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Jeremy Karpen launches 2010 campaign criticizing Berrios and Gambling

Mr. Jeremy Karpen officially launched his 2010 campaign for 39th state representative last night, at Cole’s Bar in Logan Square. The Green Party event featured local musicians, and highlighted Mr. Karpen’s message of universal healthcare, affordable housing, and full funding for education and social services.

Mr. Karpen ran for the same office in 2008, taking 21% of the vote. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, working as a therapist for troubled youth at a residential treatment center in Chicago. Mr. Karpen also volunteers his time as a Partner Abuse Intervention Facilitator at a local domestic violence agency.

“The 2008 election ended almost 10 months ago. And for almost 10 months, people have been asking me if I’m running again in 2010,” said Karpen. “The answer is yes. I still believe health care, education, and affordable housing are human rights. Toni Berrios and Springfield continue to push gambling on our communities instead of helping people.”

The incumbent, Ms. Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios, receives thousands of dollars every election cycle from casinos, race tracks, and gambling interests. Her father, Mr. Joseph Berrios, is simultaneously chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, Commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review, and a paid lobbyist for the Illinois Coin  Machine Operators Association, one of the largest pro-gambling outfits in Illinois. Ms. Berrios sits on committees and votes on bills that potentially benefit her dad’s clients, including the recently passed Video Gaming Act.

Mr. Karpen finds Ms. Berrios’ personal connection to the gambling legislation particularly troubling. “It’s highly unlikely that Ms. Berrios is going to provide the kind of independent and principled leadership people are looking for,” says Karpen.

Mr. Karpen argues that he’s not only independent and principled, but offers real solutions, and is willing to fight for them. He’s been an activist in the community, marching with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association last year during their attempt to secure funding for supportive housing. He collaborates with Chicago Single-Payer Action
Network and Logan Square Neighbors for Peace and Justice on healthcare and human rights issues. And he’s a strong advocate for the income-property tax swap.

“A child’s education shouldn’t be dependent on the value of his parent’s home,” says Karpen. “I said that two years ago, and it’s even worse in our current housing crisis. More education funding must come from a statewide progressive income tax.”

The Illinois Green Party received major party status after the 2006 election, in which Rich Whitney took 10.5% of the vote for Governor. Mr. Karpen is excited about the current campaign, and looks forward to growing the party, while giving voters an alternative to Springfield politics.

“The response from people in the neighborhood has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Karpen. “Living and working in the community is a wonderful experience, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to represent it.

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