**As we approach the end of 2021, we need to make sure that the movement that started seven months ago when I announced my candidacy can cross the finish line at the election and finally take to Congress. Let's raise $20k by 2022 to make this happen. Read more about me below.**

HERE’S WHERE I COME FROM:

I was born into a working class family in Chicago. My dad was an Air Force veteran, a postal worker, and an active church volunteer. My mom worked hard everyday caring for five children, teaching Sunday School and leading the children’s choir at church, all while working 9 to 5 clerical jobs outside the home. I was only in 6th grade when I received my first experience as a Community Organizer while fighting for my own education as an elementary student. The faith and hard work I learned from my parents and the commitment to justice I learned from my organizing have guided my life.

HERE’S WHAT I’VE DONE:

I was the first in his family to attend college and the only one to be ordained into the ministry. I’ve spent my young life fighting to empower families and communities.  I registered and mobilized young voters as the Youth and Young Adult Coordinator on Barack Obama’s 2004 Campaign for U.S. Senate and organized churches to combat community violence through the Chicago Peace Campaign. As Deputy Campaign Manager at A+ Illinois, I helped organize a statewide coalition to transform school funding that included both major teachers unions, AFSCME, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce and the Urban League.  Advocacy Director at New Schools for Chicago, I helped expand the number of high quality school options available for families in underserved communities like the one where I grew up. And I organized Parent Power Chicago, a group of parent advocates, local entrepreneurs, service providers, and leading philanthropists dedicated to empowering parents to lead their children to success.

In 2013, I started a boutique public affairs consulting firm with my brother that specialized in forging unlikely partnerships and leading tough conversations.  And in the midst of a tumultuous Trump administration, I helped launch a movement called the AND Campaign to clarify the role of the church in fighting for justice, equity, and order.

HERE’S WHERE WE’RE GOING:

Our country is right now, divided more deeply than at any time since the Civil War. Two major factors are driving this division. The first factor is economic inequality. The nation has rapidly increasing gaps in income, overall wealth, educational opportunity, and access to affordable housing and quality healthcare. The second factor is an all-consuming culture war.

Growing up in the church, I know that people of faith take their values and convictions seriously. And having gotten involved in social justice work at just 12 years old, I learned pretty early in life that there are a lot of great people who while they don’t look at the world through the lens of the church, they have righteous values and deep convictions. That’s why I know that we have a window of opportunity to do some big things: 

  • Revamp our economy with strong unions, fair wages, universal college, a guaranteed basic income, and a regulatory climate that works for small businesses, not just large corporations.

  • Assess the damage that Covid shutdowns have done to our children’s education and develop a plan to put them on track to lead the world, not fall further behind than we were before the pandemic

  • We have to get big money out of politics and make voting easier and smarter for all of us, so that we can restore faith in our democracy before we lose an entire generation of young voters to apathy  

  • Reject the notion that being for policing reform means being against police officers as we build a robust public safety infrastructure that pairs prevention and intervention with strong law enforcement strategies.

I’m running for Congress because I’m ready to help the Democratic Party and our government move beyond the politics of division that currently have us stuck with the status quo. But, it’s going to take your support! We need to make calls, knock doors, send mail, and advertise if we want to reach every voter in the 1st Congressional District. 

Please chip in today!


Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I've been Pastor Butler's rallies, and he's a good man with great ideas. Excited to see how he will help Illinois' 1st district when in office.”

  • endorsed

    “Pastor Chris is the man to lead this march towards civility. I’m proud to endorse his candidacy because we don’t have to ask what he’ll do because he is already doing it!”

  • endorsed

    “He's a family man with a plan with a clear vision for change.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Chris Butler because he has the integrity, compassion, inclusiveness and intelligence to be an outstanding Congressman. He knows how to listen, empathize, and lead, and he will bring new energy and opportunities to the 1st Congressional District.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Pastor Chris Butler because he has a rare compassion to find achievable ground with those who are on the opposite side of important issues. Yet, he carries a courageous conviction that will advance vital change in the 1st congressional district and beyond.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Pastor Chris Butler because he is dedicated to finding solutions without a pride that prevents progress. With a humility I've never before seen in a candidate, he holds his convictions dear and compassionately listens to those who hold different convictions. He's spent so much of his career making difficult decisions that effect people's lives, and as a result he takes others seriously and deeply cares about the people that policy--and political inaction--effects.”

  • endorsed

    “I support this family man because he’s honest, and full of integrity. I have known him since I was in high school and he has never waivered from his faith and who he is. I proudly endorse this candidate.”

January 13, 2022

Stop “Inflation Shaming” Working Class Families

The Poor and Working Class Are Easy Targets

Yesterday, it was reported that the rate of inflation rose to 6.8%, the highest it has reached in 40 years. New polling shows what most of us know instinctively: rising costs at the grocery store, the gas pump and virtually everywhere in between is a top concern for voters as we head into the 2022 midterm elections. As a result of this deeply and broadly felt concern, leaders in government, media and business are stepping up to offer their own explanations for why inflation is so high. 

One easy explanation (the one that seems to be getting the most play in mainstream media and in elite power circles) is that the primary driver of inflation is government spending on social programs designed to help poor and working class people preserve life and limb through a once in a generation public health crisis. Senator Joe Manchin, for instance, has asserted that inflation was one of his primary reasons for blocking legislation that would have made real investments in American families like extending the expanded Child Tax Credit and making paid family leave available to more households. 

Inflation is higher than it has been since 1982. But while easy, the “we invested too much in families” explanation simply is not true. The propagation of this false narrative in media and in government stands to have a catastrophic impact on our policy making environment. Congress has already returned (1,000,000) children to living in poverty by allowing the expanded CTC to expire. But, there is also a mental and emotional cost that poor and working class families pay as they internalize a sense of shame brought on as the loudest voices in our society repeatedly shout at them that a few small steps toward prosperity for them is ruining the nation’s economy. 

That is immoral. And it is time to stop “inflation shaming” working class people.

What’s Really Driving Inflation?

The reality is that our inflation problem is caused by several factors simultaneously impacting the economy. In the last several months, many of us have heard more about “supply chains'' than we ever wanted to hear. The basic concept is that the outlets that sell products directly to consumers are finding it difficult to get the products they need to meet the demand of all of the customers who want to purchase those products. Since the demand is outpacing the supply, prices are going up.

So, what’s behind these supply chain issues?

Obviously, the forced shutdown of the global economy during the pandemic slowed the ability of suppliers to move raw materials, manufacture goods, and get those goods to customers. But, the crisis did not have to be this bad. Over decades, corporations have moved more and more production outside of the United States in order to maximize profits for shareholders. 

And then there’s over reliance on “just-in-time” delivery. As one observer pointed out, “The pre-COVID red-hot economy of 2019 was a finely-tuned machine. Manufacturers, farmers, restaurants and retailers relied on what they needed to be delivered ‘just-in-time’. They got just what they needed, just when they needed it, keeping inventory costs down and making the economic machine as efficient as possible.” This dependence on foreign suppliers and lack of standing inventory broke the supply side of the market. It is not fair or reasonable to suggest that there are chronic levels of artificial demand simply because the Congress acted to help keep everyday people connected to some meager income during the crisis. 

But even with all of the supply chain issues, there is yet another driver of inflation that is not getting enough attention in mainstream media. As Matt Stoller points out in his thoughtful piece on the matter, corporate profits are the driver behind fully 60% of the inflation increases we’ve experienced (at a cost of $2,126 per American). That’s right, corporations are literally taking advantage of the inflationary environment by jacking up prices on hard working Americans because they know that increases (in the current environment) will be blamed on the virus, supply chain issues, and no small amount of shaming working class people for accepting a little help from government programs and demanding more fairness from employers. 

Silence From Our Leaders Is Acquiescence To A False Narrative

As President Biden and congressional Democrats use the beginning of this new year to move on from discussions about economic equity, supporting workers, and solving inflation, it is hard not to assume that they have bought into the shaming; calculating (wrongly) that their major misstep since the beginning of the administration was focusing too much on investing in families and communities. The working class is watching as the leaders who started off as champions of economic justice and concrete gains for working people change course; deciding that the real “battle for the soul of America” is over voting regulations rather than who is able to earn a dignified living, afford to buy groceries, heat their homes, and fuel their cars.

It’s hard when your friends seem to abandon you in a fight. It is natural, when that happens, to do some soul searching and question the merits and efficacy of the endeavor. But even though talk of transformational change in our economy has been buried under an avalanche of tough talk on omnibus voting reforms and hand wringing over generational inflation, most of us are still living the reality of having barely enough to get by (and in many cases not enough) all the while being tacitly blamed and told that it was our desire and efforts for change that made the economy so much worse.

The passions of those with platforms seem to have moved on. But, working people all over America are still right to demand more for their families and communities.

Don’t Give Up The Fight

Something is going to be done about inflation. But what that “something” is will depend heavily on which narrative about the causes of inflation is allowed to thrive. If the Larry Summers “working class Americans have too much money for their own good” narrative gains dominance, the so-called solution is clear: cut off as many financial access points for working people as possible. If that narrative were true, we’d need to restart student loan payments, nix the expanded Child Tax Credit, reign in innovations around our unemployment system, and quash any conversation about a basic income guarantee. 

But if record inflation is actually the result of fragil supply chains, over reliance on foreign suppliers, and price fixing all driven by corporate greed and government ineffectiveness, then another set of solutions is in order. The solutions, in this case, involve regulating price fixing, incentivizing American production, and injecting resources to strengthen supply chains. 

Friends, the inflation shaming of working Americans has to stop. That narrative has to die. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we can depend on so-called allies in powerful positions in government, business, and the mainstream media to drown it out. We have to speak for ourselves: at our breakfast tables, on our little blogs, and with our ballots.

Back to all updates

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I've been Pastor Butler's rallies, and he's a good man with great ideas. Excited to see how he will help Illinois' 1st district when in office.”

  • endorsed

    “Pastor Chris is the man to lead this march towards civility. I’m proud to endorse his candidacy because we don’t have to ask what he’ll do because he is already doing it!”

  • endorsed

    “He's a family man with a plan with a clear vision for change.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Chris Butler because he has the integrity, compassion, inclusiveness and intelligence to be an outstanding Congressman. He knows how to listen, empathize, and lead, and he will bring new energy and opportunities to the 1st Congressional District.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Pastor Chris Butler because he has a rare compassion to find achievable ground with those who are on the opposite side of important issues. Yet, he carries a courageous conviction that will advance vital change in the 1st congressional district and beyond.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Pastor Chris Butler because he is dedicated to finding solutions without a pride that prevents progress. With a humility I've never before seen in a candidate, he holds his convictions dear and compassionately listens to those who hold different convictions. He's spent so much of his career making difficult decisions that effect people's lives, and as a result he takes others seriously and deeply cares about the people that policy--and political inaction--effects.”

  • endorsed

    “I support this family man because he’s honest, and full of integrity. I have known him since I was in high school and he has never waivered from his faith and who he is. I proudly endorse this candidate.”