Schakowsky Announces State of the Union Guest

January 31, 2020
Press Release

EVANSTON, IL - Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky announced today that her constituent, longtime small business advocate and former solo-entrepreneur Geraldine “Geri” Sanchez Aglipay, will be her guest at the upcoming State of the Union Address. Geri is the Midwest manager of outreach, education, and policy efforts at Small Business Majority, an organization that advocates for small businesses across the country and provides tools and resources to small businesses and independent entrepreneurs, with a special focus on underserved communities. Geri’s work is to improve financial capacity and health security for small business owners, employees, and their families by expanding access to affordable healthcare. She also promotes national outreach to women entrepreneurs and women’s business organizations.

“President Trump’s constant assault on our health care coverage, including his most recent action to allow states to cut Medicaid and his indication that he would slash Medicare funding in a second term, makes clear that he does not value the very things that make our nation work for everyday Americans,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said. “I’ve invited Geri Aglipay to join me at the State of the Union to highlight the impact that the President’s attacks on health care have on women, communities of color, and on the backbone of our economy – small businesses. Together, House Democrats and people like Geri will protect these pillars of our nation that are paramount to the success of our country.”

“I am very grateful to Congresswoman Schakowsky for inviting me to the State of the Union,” said Aglipay. “Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law 10 years ago this March, entrepreneurs in Illinois and across the country have been able to start and grow their businesses, thanks in large part to the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have affordable, meaningful coverage. Currently more than half of all ACA marketplace enrollees are small business owners, their employees, or self-employed people. Now is the time to  focus on strengthening the ACA, rather than creating more uncertainty. I hope that my attendance at the State of the Union sends a loud and clear message to President Trump, his administration, and Congress that the ACA is absolutely vital to the success of small businesses nationwide, and in turn America’s economic prosperity.”

Geri has extensive experience supporting people of color, especially as it relates to public health and civil rights. Prior to her work with Small Business Majority, she worked with the Asian Health Coalition to roll out the Affordable Care Act to underserved neighborhoods. She was a member of the Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership Program, which aims to strengthen women leaders of color in Chicago.

Last year, House Democrats passed several bills to protect people with pre-existing conditions, reverse health care sabotage, and lower prescription drug costs – including the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), landmark legislation that would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies to bring down prices and make those savings available to hardworking families across America.

Yet, as Democrats are fighting to lower costs and expand health care, President Trump and Republicans continue working to take health care away and give Big Pharma a free pass to price gouge American families:

  • Shortly before the New Year, the 5th Circuit Court decision put health care in jeopardy for millions of Americans, including all of those with preexisting conditions, as a result of President Trump and Republicans’ lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • Just three days into this new year, Big Pharma had already increased drug prices on more than 400 medicines, according to reports from CBS news.
  • Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced a proposal to allow states to block grant Medicaid, which would cut benefits and place devastating limits on treatment for the most vulnerable among us.