Monday, August 22, 2005

John Sullivan takes on Chicago's Royal Families-- Lipinskis, Daleys, Madigans and Hyneses--on TV

John Sullivan: She wanted to get tutoring for that student, and all I could tell her was there was not enough funds to do it. That’s all we could tell her. So, what are we going to do? Are we going to take money away from the public schools?

Jeff Berkowitz: Give her the eleven thousand dollars that she’s getting now [in the form of in-kind expenditures for a failing school]. Let her go to a private school.

John Sullivan: Take money away from the public schools to do that?

Berkowitz: I can’t believe you don’t want to do that.
Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” features 3rd Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary candidate John Sullivan [D-Chicago], who is taking on 3rd CD Cong. Dan Lipinski, the freshman congressman and son of Bill Lipinski, the former 22 year congressman from the 3rd Cong. Dist. The show airs throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] tonight at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.
See here for more about the topics covered in tonight’s show, John Sullivan's background and a partial transcript of the show and see here for another partial transcript of tonight’s show.
Yet another partial transcript of tonight’s show in the City of Chicago with 3rd Cong. Dist. candidate John Sullivan is included below.
You can reach John Sullivan at

Jeff Berkowitz: Education. School vouchers. Bill Lipinski supported that. [Cong.] Dan Lipinski supports school vouchers, school choice. What do you say?

John Sullivan: I think-

Berkowitz: Give people some choice over where they send their kids to school-

John Sullivan: You know, I’m not in favor of school vouchers.

Berkowitz: You’re not? You went to a parochial school [and your mother taught in a parochial school]. Your parents exercised choice, and you don’t want to give people of lower income, of lower means-- the same kind of choice?

John Sullivan: I think we can do more to help people with, uh, with-- especially lower middle class people and middle class people to give them breaks.

Berkowitz: Well, right now-- We spend, in the City of Chicago [public schools], eleven thousand dollars, per kid, per year. Take that eleven thousand dollars and give it to-- forty percent of your constituents live in the city of Chicago—let them choose how to spend that eleven thousand dollars. You are saying you can do something more? Let those people go-

John Sullivan: I’m saying-

Berkowitz: Excuse me, if they want to stay in the public schools, they can stay there. If they want to go, let them go. You went [exited the public schools], and you don’t want them to have that choice?

John Sullivan: [What] I’m saying is, the education system-- we cannot draw, we cannot take away funding from the public school system in this country. We can’t do it. We don’t have enough funding for the public school system, as it is.

Berkowitz: I’m talking about the kids. If two hundred fifty thousand kids go out [of the public school system], half the money goes out. They [the public schools] still have [half] the funds [left] to educate half the kids. Why is that wrong? Do you care about the kids in the public schools, or do you care about the public schools?

John Sullivan: It’s not that easy. I care about the kids in the public schools. Obviously, Obviously.

Berkowitz: Well, then, give them that choice.

John Sullivan: No, but here’s the problem.

Berkowitz: You had the choice and you don’t want to give them the choice?

John Sullivan: Right now, I’m on my local school board [local school council] and there is a-- there is a mother [who] came with her child the other day to one of our [LSC] meetings-- and said her child could not read and he’s in the third grade, and she wanted to get tutoring for that-

Berkowitz: Is she in a public school?

John Sullivan: Yes.

Berkowitz: Well, then—let that kid go, let him go to a private school.

John Sullivan: She wanted to get tutoring for that student, and all I could tell her was there was not enough funds to do it. That’s all we could tell her.
So, what are we going to do? Are we going to take money away from the public schools?

Berkowitz: Give her the eleven thousand dollars that she’s getting now [in the form of in-kind expenditures for a failing school]. Let her go to a private school.

John Sullivan: Take money away from the public schools to do that?

Berkowitz: I can’t believe you don’t want to do that.

John Sullivan: I’m not in favor of taking money away from the public schools.

Berkowitz: What about the kids in the public schools? Here’s a mother whose kid is not learning how to read [in the public schools].

John Sullivan: We need to do more to help the students [in the public schools].

Berkowitz: So, would you say-- is it a Judeo-Christian-Islam ethic now [in the U. S.]? It used to be Judeo-Christian ethic?

John Sullivan: Uh, yeah, like I said, I think as long as, as long as everybody has a chance to display what they believe.

Berkowitz: Equal chance.

John Sullivan: Yes. Absolutely.

Berkowitz: Gays. Where are you on that, would you, you, in general, would you support bans on discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and employment?

John Sullivan: Yes, I would. I believe that no one should be discriminated against in this country, the United States of America. We need to move beyond that.

Berkowitz: What about Gays in the military? You differ with [Cong.]Dan Lipinski, you think gays should be in the military?

John Sullivan: Well, I think, yes. That gays have a right to serve in the military. I think the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the most part, has worked. I think Dan Lipinski, so far, has said he doesn’t believe in that policy and he believes that gays should not be allowed to serve in the military.

Berkowitz: Following in his father’s footsteps on that-- Bill Lipinski took the same position, Dan is following in that?

John Sullivan: Uh, I’m not sure.

Berkowitz: You think, you think he is not representing the district? If you looked at that district, you’d say the third congressional district would agree with you, is that what you’re saying?

John Sullivan: Well, I’m saying--

Berkowitz: Gays should be allowed…Or, just that that’s your view?

John Sullivan: In a time of war, when people are willing to stand up and serve and go and serve our country, we shouldn’t be asking them whether or not they’re gay and having that be the determination of whether they can go and fight and defend our country.

Berkowitz: Same sex marriage. Do you favor that?

John Sullivan: Ah, I favor civil unions.

Berkowitz: Why? You said you were against discrimination. Why not [permit same sex marriage]?
I mean, [not to permit that] isn’t that discrimination? Why would two gays or two lesbians not be allowed to marry? You know, isn’t that imposing somebody’s religious views on them. When you’re saying [you support] civil unions, you know, why isn’t the state, why wouldn’t you say that the state should say if they want to marry, they can marry.

John Sullivan: I believe that civil unions are [Inaudible]. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s my personal belief.

Berkowitz: And you think that government though should-- not only should it be your personal belief-- you think that government should make that the rule of the land, the law of the land?

John Sullivan: Well I think that mostly-- that’s an issue that should be left up to the states, but yes, I think that you know, like I said, I believe that marriage-

Berkowitz: Would you support the Defense of Marriage Act, then?

John Sullivan: The Defense of Marriage Act? I-

Berkowitz: Yeah. At the congressional level.

John Sullivan: Yeah. I’d have to look at the, uh, specifics of it.

Berkowitz: Would you support a constitutional amendment that would ban, uh, marriage between gays and lesbians? Same sex marriage.

John Sullivan: No.


Berkowitz: You wouldn’t. What about the war? Big issue?

John Sullivan: The war is absolutely a big issue. It’s probably one of the biggest issues facing our, our country today.

Berkowitz: [Cong.] Dan Lipinski said he wouldn’t have voted to, ah, you know, authorize the President to take military action in the fall of 2002. If he had been there. You agree with Dan?

John Sullivan: I do agree with Dan Lipinski on that. I would not have voted for the authorization of war in Iraq.
John Sullivan: …[W]hat I will say is… our motives were supposed to be to find weapons of mass destruction. And we find they weren’t [there].

Berkowitz: And, we [the United States Government] thought there were [WMD]. And, the French thought they were there, the Germans thought they were there. Everybody thought there were weapons of mass destruction, not just the U. S.

John Sullivan: That’s fine. Even with that though, even considering that, I don’t believe we should have gone in there. I think Saddam Hussein was contained

Berkowitz: But right now- What would you do? Would you do what we’re doing now, or would you do something differently now?

John Sullivan: Would I do what we’re doing now?

Berkowitz: Yeah. Right now there’s a government emerging, there have been elections, there’s likely to be [an Iraqi] Constitution, and the United States government says that what it’s trying to do is provide sufficient security to allow that country to get off the ground. We won’t set a timetable to withdraw troops, thinking that would help the insurgents. Do you disagree with that?

John Sullivan: I don’t disagree with that

Berkowitz: What’s the biggest issue that you see that’s going to come at you if you do run in the third congressional district?

John Sullivan: I think the biggest issue facing our country in the 3rd congressional district is healthcare. Healthcare has spiraled out of control in this country.

Berkowitz: What would you do? What kind of legislation would you like to see and would you sponsor?

John Sullivan: I would sponsor and would like to see national reform of the entire healthcare system, which would provide healthcare for every single American in this country.

Berkowitz: Would you like to see a single payer system? Make the government the only buyer and then parcel it [Healthcare] out?

John Sullivan: I don’t know that the single payer system is the best way to go. What I’ve looked at is-- the National Coalition on Healthcare has come out with four different scenarios in which-- we could ensure that every American has health insurance. One of those is the single payer system, but that’s not the only one. There’s other private and public partnerships that are involved-- uh, or that could be involved in reaching, insuring the forty six million that aren’t insured out there.

Berkowitz: What’s Dan Lipinski doing on that? Congressman Dan.

John Sullivan: Dan Lipinski thinks, well- at least the bill he’s proposed so far with Republicans is to give people a pretax savings account that they can put money into for healthcare.

Berkowitz: Medical savings accounts. Give them a little control. You think that’s a bad idea.

John Sullivan: Look, I think it’s not going to work.

Berkowitz: Why is it not going to work?

John Sullivan: To tell somebody that doesn’t have healthcare that they can put three thousand dollars into a savings account to cover a hospital stay-- that would probably eat that up in one day.

Berkowitz: Well, for the people who do have healthcare. It’s another way of giving people a little more control and also an incentive to use their expenditures wisely, because if they actually don’t use that, it accumulates into the next year, and eventually it could be part of their own wealth. You would agree with that, wouldn’t you?

John Sullivan: Well, what we need to look at is there are forty-six million people in this country without healthcare. There are eight point seven million children--

Berkowitz: Wouldn’t people choose to do that? Some of them choose to do that because they’re young and they’re healthy and they think, “This isn’t a sensible expenditure.”

John Sullivan: Well, I think people-

Berkowitz: Do you think there are some people who maybe do that?

John Sullivan: I, you know, I think everybody would have healthcare if they could afford it.

Berkowitz: Well, if it were a zero [price], but some people don’t find the price attractive-- and make a rational decision, perhaps [not to purchase it].

John Sullivan: Well, I, I. Who can afford it anymore? I mean that’s really the problem.
John Sullivan, Democratic candidate in the 3rd Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary, recorded on August 7, 2005 and as is airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs tonight, August 22 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Transcript drafts prepared by Amy Allen, who also does research for “Public Affairs,” and has her own political blog [See here].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at