Arthur Siegel was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from New Trier High School in 1988 and attended Santa Barbara City College, Landmark College and San Francisco City College. His father was a mechanical engineer and owned a construction company in Chicago from the 1948 until 1977 when he passed from a heart attack, leaving behind his 7 year old son Arthur, 10 year old daughter, his second wife and two adult daughters from his first marriage. Arthur's father built the recently torn down Western/Belmont bridge, the Gypsum building, US Steel building in Gary, the US Post Office on Wabash, parts of the Chicago subway system and many other industrial buildings in and around the Chicago area.
In the last 25 years Arthur has been a musician, artist, auto mechanic, truck driver and carpenter. He started his first business in 1992, Janitorial Services, with a squeegee and some gumption. It was located in San Francisco, California and it soon turned into a lucrative full time job. Simultaneously he played drums in local bands in the Bay area. In 1997 his band went on the road and he took a job as a drum tech on his off time. His music business experience led him to open a drum shop in Berkeley, California. During that time he worked with local schools to develop music programs and put instruments into the hands of school kids. In 2010 he moved back to his home city of Chicago and started a handyman company.
Arthur was inspired by the campaign of Bernie Sanders' call to action and is running as an independent for Illinois state representative of the 14th district.
He will fight for fair treatment of all people regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. He wants a living wage, clean energy, campaign finance reform, access to higher education for all, better schools and plans to sponsor legislation to make health care affordable.
My candidacy is inspired by the great citizens of Illinois who feel their voices are not being fairly represented by either party because of partisan politics. I don’t have allegiances to Republicans or Democrats; rather my allegiances are to the constituents of the 14th District. As a small business owner, I have seen many lifelong Illinoisans leave our state because of the corruption, lack of communication, and lack of compromise that has been created by our current General Assembly. Our citizens are being held hostage by this politicking, and my goal is to open a line of communication to serve the interests of the people.
We are in a crisis. A crisis where small tent cities have emerged under Lake Shore Drive because people do not have access to services that will help them get back on their feet. A crisis where students at Chicago Public Schools are unable to take textbooks home to study because the schools can’t provide textbooks for each child. A crisis where MAP grants are being covered through reserve funds of colleges and universities so all young adults have the opportunity to get an education and lead successful lives. A crisis where it is easier to obtain an illegal firearm or an ounce of heroin than it is to recall the Governor.
We need to mitigate this crisis. The citizens of Illinois deserve better. Cutting services is not the answer. Opening charter schools to compete with public schools is not the answer. Forcing colleges and universities to deplete reserve funds is not the answer. And completely ignoring the Governor is not the answer. The answer is simple: construct a General Assembly that works. One that works for the destitute. One that works for the middle class. And one that works for our children. I hope to be a part of that new beginning for Illinois.
Every day that passes without a budget and without consistently paying the bills, Illinois goes further and further into debt. Citizens are already overburdened with higher prices on goods and services, paying higher taxes, and yet getting only modest cost of living increases in their professional lives. We need to create new forms of revenue to dig us out of the red and put us into the black. We should tax pharmaceutical companies for publishing advertisements in both print and on television. In 2014, drug companies spent $4.5 billion marketing their products (Washington Post). Between 2009 and 2014, Pfizer’s advertising budget for Viagra more than doubled to $232 million for one product (Washington Post). Taxing these commercials will create a new revenue stream and make it possible for social services to go back to their original budgets before this fiasco began. Additionally, we should consider not only decriminalizing marijuana, but legalizing it for recreational use. In 2015, Colorado brought in $135 million (Boston Globe). Tourism and small businesses have increased in Colorado. 53% of voters in Colorado believe that legalizing marijuana was beneficial (Boston Globe). The General Assembly needs to develop creative solutions to our problem; not to rest on one’s laurels and do nothing. That is not what the people of Illinois hired them to do.
It is because of this crisis that I feel compelled to run for office. I see people struggling every day and want to help them. I want to help Illinois regain her dignity.
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