Candidates in Illinois House District 83 Democratic primary talk about gun violence, taxes

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories looking at contested races in the Aurora area in the June 28 primary election.

The race in the Democratic primary for state representative in Illinois House District 83 is between Matt Hanson and Arad Boxenbaum.

Incumbent Keith Wheeler is running unopposed in the Republican primary in District 83.

The primary election is set for June 28.

Hanson, 49, of Aurora, said that issues in the district include the economy and “the pressures that the middle class is feeling every day” along with the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade and also gun reform and public safety.

Matt Hanson.
(Matt Hanson / HANDOUT)

“The economy – inflation and the pressure people feel every day at the grocery store and the gas pump and with their paychecks are all concerns,” Hanson said. “The specter of reversing Roe v. Wade – women’s reproductive rights and the rights that may be challenged should that be overturned – they could all be in jeopardy.”

Public safety and gun reform, he said, are also priorities given recent events in Texas, he said.

Police, Hanson said, “have to have the resources to combat any crime or violence that is out there.”

“At the state legislative level I believe that common sense gun reforms are worth discussing and worth pursuing,” he said.

If elected, Hanson said he “wants to continue to rebuild Illinois’ economic house.”

“We need to start by paying our bills on time and making sure we have a rainy day fund so if something like the pandemic hits again we’re ready for that,” he said. “We need to fund our schools at every level and also invest in our infrastructure. That builds a long-term future.”

Hanson also cites having “better access to mental health resources and insurance for middle class families” as important issues.

Boxenbaum, 21, of Geneva, said that voters in the 83rd District are concerned about gun violence prevention, reproductive rights and taxes.

“I recently organized a rally with my local activist groups in light of the recent shooting in Texas and gun violence prevention was the reason I got involved in this (the election) to begin with,” he said.

Arad Boxenbaum.
(Arad Boxenbaum / HANDOUT)

Regarding taxes, Boxenbaum said he has a different perspective about the current tax structure given his age.

“The taxes that we’re seeing are something that I and others my age will be living with the rest of our lives,” he said. “Our schools are fantastic – our property taxes do what they are supposed to do but I think on the income tax it’s incredibly disappointing that the fair tax amendment failed. I believe when the time comes the state needs to go after that as the state of Illinois has incredibly high taxes when it comes to property and income taxes. We don’t do a good enough job of holding the rich and corporations accountable.”

If elected, Boxenbaum said he would like to focus on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, working to promote clean energy and focusing on ethics issues in Springfield.

Drug costs shouldn’t force people to make choices between buying food or needed medication, Boxenbaum said.

“I have family members who are diabetic and people shouldn’t have to choose whether or not they’re going to buy groceries or insulin,” he said.

Regarding climate issues, Boxenbaum said “there should be increased incentives to bring in clean energy manufacturing and making sure we’re opening new clean energy plants with good paying union jobs.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

via Chicago Tribune

June 9, 2022 at 08:28AM

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