Hellenic News of America’s (HNA) publisher, Aphrodite Kotrotsios, chatted with Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos about the upcoming presidential election, where she revealed her choice for president. Commissioner Spyropoulos has an extensive background in politics: she is a lawyer by trade but later decided to run for Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in 2010, and was subsequently elected. In March of 2020, she was elected as a Biden delegate from the 5th Congressional District in Illinois. It is no secret that Commissioner Spyropoulos is an avid supporter of Joe Biden. In this interview, she discusses her political background and experience with the Biden campaign.
Aphrodite Kotrotsios (AK): Can you tell us a little about your family, where were you raised and went to school?
As you know, my father, Ted Spyropoulos, was from Kalavryta, Greece and very proud of his heritage. He was active in the Greek American community and involved in education, civics, community, philanthropy, politics, and business. He instilled that pride of heritage, community, and politics in me. I am a proud Greek-American. As immigrants, my parents reminded me how lucky we were to be here. They also taught me that when you have the opportunity you need to give back and help people. Like so many immigrants looking for a better life, my father started a business, worked hard, and taught me the value of hard work. He taught me that success was not guaranteed. I was raised on the South Side of Chicago. My parents stressed education. I listened to them and graduated with a law degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and an MBA from Loyola University. I worked as a prosecutor and then an attorney before I ran for office.
(AK): How and when did you get involved in politics? How did you know this was something you wanted to do?
I have been interested in civics and government for as long as I can remember. The idea of being able to give back and public service and the ability to help people was a lesson my father taught me. I first ran for Commissioner in 2010 for a six-year term. I was re-elected in 2016.
(AK): You currently serve as commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and are heavily in touch with the community around you. How do you feel the community is reacting to the 2020 presidential elections?
It’s a difficult situation right now, because the health and safety of the nation is the first priority. Of course, our democratic process continues, and there will be an election in November. The community sees the stark contrast between our current administration and Joe Biden. It’s clear that Joe Biden has the empathy and character to lead our country in a time of crisis. It’s also clear that he will be able to unite our country at a time when it needs it the most.
(AK): You are an avid supporter of Joe Biden for president, why?
I am a supporter and an elected delegate from Illinois for Joe Biden. He has a proven record as a Senator and Vice President. We need someone to unite our country and restore dignity back to the White House. We need someone who will rebuild trust in our government, with decency, optimism, and experience. It is crucial to have a president who believes in facts and science and can bring people together in a time of crisis. He has the experience and brings a broad coalition of what America is all about with him. He believes that immigrants are what makes this country great. I believe that as well since I am one of them. He has a plan to tackle climate change and pollution to protect our communities. To protect our environment for future generations not destroy it. Check out www.JoeBiden.com for more.
(AK): Are you involved in his campaign?
Yes, I was elected in March as a Biden delegate from the 5th Congressional District in Illinois.
(AK): Which of his signature issues do you take particular pride in?
His positions on the environment, women, and ensuring economic growth and development and small business development and immigration just to name a few. www.JoeBiden.com
(AK): Do you think his previous role as vice president of the United States will influence the presidential race in his favor?
Yes. Joe stood with President Obama to pass the Affordable Care Act, expanding health care to 20 million people. He administered the Recovery Act, the biggest infrastructure and stimulus program in generation creating millions of jobs. He has led on top foreign policy issues, wrote an passed the Violence Against Women Act, lead a White House Taskforce to end sexual assault on college campuses just to name a few of his accomplishments. He will also command respect with any world leader. See www.JoeBiden.com for more details.
(AK): What is Joe Biden’s stance on Turkey’s aggression on the Aegean Sea?
VP Biden has for decades considered Turkish overflights of the Greek islands in the Aegean to be both provocative and unnecessary. Such flights (and Greek intercepts thereof) run the risk of escalating out of control.
(AK): What is Joe Biden’s stance on Turkey’s illegal occupation of Cyprus?
Joe Biden’s position is the same as the U.S. government’s – which recognizes only one legitimate government on Cyprus – the Republic of Cyprus.
As Vice President, Joe Biden played a leading role in efforts to resolve the Cyprus dispute. Biden strongly supports a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution to the Cyprus dispute that will allow future generations of Cypriots to live in peace, harmony, and prosperity.
(AK): How does Joe Biden plan to support Greece?
For decades, first as a senator and later as VP, Biden has been a longtime friend and supporter of Greece. He will continue that support as President.
He supports Greece’s security posture in the region, including significant sales of U.S. military equipment to Greece. He is thankful for Greece’s role as host to U.S. forces and considers Greece a vital ally along NATO’s southern flank.
The VP also strongly supports Greece’s effort to revive its economy following its difficult crisis over the past decade. Vice President Biden was actively involved in the Greek financial crisis in 2015. He made the case with Greece’s creditors that deep debt restructuring would provide vital breathing room for Greece to develop a credible roadmap for systemic economic reform. Today, he remains invested in Greece’s economic future and admires what Greece has done in its fight against COVID-19.
Finally, Biden deeply appreciates and understands our deep historic ties, particularly as Greece approaches its 200th anniversary of independence next year, and as we celebrate all the contributions that Greece made to the Allied efforts in World War II (Note: Biden was honored by the Oxi Day Foundation with its highest honor in 2016. Oxi Day Foundation)
The VP has demonstrated over the years the special place he has in his heart for Greece and the strong personal bonds he has forged with Greek leaders from Andreas Papandreou to its current leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
*The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HNA and its representatives.