Throughout his 18-year tenure in Congress, Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) has been a fearless advocate for the needs of his constituents and a steadfast spokesperson for members of underserved communities across the country. Given his history as an ordained minister, member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and an Alderman on the Chicago City Council, no one would expect any less of him than to be a champion for equal treatment under the law and access to essential services.
During his career, Rush has advanced many causes on Capitol Hill – ranging from digital equality and increased opportunities for minority media ownership to consumer protections and enhanced trade opportunities in Africa and the Caribbean. Most recently, he has taken up the cross of advocating for improvements to our nation’s treatment of Level 1 trauma centers.
Rush, the representative of Chicago’s 1st Congressional district, is all too aware of the detrimental impact that inadequate medical trauma facilities can have on our nation’s citizenry. Just last week, Congressman Rush spoke on the House floor about this issue, noting that “the lack of nearby Level 1 trauma centers dramatically reduces survival rates and drives up long-term acute care needs and costs.”
Mindful of national statistics on Level 1 trauma facility shortages and inadequate specialists to properly treat patients desperately in need of urgent care, Congressman Rush’s connection to this issue is very personal. “In 1999, my son, 29-year old Huey was shot two blocks from a hospital, but he couldn’t go to that hospital because they didn’t have a Level 1 trauma center,” he said in remarks before his colleagues last week. Huey, “had to [be] transport[ed] some 10 miles away, where eventually he passed.”
As Rush spun the woeful tale of plight plaguing people without access to essential healthcare facilities, he reminded his colleagues that “Not only is it patently unfair, but it is an injustice that in a nation as vast and as prosperous as ours, that we have a tragic lack, and such misplaced priorities, by not having Level 1 trauma centers close to the communities where people reside.”
The passion with which Congressman Rush is pursuing the Level 1 discussion is characteristic of his many years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Currently, he is the Ranking Member of the Energy and Power Subcommittee on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, and has previously served as Chariman on the body’s Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee and the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.
Congressman Rush currently sits on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and has authored a wealth of legislation aimed at increased consumer protection, opportunities for minority and small and disadvantaged businesses, enhanced quality and access to essential healthcare services, and improved telecommunications services.