Monday, January 9, 2012

Ray Lodato For Congress Press Release

[Ed. note: Ray Lodato lives in Hyde Park. The incumbent for the 1st Congressional District of Illinois is Bobby Rush. The other candidates can be found here.]

For Immediate Release           
January 7, 2012                                                  
Contact: Irene Sherr

South Side Political Activist Ray Lodato Announces Candidacy
For 1st Congressional District Seat

(Chicago, January 7, 2012)— Kicking off “a grass-roots campaign for 21st Century leadership that looks forward, not backward,” South Side community activist and political scientist Ray Lodato has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the First Congressional District. 

Lodato is calling for policies that will create jobs in the district, which will have a positive impact on many of the problems that affect families in the cities and suburbs of the First District.  The District has an unemployment rate of 13.9%, which is a key factor in the high rate of home foreclosures and puts pressure on local governments to provide emergency assistance. Lodato favors policies to increase the demand for clean energy as a way to create 21st Century jobs for the First District.  A recent report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center that listed dozens of clean energy fifrms in the Chicagoland area that are poised to add jobs. “There’s no reason that the First District should have to import our green technology from California, Germany or China,” Lodato says.  “As Congressman, I’ll sponsor legislation that will call for greater use of clean energy, increasing the demand for green technology and creating jobs for our residents.”

Lodato also calls for a commitment to education excellence that will benefit all children.  “Equality of education is a necessity if we are to prepare our children for jobs in the economy of the future,” Lodato says.  “We have to find effective solutions that involve parents, teachers and communities together to meet the needs of all students.  Providing jobs for our citizens will improve educational outcomes by stabilizing families and improving the tax base for funding our schools, but we need to make sure that our schools have adequate resources to provide a well-rounded education for all children.”

Another pillar of his jobs strategy is Lodato’s call for building high-speed rail lines to link Chicago to nine other major Midwestern cities.  “We need to invest in the transportation of tomorrow, which will provide jobs today,” Lodato says. “By investing in high-speed rail, we are reclaiming Chicago’s historic position as the transportation hub of America, and creating jobs that cannot be outsourced.  Many of these lines will go through the First District and will provide jobs for our residents.”

Lodato brings nearly three decades of community activism to his run for Congress.  He is a past Chair of the Local School Council at William H. Ray Elementary School in Hyde Park, and he is a recipient of the Edwin Astrin Volunteer Award from the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), a leading bipartisan political reform organization in the state.  Lodato also served on the board of the IVI-IPO for over ten years, and on the board of the former Blue Gargoyle youth services organization as well.  He has campaigned for several independent, reform-oriented politicians, such as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, and Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward, Chicago).  Lodato worked for nearly ten years for the City of Chicago, serving on the staffs of Preckwinkle, Hairston, and former Alderman Larry Bloom (5th Ward, Chicago). 

While earning his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago, Lodato co-founded a community organization, the Neighborhood Conservation Corps, which focused on giving individuals from public housing developments jobs and jobs skill training in order to enable them to transition to the mainstream economy and skilled labor positions.  Lodato is married and has three sons.  His campaign website is, and his Facebook page is Ray Lodato for Congress.

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