Sara Dady told a crowd of about 40 people gathered in downtown Pontiac Tuesday evening that she wasn't afraid to meet with them in public. One could reasonably read that as a dig at Adam Kinzinger, the U.S. Representative of Illinois's 16th congressional district who Dady's looking to unseat in the November general election; the incumbent has faced criticism for limiting appearances in town halls and other public forums.
    Should she be elected, Dady vowed to distinguish herself not only in availability to constituents, but would fight for their best interests, advocating universal healthcare and major wage hikes.
    Dady, an immigration attorney from Rockford, was present for the monthly gathering of “We're Here,” an activist group that monthly meets every third Tuesday to protest social and economic policies instituted under President Donald Trump and his Republican administration.
    During her address to the crowd, she advocated for single-payer healthcare in the form of the increasingly popular “Medicare for All” proposal. On funding it, she argued that one way to offset costs would be to curtail America's recent propensity for foreign interventionism.
    “There's no good reason why we're spending trillions of dollars on foreign wars that never seem to end,” she told the crowd. “And we have a U.S. Representative (Kinzinger), who is on TV every day, calling for military action in a third foreign country when we can't even get out of the two that we're in.”
    Besides universal healthcare, Dady also argued that the minimum wage should be increased to $15 an hour and spoke about restoring declining union power.
    “Even with the 'tax cuts,' so-called for the middle class, passed last winter, the cost of healthcare is eating up $50 or $75 a paycheck,” she told local media before her address. “Until we address healthcare in this country, until we pass 'Medicare for All' and take the burden off the backs of employers and employees, we're going to continue to struggle.
    “On top of that, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and it's been $7.25 an hour for decades. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Lastly, unions are the ones that raise middle class wages. They raise wages not just for their own members, but for all of the surrounding employees that are non-union. If we cut the legs out from unions, we're cutting the legs out from underneath the middle class.”  
    Sound familiar? These were key components in the platform that sprang Sen. Bernie Sanders and democratic socialism into the national spotlight in his presidential campaign of 2016.
    While Sanders arguably remains America's most popular senator per current polling, many Democrats remain hesitant to embrace him ideologically due to his identification with socialism. But embracing the identification has also worked: avowed democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scored a major upset win over incumbent establishment favorite Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary race in New York's 14th congressional district in late June.
    When pressed about ideological alignment, Dady demurred that she “was a Democrat.”
    “I am a Democrat, and the Democratic Party has always fought for the working class,” she said. “These are not new issues; they might have some new names, but they're not new issues. I'm a Democrat, that's how I classify myself.”
    On what prompted her to run for office, Dady stated that while she had a “great life,” others were not so fortunate and wanted to do what she could as an elected official.
    “I felt called to step up when I saw that our president and our current representative were not working in our families' best interests,” she said. “When my opponent voted to repeal healthcare for the 61st time, and then when he voted for a healthcare plan that would have stripped 38 thousand constituents of access to healthcare, I felt called to step up: that's what good citizens do. When we see a problem in our government, it's our responsibility to step up and fix it.”