DIXON -- Meeting with supporters in Riverfront Park on Sunday, Congressional candidate Dani Brzozowski told them that she has built a career out of helping people and wanted to run for the US House in the Illinois 16th District after seeing how things that were hard economically for her family when she was growing up were getting harder for everyone.
The stop, as well as one in Oregon, were part of a tour of outdoor events for the Democrat challenging Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, in November.
"We are obviously campaigning during a pandemic, largely in isolation, and wanted to make sure that we get as many opportunities as possible for voters to interact with me directly," Brzozowski said. "I think accessibility is tremendously important and, though that has been a challenge, I think this park tour has given us an opportunity to rise to that challenge and give people a safe, socially distant [event]."
In a wide-ranging discussion with voters in Dixon, Brzozowski mentioned how growing up in a military family helped hone her sense of community. Her father is a Gulf War veteran who served in the Army for 25 years. She herself grew up on military bases before her family settled in La Salle.
She also called out reported comments by Donald Trump referring to service members killed in World War I as "losers" and "suckers," according to anonymous sources.
Kinzinger on Friday called out the use of anonymous sources, but also said, in a statement posted on Twitter, "the recent reports about comments made by President Trump regarding our fallen service members is deeply concerning, and has left me speechless. This is either the most heinous hit job on a President, or the most heinous comments made by a President."
Brzozowski on Sunday called out Trump, but also called out Kinzinger for that response, saying "I think Kinzinger's inability to wholly condemn those comments, that he would question their veracity, we don't need to pretend, we have a president who has done some ill-advised, some gross things, not just over the course of the administration, but the campaign preceding it and the course of a lengthy career in the public eye. We know that the president of the United States of America says gross stuff. It's not news. Kinzinger shouldn't be surprised by it... That kind of tacit defense of the president is inexcusable, particularly inexcusable on this topic."
One of the central policies of her campaign has become campaign finance reform, specifically calling out the Citizen's United ruling from 2010 which allowed corporate spending on elections. She called for banning Super PACs, the groups that campaign often on behalf of a candidate using money from corporations, as well as dark money, money raised with no identifiable source. She also is calling for publicly-financed campaigns in order to avoid situations where a candidate can reel in big-money donations.
"Big money in politics has so significantly corrupted the integrity of our democracy that it really is barely recognizable as such," she said. "I evaluate every policy against a set of values, and the big one here, the chief value, is does this restore power to people or does it take it away, and campaign finance reform universally restores power to people."
Another change she hopes to see in the political process is making things easier to actually get people to the polls.
She told supporters she feels there needs to be a change in mindset to make younger people feel there is a responsibility, not just a right, to vote.
"I'm for anything that increases access to voting," she said. "I think the more people we have participating in the electoral process the better. It's more democratic the more people we have actually turning out to vote."
Brzozowski said she is hopeful the change in demographics in the Illinois 16th will lead to better results for her than those seen by Sara Dady, the Democratic Party nominee in 2018 who garnered 40.9% of the vote in her bid to unseat Kinzinger.