Election 2022: IL District 76 candidates Yednock, Haskell sound off on abortion, union amendment, SAFE-T Act

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Editor’s Note: The following is Part 2 of a three-part series featuring candidate stories from a three-night virtual forum event hosted by the DeKalb County League of Women Voters and WNIJ radio and the DeKalb Public Library. Read part 1 here. Read part 2.5 here. Visit www.shawlocal.com/news/election for more.

DeKALB – State spending, abortion and the SAFE-T Act were among the issues debated during this week’s forum for Illinois Representative District 76 candidates.

The event makes for the second in a three-part virtual forum series put on by the DeKalb County League of Women Voters, the DeKalb Public Library and WNIJ.

Incumbent candidate Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, is vying to stave off challenger Jason Haskell, a Republican from Peru, in the lead up to the Nov. 8 election.

Yednock said he believes the top three legislative issues facing his district are related to infrastructure, state spending and broadband technology.

“In our communities down here in the 76th, we always feel like we’re left out of the resources in this state,” Yednock said. “Constituents sometimes have to drive 30 minutes or more to go to a hospital. We have an aging population. We’re concerned about losing access for them to hospitals if they close. We need more support for elderly care. We definitely have an aging infrastructure here in the 76th district”

Haskell said he believes the district’s top issues are related to public safety, state spending and government transparency. He said repealing the SAFE-T Act is his number one priority. The legislation passed in July 2021 is part of a larger crime bill which includes the elimination of cash bail, a measure set to go into effect Jan. 1 that’s spurred partisan debate ahead of the election.

“So, safer streets. The war against our police officers needs to stop,” Haskell said. “The second item would be responsible spending. … We need responsible spending. The last thing would be government transparency. We have seen the corruption in our politics create such a distrust in our elected officials. We really need to open up transparency as to how we do things in Springfield.”

Both candidates used the forum to share what’s motivating them to run for elected office.

“Springfield, it’s a mess right now,” Haskell said. “We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over again for decades, and it’s proven not to work. We haven’t had people in office that wanted to take on the elephant in the room, which is our pension crisis.”

Yednock said he believes more bipartisanship could help move the state forward.

“If I had a project whatsoever by being in Springfield – other than representing my communities – it would be to try to get us to work across the aisle,” Yednock said. “I have had some bipartisan legislation quite a bit. Even my first term, a few bills that I got through many of my colleagues said, “How did you do that?’ I said, by crossing the aisle and talking to my colleagues on the other side and saying, ‘I would like to have your vote on this. This is something good for your community as well as mine.’ ”

Yednock said he supports Illinois Amendment 1, which in November will ask voters whether they support an amendment to the state constitution that would include language to ensure workers have a right to unionize and bargain for benefits, wages, safety and other workplace measures.

“Part of it was the reason I ran in the first place,” Yednock said. “We know that through plenty of data and studies show that when you have the access to be in a union and the right to be in a union, you have a better outcomes. It’s even bigger for people of color, minorities, women. So, having the right to join and form a union is fundamental for me.”

Haskell said he disagrees with amending the Illinois Constitution, arguing that federal law already protects workers.

“Everybody should have the right to collectively bargain for better wages and fringe benefits from the employer, which is what the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 creates,” Haskell said. “It’s a federal labor law that has jurisdiction over this matter at hand. I don’t think we need amendment one to be changed to our constitution. I think that that takes us down uncharted paths. … Ultimately, I think that it gives a select few with a political agenda a lot of power.”

Both Yednock and Haskell were asked whether President Joe Biden won the 2020 election or whether mass voter fraud had occurred.

“He won the election without a doubt,” Yednock said.

“Yes, Joe Biden won the 2020 election,” Haskell said. “He is currently our commander and chief.”

Both Haskell and Yednock were asked what, if any, changes to legislature they would like to make with regard to reproductive health and abortion.

“I’m pro-life but with the legislation that’s been passed and with the majority that the Democrats have in Springfield, there’s nothing that could be done on my end,” Haskell said. “That’s why I want to focus on safer streets, responsible spending and government transparency.”

“I would just say that individuals should have full bodily autonomy and make their own reproductive choices, full stop,” Yednock said.

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October 14, 2022 at 06:58PM

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