Jeremy Karpen is running for Illinois State Assembly in the 39th District, which covers Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. Karpen first ran against incumbent Toni Berrios, the daughter of gambling lobbyist and Chicago Democratic machine insider Joseph Berrios, in 2008, earning 21% of the vote despite being massively outspent. This year, Karpen's strong grassroots campaign and commitment to clean, progressive politics have earned him endorsements from Independent Voters of Illinois, Chicago Progressive Democrats of America, and the Chicago Tribune.
In endorsing Karpen, the Chicago Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America called him “an advocate for single payer health care” and proclaimed that he would be “the progressive voice in the Illinois General Assembly”.
The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Karpen over Berrios in 2008, but the Chicago Tribune endorsement was unexpected, since the Tribune had previously sided with Berrios. This year, the Tribune called Berrios a “loyal soldier siding with entrenched power in Springfield” and agreed with Karpen's statement that his election would “shake the foundation of the political machine”. The Huffington Post reported on the game-changing endorsement:
“'This one would be a big story, being able to win against the daughter of Joe Berrios, who is a symbol of the Democratic machine and everything that is wrong with the machine,' Karpen said.
In 2008, Karpen won 21 percent of the vote against Berrios in the same race. This time around, though, he's raised more money, organized more volunteers and is co-ordinating his campaign with Green Party candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.
And with the endorsement from the Tribune, the unlikely Green Party candidate is heading into October with momentum at his back.”
Jeremy Karpen works as a therapist with at-risk boys and their families. He described his motivation for running in an interview with HuffPost Chicago: “Rather than being a janitor cleaning up the failings of the state, I'd like to be working on a legislative level, so when you give a referral to a family, you're making sure there actually is a mental health clinic, there is a hospital you can go to.” Karpen's platform calls for affordable housing, fully-funded schools, single-payer health care, affordable housing, and cleaning up Illinois' notoriously dirty politics. His campaign is funded entirely from individual contributions, while his opponent is busy shaking down her father's cronies and corporate interests. From the Huffington Post:
“Berrios has over $100,000 in her campaign coffers, donated from pharmaceutical PACs (she's the chair of the Biotech Committee), downtown lawyers (many of whom lobby her father about property taxes at the Board of Review), and a massive contribution from Joe Berrios himself. Karpen sends email blasts trying to scrounge up enough for his next mailer.”
A Green win against a corporate-sponsored Chicago machine insider would be a win for all progressives. Karpen needs money to get his message to voters and pull off an upset. Learn more about Jeremy Karpen's campaign and how you can help.