with disabilities, fighting to bring Illinois in line with states like Alaska, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington that have acted to end this practice, ensuring individuals with disabilities are able to make a fair wage. Disability rights are human rights and with Covid-19 set to become one of the largest mass disabling events in history, there has never been a more important time to act to protect this community.
Build Safer Streets
In our city streets, we see a rise in pedestrian deaths, and especially alarming is that many of the victims are young children. There is no reason for pedestrian deaths to be occurring in our neighborhoods, and as part of the greening of our transportation infrastructure, we propose to overhaul the way that traffic moves about our cities.
Representative Huynh has fought for more funding for safe, protected bike lanes, more greenways, and extensive traffic calming measures on the roads in our state. He has allocated additional resources to support and renovate our neighborhoods’ pedestrian plazas, passed legislation to increase more visible traffic and road signage to protect our families, and proposed innovative legislation to eliminate traffic fatalities, with Vision Zero traffic deaths.
This is integral to making people want to be outside walking, shopping at small businesses, and talking with each other, and will help us to keep building strong community bonds in our neighborhoods.