Junaid Ahmed: 2022 candidate for 8th Congressional District

  • Junaid Ahmed

    Junaid Ahmed

Updated 5/31/2022 9:38 AM


Party: Democrat


Office sought: U.S. House, 8th District

City: South Barrington

Age: 47

Occupation: Small business owner

Previous offices held: N/A


What needs to be done to get Congress to work constructively, whether that be senators and representatives of both parties working with each other or Congress itself working with the president?

Please pardon my bluntness, but I'm ashamed to say that only catastrophic events have united Ds and Rs in recent years. Think 9/11, the '08 market crashes, and pandemic relief.

A system that only works during crises is no system at all.

Rather than co-govern, both parties (especially the Rs) prefer to attack one another in hopes of gaining full control of Washington -- deluding themselves into thinking that once in power, they'll get things done. But (with rare exceptions) NOTHING EVER GETS DONE.

Meaning, most politicians spend more time in an endless cycle of raising money for reelection than actually passing policies. (Take Raja. Sure, he has $13 million in the bank, but did that help him pass BBB?) D.C. is stuck in a vicious cycle, and I'm running to fix it so politicians spend more time solving problems than raising money. We do that with campaign finance reform, term limits, and by engaging voters in the political system every day -- not just when we need their votes or money.

What is your position on changing voter access?

If you're a politician who wants to limit voter access, you're basically saying that voters either dislike you so much or think your policies are so awful that you cannot win an election without putting your thumb on the scale.

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2020 taught us so much: baking isn't as difficult as we thought; 2 pints of ice cream are better than 1; we are ignoring the needs of older Americans, and expanding voter access increases participation among both Ds and Rs. Let's not be fooled by the rhetoric surrounding the election, expanded access didn't cause Trump to lose. He lost because he failed this country every day for 4 years, and his response to the pandemic was the final straw for many Americans.

I support automatic, online, and same-day voter reg; expanded early voting, more polling locations, extended polling hours, mail-in-voting; and relaxing ID restrictions. Let's make Election Day a holiday that every American wants to participate in so politicians spend more time winning votes than blocking them.

Do you recognize that the election of Joe Biden as president in 2020 was legitimate and fair? If not, why?

Yes. Full stop.

What, if anything, should Congress do to prevent another violent attack such as the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol?

The January 6th Commission is working to uncover the actions that ignited the assault on the Capitol, and their report will include recommendations for preventing future attacks.

But let's be clear. There is little they can report that will solve the crisis of conscience we face. That attack was a symptom of a broken political system that thrives on division and dysfunction.


Some campaign (at some point) has probably purchased your data. So let me ask you: how many emails do you receive saying unless you send money RIGHT NOW, the bad guy (the other party or candidate) will take away everything you care about?

Politicians try to raise money by feeding division and hate. And Trump does it better than any of us.

And, yep, we do raise money ... to what end? To gain power in Washington? That power hasn't yet gotten us immigration reform, Build Back Better, or a solution to the climate crisis.

Friends, the system in DC is broken. We have to fix it. We cannot let this division stand.

What do you consider America's role in world affairs? In particular, what should our role be regarding current points of tension involving Russia/Ukraine, the future of Taiwan or other threats of Chinese expansionism and the Middle East?

No, it's not our job to fix every problem in every country. But some problems are too big for any one country to fix alone.

When we stand up for a rules-based global order (looking at you, Russia); when we defend the rights of global workers (looking at you, China); when we push back against authoritarian regimes, and stand by our friends in times of crisis, we help steer the world in a direction in which AMERICANS STAND TO THRIVE.

But we're in a foreign policy rut if you haven't noticed. American influence around the world is no longer guaranteed. And If we do not act soon, our grandchildren might be born into a world dominated by the values of the Chinese Communist Party or Putin's Russia.

It's time we use the most massive weapon in our arsenal: The American Economy.

Congress must pass trade agreements and treaties that demand the highest standards of labor and human rights; encourage social justice across nations and equity within nations; and end the climate crisis.

Do you acknowledge humans' role in causing climate change? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?

Yes. And can I ask all of you: at what point are we going to stop talking about steps we should take and actually take action?

Check out my answer to the Herald's question about what we can do to make politicians work with each other. They basically asked: what can we do to make DC work? Because it doesn't.

If it did, we would already have a framework for building a Green Economy: that doesn't kill the environment (because we need that); that encourages companies to pay more of their profits to their low-wage workers; that allows people to be people, not just workers; that is built infrastructure that's not crumbling to the ground.

We need an economy that keeps churning during global crises so we can care for ourselves when supply chains stop.

We need an economy designed to end the climate crisis.

And if politicians only take action when the catastrophe hits, they'll probably be too late. We need to fix D.C. so we can solve the climate crisis now.

Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA was a step in the right direction. Now, it's up to all of us to fulfill President Obama's dream of insuring every American.

I support a universal health care system that cares for everyone except big PHARMA and other special interests. I assure you, they're covered. We need a system that's affordable and spends more money on patients than admins.

Why cover the un(der)insured? Because they will access health care with or without insurance. So why not establish a system that doesn't externalize the costs onto the rest of us (think bloated hospital bills)?

So, even if you do not believe everyone deserves high-quality health care, covering everyone makes financial sense for all of us.

Universal coverage must include dental, hearing, vision, LTC, mental health, substance abuse treatment, reproductive care, and prescription drugs.

Why? Because we need our teeth, eyes, ears, and minds. And who doesn't think we should be caring for babies and their mothers? How is this up for debate?

What immigration policies do you support? Where, if at all, do you see room for compromise to produce an effective policy on immigration? Does the government have any responsibility toward Dreamers who were brought to the United States illegally as children and are now adults? How will these policies affect your district?

A quick aside: Social Security (as we know it) ends in 12 years, and immigration reform is one part of a bigger solution for saving it. Email me at us@junaidforcongress.com to chat about immigration and social security.

Whether it's corporate Rs who take advantage of immigrants or populist Rs who cast them as criminals, Rs are on the wrong side of immigration policy. Meanwhile, corporate Ds bemoan the Rs while allowing corporations to take advantage of immigrants and depress American wages.

Tipping my hat to the Rs. I agree that we need an Actual Immigration Policy. Our current system, if we can call it that, doesn't work for ordinary people. It harms Americans and immigrants alike.

If elected, I will speak up where others have been silent and will lead an effort to pass an actual policy that includes: a moratorium on deportations while we audit our current practices; reinstating DACA; a humane system for asylum-seekers; dismantling abusive detention facilities; and a path to citizenship.

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