PRINCETON — Voices from the Prairie has invited all congressional candidates of all parties running in Illinois’ 16th U.S. District to attend local meetings and address the members and guests before the March primary.
On Saturday, candidates Jason Haskell, a Republican from Peru, and Neill Mohammad, a Democrat from DeKalb, spoke to the Princeton-based group and discussed their platforms. Those in attendance then had the opportunity to ask the candidates questions.
Visits from additional candidates will be announced as they are scheduled.
However, on Sunday, Haskell announced on Facebook that he would not run for office this spring. He wrote that he had enough signatures but chose not to file his nominating petitions in Springfield.
Haskell said on Facebook: “Thank you all for everything! It was an extremely hard decision to make, but it is the right one! I hate letting so many of you down, but it just isn’t the right time for me or my family!”
As for Saturday’s event, Mohammad first gave some of his background.
He was born in New Ulm, Minn., and moved to DeKalb when he was 4 years old. His mother worked as a secretary at Northern Illinois University, and his father immigrated to the United States from Pakistan, then became an American citizen while putting himself through college.
Mohammad started college at Northern Illinois University and finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in political science with minor concentration in computer science.
Mohammad said: “I earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. While I was at Michigan, I taught classes in statistics, research, international politics, and American foreign policy. Now I work as a health care management consultant, where I partner with hospitals all across the country to improve the quality and cost of patient care.”
Mohammad said he decided to run for office last year after the presidential election. He said, “Nothing will change unless we, in the grassroots, start making the changes.”
Mohammad said that some of the biggest challenges facing the 16th District are economic opportunity and health care. He also said that climate changes are a challenge since the district is reliant on agriculture.
Health care is a right, Mohammad said. He feels that we are paying more each year and getting less, and that a universal system such as Medicare would benefit all.
“The facts are indisputable,” Mohammad said. “Medicare works. It’s put the brakes on the skyrocketing cost of patient care better than any private insurer. Medicare led the way in promoting the adoption of electronic medical records, which cuts down on physician error and gives patients the tools to understand their treatment plans. And Medicare is leading the charge for value-based payments, where hospitals and health systems get paid based on long-term quality rather than the volume of procedures done.”
Mohammad said he feels that the government has an important role in regulating climate change. He says that only government has the ability to make the changes that are needed.
“Decades of inaction by politicians have put us into a crisis situation,” he said. “It’s no longer a question of avoiding a radical change in global climate in the future, but dealing with a problem that’s on our doorstep.”
To learn more about Mohammad, visit his Facebook page “Neill for Illinois” or his website, www.neillforillinois.com.
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