Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois
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Biography

United States Representative Bobby L. Rush is a transcendent American leader who keeps his legislative and policy interests sharply focused on the needs of his constituents — especially the most vulnerable. He believes in the redemptive power of the human spirit. He believes in human ingenuity and tenacity. He knows the power of a made up mind. As a member of Congress, Rush stands on the shoulders of a long line of patriots and public servants who have gone before him and who are ardent believers in our Constitution. His life is an example of our nation’s fundamental promise and his work reflects a deep determination to bend the arc of government resources and innovation towards the needs of every American — whether they live on our nation’s main streets or its side streets.

Chicago and her surrounding communities are a microcosm of America. While large parts of Rush’s district include communities that can boast world class health and educational institutions and a diverse array of businesses, there are others where youth unemployment and acts of violence are far too common. Rush is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army and an ordained minister with a Master’s Degree in Theology. In addition to his congressional responsibilities, Rush is the pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ in Chicago. Rush listens to his constituents with a pastor’s ear and acts on their needs with a politician’s skill.

He and his wife, Carolyn, have a blended family with seven children including a son who lost his life to gun violence in 1999.

Legislative Highlights

From his very first year in office, Rush focused on issues of importance to low- and middle-income families and communities. In 1993, as a freshman in the 103rd Congress, Rush introduced bills on issues as diverse as Conflict Resolution and Mediation to Public Pensions and Community Development.

Rush’s track record of leadership on energy issues and his support for small business while serving as an alderman in the Chicago City Council paved the way for him to gain a seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee in his second term.

Rush’s attention to detail in crafting national legislation inspired his peers to elect him Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection during the 111th Congress. Under Rush’s watch, important pieces of legislation became law including the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-314). Signed into law by President George W. Bush, this statute is a landmark piece of legislation that provided an effective congressional response to an unprecedented wave of consumer product safety recalls between 2006 and 2007.

Key pieces of legislation that Rush crafted surrounding postpartum depression, women’s health (Sec. 2951 and Sec. 2952 of Subtitle L), and prescription drug offsets (Sec. 7101 and Sec. 7102 of Subtitle B) were adopted in the landmark health care legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Because of Rush’s leadership over the years on a range of small business issues and community-based lending, Rush was chosen to serve as a conferee as part of the final, bipartisan deliberative process that led to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203). Rush fought hard to help ensure that low- and middle-income consumers would never again fall prey to the ill-conceived, predatory financial practices that led to the near epic collapse of U. S. financial markets in 2008.

In 1996, Rush served as a conferee on the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-104). This law, the first major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications law in almost 62 years, marked the first time the Internet was included in the broadcasting spectrum allotment and paved the way for the growth of cable and Internet accessibility throughout the nation.

During his tenure, Rush has brought more than one billion dollars to the First Congressional District. Through his determined advocacy, he has led efforts to fund major infrastructure projects in the district such as the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expressway, the Lovana S. ‘Lou’ Jones/Bronzeville Metra Station, the CREATE Englewood Flyover, the CTA Red Line Reconstruction, and the CTA Red Line 95th Street Station Renovation. Over the years he has obtained millions of dollars in grants for libraries, museums, municipalities, police departments, hospitals, schools and programs that support the arts.

Since the convening of the 112th Congress in 2011, Rush has served as the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee. As Ranking Member, one of Rush’s top priorities has been to increase opportunities for minorities within all sectors of the energy industry. In this Congress, Rush has introduced the 21st Century Energy Workforce Development Jobs Initiative Act of 2014 (H.R. 4526). This bipartisan bill establishes a comprehensive program to improve the education and training of workers for energy-related jobs, with an emphasis on increasing the number of skilled minorities and women trained to work in such jobs.

Continuing to place a high priority on ensuring access to quality healthcare, Rush introduced the Trauma Relief Access for Urgent Medical Assistance of 2014 (H.R. 4181). In addition to increasing funding for research in emergency medical care systems and emergency medicine, this bill establishes grants for regionalized systems for emergency care response, trauma care centers, to promote access to trauma care services, and grants for demonstration projects for the expansion and improvement of emergency medical services for children. The United States recently received a D+ for trauma preparedness with a few states receiving an F in a study conducted by the American College of Emergency Medical Physicians. This bill seeks to improve on this national epidemic by providing the necessary resources to reduce the effects of Trauma Deserts on our urban and rural communities.

Today, Rush continues to carve an effective course of sound legislative leadership that protects consumers, supports our military personnel, creates jobs, expands businesses, and promotes America’s national energy policy. As Rush looks to the future, the needs and interests of the people he serves in the First Congressional District of Illinois remain front and center.

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