Why Alexandra?

Alexandra Eidenberg is a small business owner, a community activist, and a recent mother of twins. She is a lifelong Chicagoan who has always wanted to give back to the community that provided her with so much opportunity.

Alexandra is a graduate of the Chicago Public Schools. After graduating from Lane Tech High School, Alexandra continued her education at Columbia College Chicago. She worked at an insurance agency for six years before striking out on her own by founding her own firm in 2009.

The name Alexandra chose for her firm, The Insurance People, reflects her outlook on work and life. Alexandra’s firm is the people who help people with their problems. This reflects the firm’s philosophy, that all customers are important.

When other insurance agencies would avoid dealing with small businesses and startups seeking group insurance because the paperwork was not worth the commission, Alexandra actively pursued those businesses and treated small clients just like her big clients. When health insurance carriers did not cover HIV/AIDS medications, Alexandra successfully advocated for her clients by appealing for their rights.

Alexandra has shared her passion for helping people with the community. She wasthe Executive Director of eWomenNetwork Chicagoland and eWomenetwork Foundation. Alexandra is also a Society Member of Club Corp., a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Alexandra is an active member in the Skokie; Gay, Lesbian; and Puerto Rican Chambers of Commerce, as well as a member of the Small Business Advocacy Council where she sits on the board and is the chair of the Women's Committee and Education Committee. She has volunteered with Alzheimer’s patients, cooking with them as a way of re-establishing familiar and comforting routines.

As if all this was not enough to keep one person occupied, Alexandra is also a recent mother of twins.

Alexandra Eidenberg is a candidate for Congress from the Fourth Congressional District. She is a candidate who can win and bring needed change to a district that has been represented by an incumbent who has become part of the Washington establishment and has lost touch with the district.

Alexandra Eidenberg on the issues

First and foremost, Alexandra believes that the Fourth Congressional district needs jobs. Alexandra knows that the best job creators are small businesses. In Congress, Alexandra will fight for more small business opportunities and to level the playing field for small business, especially female and minority owned businesses.

Alexandra also strongly believes that women need more of a voice in business and government. She is a strong supporter of reproductive rights. Her support for women goes beyond just one issue, though. Alexandra believes that women must be encouraged to strike out in the business world and start their own companies. She will fight to eliminate all the little obstacles that are put in the way of women – like discriminatory provisions in health insurance policies, lack of equal opportunity, access to financing.

On foreign policy, Alexandra promises to be a strong voice for the continued strong relationship between the United States and Israel. While some in Congress claim to be pro-Israel, in the next breath they will make statements that undermine that claim. Alexandra understands the importance of an independent and secure Israel as an indispensable ally of the United States, and she will not backslide on her commitment.

The incumbent

Luis Gutierrez is a former alderman who first won election to Congress in 1992. In the twenty years he has served in Congress, he has had few major accomplishments. Of seven bills and resolutions primarily sponsored by Gutierrez that passed the House in twenty years, four were commemorating sports figures.

However, Gutierrez has been frequently embroiled in scandals. In 2008 Gutierrez wrote a letter on behalf of Banco Popular seeking a special bailout for the bank. Gutierrez may have been moved to write that letter because of the $15,000 in contributions he received from the bank.

Gutierrez’s daughter was able to purchase an apartment set aside for “affordable housing” through a program run by Gutierrez protégé Alderman Billy Ocasio. She purchased the apartment for $155,000 in 2008 with a loan from Gutierrez; a year later, she sold the apartment for $239,900, pocketing a cool $84,900 profit. In a federal affordable housing project, making this kind of profit is illegal. Ocasio defended the deal by saying that his program was not an official government program.

Gutierrez’s real estate dealings have also drawn the attention of the FBI. In 2010, the FBI was interviewing people about Gutierrez’s role in obtaining a favorable zoning change for developer and political supporter Calvin Boender. Getting involved in zoning matters is fairly unusual for a Congressman. So is the $200,000 loan Gutierrez received from Boender.

Most recently Gutierrez has been in the news for paying a lobbyist $500,000 in government money to provide services to his office. He has proposed legislation to support pay day loans that would give American's 780% interest rates.

Despite all these dealings with business people, Gutierrez has a poor record of supporting business. In 2011, Gutierrez received a 33% rating from the National Small Business Association, 20% from the United States Chamber of Commerce, and 0% from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

The district

Perhaps the most striking thing about the Fourth District, other than its unusual shape, is that it has exceptionally low turnout. Thus a well funded and well organized candidate can present a challenge to an incumbent who has not maintained a political operation in the district.

In 2012, Gutierrez was virtually unchallenged and received 30,908 votes in the primary. Two years earlier, in 2010, Gutierrez received 34,000 votes.

These are exceptionally low turnout numbers. For example, First Congressional District Congressman Bobby Rush received 68,585 votes in 2010. Second District Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. received 79,962 votes.

In other words, the Congressional seat can be won with very few votes compared to other districts.

It has been a long time since Gutierrez has faced a credible challenger with a compelling story. His fundraising tells the story. For the 1st Quarter of 2013, Gutierrez raised $3,975. His committee spent $99,967, leaving this 20 year incumbent with only $263,752 cash on hand. This is the mark of a vulnerable incumbent.

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