A self-described “problem solver,” U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski has a problem on his hands.
It’s the staunch challenge set forth by newcomer Marie Newman, who on March 20 hopes to wrest away the Democratic nomination from the longtime congressman representing the 3rd District.
Some polls have shown the two running very close to one another. Others have shown Lipinski leading. He thinks experience will prevail.
“I’m someone who stands apart in Washington because I’m not a show horse, not someone who likes to throw around insults and make promises I don’t keep,” Lipinski said in a phone interview from his office there.
“I’m a problem-solver who brings people together. That has enabled me to deliver for the district, bringing back more than $375 million in federal funds for transportation projects, and I’ve been able to pass legislation to boost manufacturing jobs here,” he added.
The winner of the March 20 primary is expected to easily win the November election over the Republican candidate Art Jones.
Asked about the often-bitter campaign, Lipinski said: “Illinois is second in order for primaries and that brought attention to my race because it’s one of the first (to be voted on).”
Lipinski said some of Newman’s “proposals are very vague and it is hard to know what she means.”
He refuted Newman’s charges that he opposes a woman’s right to choose, that he’s against gay marriage, and opposes Planned Parenthood.
“Ten years ago, I voted to extend federal hate crimes legislation to sexual orientation. I voted to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ The Supreme Court has determined marriage equality is the law of the land and I’m not doing anything to undo that. However, I’ll make sure we protect religious liberty and people’s beliefs,” he said.
“I don’t believe federal funding should go to help pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood is the No. 1 abortion provider in the country. This does not mean I don’t support contraception,” he said.
At a recent candidate forum, several Newman supporters had posters accusing Lipinski of being a “Democrat in name only.” He called it “a desperate attempt.”
“I’m a Democrat because I think government has an important role to play in helping people out. The most important thing people want is to have the opportunity to have a good-paying job with good benefits. And that I what I have stood for. That’s been my No. 1 priority,” Lipinski said.
The Illinois AFL/CIO has endorsed him along with more than 30 other unions, he said.
He noted that he opposed President Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“And I opposed his tax bill. I have stood up against the Republican policies when it’s been most important.”
Newman represents the “Tea Party of the Left,” he said, adding, “Some want extreme liberals to take over the Democratic Party and that’s bad for the party and bad for the country.”
First on his agenda if re-elected is helping immigrants brought here illegally as children by their parents “get a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.”
He also hopes to reduce costs of the Affordable Care Act, and address infrastructure issues in the district.
Lipinski said he “enjoys helping people out,” noting that his father, former U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski, often told him said that was the key for elected officials.
“I feel I can still make a difference,” he added.