Chicago Tribune: Marie Newman sworn in as newest House member from Chicago region. Next up, joining Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Squad’?
By: Bill Ruthhart and Rick Pearson
La Grange businesswoman Marie Newman took the oath of office Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol to become the Chicago area’s newest member of Congress.
Newman, 56, now represents Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District, which includes portions of the Southwest Side, southwest suburban Cook County and northeastern Will County. The progressive easily won election in November after defeating 16-year incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski in the March primary.
Newman posted a message on social media noting her Washington office was open and said “it’s time to get to work.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, the state’s senior senator, was sworn into a fifth term on Sunday. The No. 2 ranking Democrat in the chamber’s leadership said he was honored by the opportunity to continue to serve.
“The last four years did not break America, but revealed what was already broken,” Durbin said in a statement. “In this new Congress, I call on my colleagues to come together to help heal some of the painful wounds of our nation’s past and together create a better, more just, more prosperous America for all.”
In defeating Lipinski, Newman put an end to the family’s 45-year political reign on the Southwest Side, starting with family patriarch William O. Lipinski’s tenure as 23rd Ward alderman in 1975. The elder Lipinski served 22 years in Congress before clearing the way for his son Dan to win the seat in 2004.
With Newman, the district will feature a decidedly more progressive voice after years of being represented by one of the most socially conservative Democrats in Congress.
Lipinski was one of the few remaining Democrats in the House opposed to abortion. He voted against Obamacare and the DREAM Act to protect young immigrants living in this country illegally — positions that Newman contended were out of step with the district.
Newman has drawn support from some of the nation’s leading progressives, including Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Ocasio-Cortez said she would be expanding her famed four-member “Squad” of progressive House members to include Newman and fellow Illinois U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, along with a handful of other lawmakers.
Newman favors a transition to “Medicare for All,” backs the Green New Deal, supports abortion rights and has called for citizenship for “Dreamers.” Her bid against Lipinski drew national attention, small-dollar donations from around the country and support from EMILYs List, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, MoveOn.org and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
After narrowly losing to Lipinski in the 2018 primary, Newman prevailed on her second attempt, winning 47.3% of the vote to 44.6% for Lipinski. Her margins in the suburbs carried her to victory over Lipinski, who performed better in precincts on the Southwest Side that remain home to large numbers of city workers and union laborers.
The Lipinskis long had specialized on transportation issues and bringing infrastructure funding back to the district, which includes Midway Airport and the most railroad crossings of any district in America. The district has had a seat on the House Transportation Committee as long as it has existed, and that tradition will continue as Newman also will have an assignment on the panel.
Newman, a onetime ad agency partner, marketing executive, author and anti-bullying advocate, joins Mary Miller as the two new members in the Illinois delegation for the 117th Congress.
Miller, a farmer from Downstate Oakland, won a heavily Republican seat, and she replaces 24-year retiring U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville. Miller is the first Republican woman to represent Illinois in Congress since Judy Biggert was defeated by U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in 2013.
With Newman and Miller, the state’s 18-member delegation now includes six women, including Democrats Robin Kelly of Matteson, Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, Lauren Underwood of Naperville and Cheri Bustos of Moline. Newman and Miller become the 19th and 20th women in the state’s history to represent Illinois in Congress dating to the 1920s, according to state records.
Illinois has 13 Democrats and five Republicans in the House.