A Charleston man who works as a tutor and has previously volunteered on political campaigns is running for congress.
Gaither said he has been involved in previous elections, knocking on doors, but he had never been the candidate. He’s active in the Coles County Democratic party and volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008.
He said the policies pushed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana have been devastating for people.
“After a lot of time and consideration, I decided I just couldn’t sit around and do nothing about it,” Gaither said. “I’ve knocked on so many doors and made so many phone calls in the past. I have to do something even more than that, so I decided to jump in.”
Gaither said health care is one of the most important issues, calling the Republican proposed American Health Care Act bad for seniors and those who are chronically ill, and people who are working poor. He called the plan a tax break for the wealthy.
“We shouldn’t be giving tax cuts to them to punish those who aren’t as well off,” Gaither said.
Gaither said he wants to push for policies that have a chance at passing and being enacted rather than big liberal ideas that won’t be signed in the current political environment.
He wants to see an expansion of employer-based plans and have those opened up to small business owners.
Gaither grew up in Sullivan, in Southern Illinois.
“I feel very hopeful and energized that things can really improve greatly,” Gaither said. “No one has really represented this district and most of these downstate districts adequately in a very long time. Given that many of these communities have really suffered for far too long and seeing and listening to all these wonderful people they deserve better than what they’ve got, that inspires me to do more.”
“I’ve seen how great these communities are, when everybody works together, and that’s what we really need is to work together again.”