Candidates give answers to issues in local contests

Several local political races will be contested on Election Day, Nov. 3.

Longtime incumbents will face challengers, while some incumbents are running unopposed.

Two races for U.S. Congress are underway. In the First Congressional District of Illinois, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat, is facing Republican Philanise White.

In the Third District, Republican Mike Fricilone is running against Democrat Marie Newman, who defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski in the primary election in March.

State Rep. Fran Hurley (D-35th) is again being challenged by Herb Hebein.

The Beverly Review sent questionnaires about various issues to all the candidates.

Here are their responses. Incumbents are listed first; otherwise, candidates are listed alphabetically.

Fran Hurley (D) versus Herb Hebein (R)

Hurley, of Mt. Greenwood, has represented the district since being elected in 2012.

Regarding the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurley said Gov. J.B. Pritzker did a good job early in the crisis.

“I have no doubt that his policies have saved lives in Illinois.”

However, she has concerns about the way the administration has communicated with legislators, which led to confusion when procedures and proposals were changed. She said “a high level of frustration” exists regarding the lack of a response to re-instating in-person learning and some team sports.

Hurley said Business Interruption Grants have provided a “band aid” to businesses, and more needs to be done.

“There’s no doubt our businesses are going to need another infusion of financial assistance in the coming months—and I plan to fight for that in Springfield,” Hurley said. “But, fighting the spread of the virus has to remain our top priority. As long as the virus is present, a large segment of the population will not return to our stores and restaurants.”

Protests in the wake of black people dying during police-involved altercations have taken place nationwide, including locally. Local protests remained peaceful, but across the country, others turned violent.

Hurley said protests are an “important part of American democracy,” but she does not condone violence.

“There is never any excuse to destroy property, steal merchandise or use violence to express a political point of view,” she said. “Meaningful change can only come about when the community, elected officials and the police work together and make an effort to better understand each other’s problems. Defunding the police is not the answer, particularly at a time when violent crime is spiking. We should look for ways to address the disconnect and distrust between minority communities and the police.”

Regarding the Fair Tax Amendment, which would install a graduated income tax rate in Illinois, Hurley said the proposal “will ensure state income taxes would be reduced or stay the same for 97 percent of the state’s population.” She voted to place the measure on the ballot, and she believes “many aspects of our taxing system are unfair to working-class families.”

Hurley said everyone should have access to affordable health care, but she is concerned about the high cost of prescriptions. She said a prescription drug task force in the state legislature is working to lower costs. She said she will continue to advocate for seniors and the community.

Hurley is pro-choice, but she respects those with strong religious beliefs that “inspire them to advocate against abortion rights.” She believes birth control should be covered by health insurance, and making it accessible “is also the best way to avoid unplanned pregnancies.”

On gun control and the Second Amendment, Hurley said she supports legal gun ownership, but she wants to keep guns and assault weapons out of the hands of felons and those with mental-health issues. Current laws need to be enforced, she said, and those convicted of gun crimes should face jail time—not probation. She also wants to stop the influx of guns from Indiana and Wisconsin.

Hebein, a retired Chicago Police Department officer who lives in Mt. Greenwood, did not respond to the questionnaire.

On his Facebook page, Hebein said he opposes taxpayer-funded abortion, recreational marijuana and LGBTQ history being taught in schools. He also states he is committed to lowering taxes, supporting the Second Amendment and bringing jobs back to Illinois.

Bobby Rush (D) versus Philanise White (R)

1st Congressional District

Rush, who has represented the district since 1993, did not return the questionnaire.

During the March primary election, he told The Beverly Review that he has worked to increase regulations on gun manufacturers. His son, Huey Rich, 29, was killed by gun violence in 1999.

Rush voted for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Rush co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, and that is “not something I apologize for.” He said his membership helped him develop a broader perspective.

In July, Rush hosted a virtual town-hall meeting regarding problems with the United States Postal Service. He said problems start at the top, and after meeting with officials this summer, he found their answers regarding service “woefully insufficient and in some ways inexcusable.”

He said Republicans are “hell-bent on eliminating the U.S. Postal Service.”

White has said in regard to the federal government’s response to COVID-19 that Trump is working on ways to end the pandemic, including uncovering the origins of the virus. She said a cross section of experts is needed to address biological threats.

White favors returning to normalcy.

“The best way to boost the economy is to open it back up and allow individuals to decide for themselves how best to protect their families,” she said. “It is impossible to keep the country locked down indefinitely; viruses are nothing new, so the country must get back to work and normal as soon as possible.”

On health care, White said she not does support universal health care because “the funding has to come from somewhere, and that could put a strain on the federal treasury.”

White wants health care to be provided by employees or an association of small-business owners that would offer benefits through private providers. She also supports states providing assistance based on the needs of constituents.

White believes in common-sense immigration laws, she said, and wants to end the “the influx of illegal immigrants.”

She supports the Second Amendment.

White said she supports limited government and law and order.

Regarding climate change and the U.S. re-joining the Paris Accord, she declined comment in light of needing to do further research on the issue.

Mike Fricilone (R) versus Marie Newman (D)

3rd Congressional District

The candidates faced off in a virtual forum on Oct. 1, as they run to succeed Lipinski, the Democrat who has represented the district since 2005.

On the federal government’s response to COVID-19, Fricilone said people must follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and he believes wearing a facemask helps slow the spread of the virus. He approved of Trump limiting travel from China, and he remains hopeful for a vaccine in early 2021; he will encourage people to receive the vaccine.

The country needs to address “the hemorrhaging of millions of jobs,” he said, and civil unrest.

He supports the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided over $2 trillion in economic relief in March, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program that helped small businesses continue to pay employees and hire back employees who had been let go due to the pandemic.

Fricilone also wants to see the passage of the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (HEALS) Act providing $1 trillion, Republican-backed legislation that follows the CARES Act, and he supports student-loan forgiveness and direct stimulus paychecks.

“Never in our post-World War II modern history have so many people had to make so many sacrifices,” Fricilone said. “I am confident in the American spirit of ingenuity and believe that this is a temporary, though devastating, setback to our lives and our economy.”

On the recent protests, Fricilone said racism still remains in society, but he hopes future generations “can live in a world without labels.” He is against defunding the police.

Fricilone said the current health care system faces challenges in high costs and too many people being uninsured, but he doesn’t want to tear down the system. Third District residents “should always be able to keep their employer-based and union-negotiated insurance,” he said. He supports policies that lower costs and improve access to health care “while ensuring no one loses access to their doctors and all pre-existing conditions are covered.” Fricilone is critical of Newman’s support of Medicare for All, saying it is too expensive and would hurt people’s access to the care they desire.

Fricilone is pro-life and supports the Second Amendment. He supports legal immigration and said, “We must work to protect our borders.”

Fricilone said his energy plan is intended to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, protect the environment and “unleash” American innovations. He does not support the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels, lower greenhouse gas emissions and guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean-energy industries.

Newman said Trump “has completely failed” in his response to the public health crisis.

She will fight for more funding for tests and personal protection equipment, as well as equal access to a vaccine when it is available.

Newman supports economic relief to workers and small businesses, including more relief checks, rental and mortgage assistance, more PPP funding for small businesses, and funding to state and local governments.

Newman said she participated in peaceful protests against systemic racism, which she called a “serious problem in this country.” She called for direct investments in communities of color.

She wants a ban on police chokeholds, and she said police officers are asked “to do too many jobs.” She wants more partnerships with social workers and mental-health professionals to help officers respond to non-violent situations.

“I do not support defunding the police, but I believe we must address systemic racism by investing more resources in community needs to address poverty and lack of opportunity, which are the root causes of crime,” she said.

Newman believes that health care “is a human right,” and she wants to see the Affordable Care Act protected.

She is pro-choice, saying she trusts women “to make their own health care decisions,” and she believes health insurance should cover birth control.

On immigration, she wants to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows children illegally in the U.S. to remain in the country, and wants to streamline the green-card and immigration process to help those who want to come to the U.S. “safely and legally.”

Newman supports the Second Amendment, but she wants universal background checks for gun sales, a ban on assault weapons and required gun-safety training.

Newman called climate change “an existential threat to public health, the economy and our children’s future.” She wants the U.S to re-join the Paris Accord, and she supports taking concepts from the Green New Deal and “building them into a green stimulus package to address both the economic and environmental crises.”

Elsewhere locally, state reps. Justin Slaughter (D-27th) and Kelly Burke (D-36th) are running unopposed.

State Rep. Bob Rita (D-28th), who represents Blue Island, is also running unopposed.

State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-18th) is halfway into a four-year term and is up for re-election in 2022.

Early voting is underway at locations throughout the city, including the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Voters may use any early-voting location in the city.

via The Beverly Review

October 20, 2020 at 07:40PM

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