Andrew was born in Chicago into a family of Polish descent in 1993. American roots of his family date back to the 19th century, when his great-great-grandfather settled in New York. It was, because of a number of circumstances, not until the 1980s that his parents came to the United States. Andrew's parents did not have any property or money and were forced to start life from the beginning, like many other immigrants coming to this country in search of a better life.
Thanks to hard work and perseverance, Andrew's father became a real estate developer and then a holder of many properties in Chicago. In a very short period, Andrew’s father achieved the American Dream and middle-class status. However, as a result of the collapse of the real estate market in 2008, the businesses of Andrew's father suffered severe losses and it was necessary to sell the family home to avoid bankruptcy. Andrew was only 16 years old and attended Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
The crisis in the real estate market deepened so much in 2009 that Andrew's family was forced to look for a new source of income. Andrew ended up in Poland where he graduated from another high school with the International Baccalaureate program. He wanted to attend a university in America. However, the very difficult financial situation of the family, additionally aggravated by the illness of Andrew's father and exceptionally high costs of higher education in the USA, caused Andrew to choose to study in Great Britain, because tuition was covered by the government in Scotland and he was able to live off only 500 pounds a month as a student to get by. By studying Economics and Politics and comparing the experiences between Europe and America, Andrew noticed significant differences in favor of Europe, including: universal healthcare in the United Kingdom, lower attendance costs and fees of universities with subsidized tuition, and being able to live off only 500 pounds (roughly $650) a month as a student.
Andrew’s double experience, that is, happily growing up in a middle-class family in America, followed by the financial collapse of the family and the struggle to gain an affordable and good education in the absence of funds, made Andrew realize how vital and important the role of government is in creating and securing appropriate conditions for children and young people with lower incomes to have a jump-start at it. It is unacceptable that kids from lower-income backgrounds make their decision whether to go to college based on their ability to pay for college. Such an opportunity should be given to everyone. And the sole reason for the lack of such opportunity comes down to a bad financial situation and an inadequate government policy.
While studying in Great Britain, Andrew began his community organizing by helping those in need especially through the world’s largest student organization called ENACTUS, which creates endeavors for lower-income persons by identifying human needs, guaranteeing the beneficiaries a low, but stable income through entrepreneurial action. By joining the Democratic Party, Andrew participated in various ventures in its branches in Great Britain. After being inspired with how one person can really make a difference, Andrew decided to continue his education in law, graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago's law school and becoming a member of the Illinois State Bar Association as a licensed attorney.
Andrew has proven that everyone can succeed in America if there are suitable conditions. But he also knows, from the example of his parents, how easy it is to bring a family into decline through inadequate government policies. It is unacceptable that the government through deregulation (amongst other factors) allowed American financial institutions to create the largest global financial crisis in history that affected middle-class and lower income households, bringing down many families. It is unacceptable that Americans were forced out of their homes, because of the mortgage crisis. It is an unacceptable policy that children from families with lower to medium incomes decide on their education based on their ability to pay, while at the same time trillions of dollars were transferred to financial institutions as a result of the crisis. It is an unacceptable policy that funds cannot be re-directed for a universal healthcare system for all Americans, where we just gave corporations a tax break benefiting only the rich, which America did not need. We can do better.
Andrew's global multinational experience made him realize that these changes can be made here in America, because they are present elsewhere in highly-developed and democratic economies. America is exceptional, it always will be, but why aren’t we proving to the world that our experience will always be unique to us? Why can’t we be at the forefront of the Green Revolution showing the world American technological advances in sustainable technology, which can be achieved directly by educating our populace, attracting the brightest students from around the world, and taking advantage of immigration? Why can't we have the best, but also the most affordable education in the world? Why can't we have a healthcare system that works for everyone? Andrew believes in the American creed, the basic principles and potential of the United States to achieve all of this. Now, as a lawyer, Andrew realizes that the political creation of appropriate conditions through law, similar to those experienced in Scotland, can lead to a situation in which every child and every young person should at least have a shot at an educational goal and become what they set their mind to. But even after a accomplishment of this goal what does that mean if one is left with a six-digit debt with a huge interest rate that one might never be able to pay back? Andrew understands the struggle, because of loans for law school.
Andrew has shown a persistence in addressing global issues that are close to his heart such as clean water and women empowerment issues in Ghana and helping with various local issues while interning at Senator Dick Durbin's office and joining the John Marshall Law Pro Bono Clinic. Andrew wants to dedicate his life to fight for what is right. Andrew believes in restoring the balance between our three common and equally balanced values of egalitarianism, individualism and capitalism, and correcting the balance in favor of fair and equal opportunity for all people! These values are not mutually-exclusive and a successful nation finds the correct balance. Our government has been in favor of the rich for far too long who keep getting richer and richer and now it is the time to address inequality above all! We can do that through the opportunity posed by, for example, climate change.
The 9th Congressional District is one of the most progressive districts in the nation. Many are affected by the same issues that Andrew keeps talking about. Andrew calls for getting big money out of politics, alleviating the burden imposed by student debt, free public education, addressing housing issues, Medicare-For-All healthcare, gun safety, and addressing climate change, among other issues!
ELECTORS!, we have the House of Representatives election every two-years for a reason. It should not be intended for someone to sit in Congress for decades and not get this done. If you believe we can do better, choose me for action to deal with matters for all of us, our future, our own security and our country. With this revolutionary wave of new and young candidates, we will get rid of bigotry and ignorance coming from across the aisle once everyone sees that fair and equal opportunity has been restored and brought into balance. I call for a Brand New Congress. All of this is done from pure love and self-denial. Become a co-creator of change, pass the torch to the next generation, help correct the balance in favor of fair and equal opportunity for all, and make me your true-progressive representative. Register online to vote here.
Andrew T. Heldut