Democrat Linda Robertson’s campaign attacks GOP state Rep. Dan Ugaste’s record as ‘extreme’

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Incumbent Republican Dan Ugaste’s opponent Democrat Linda Robertson’s campaign in the Nov. 8 General Election has attempted to paint him as “extreme” — but he said his votes show that he is representing the district. The two are vying to represent Illinois’ 65th District in the General Assembly.

Ugaste is an attorney who lives in Geneva, seeking his third term. Robertson is a St. Charles resident and a scientist.

“The district’s residents deserve a clear choice against Ugaste’s extreme policies opposing a woman’s right to choose, his status as a climate denier and his failure to sponsor meaningful change in support of Illinois families by working across the aisle to propose new legislation,” Robertson’s campaign stated in a news release.

Robertson’s campaign provided a list of how Ugaste voted on various bills as evidence of its assertions — but Ugaste said they are merely evidence of him voting the way his constituents want.

“I don’t vote extremes. I work with people and I vote for reasonable laws,” Ugaste said.

Parental notification

Ugaste and Robertson have opposing views on abortion. The Robertson campaign cited Ugaste voting against the Youth Health and Safety Act, a repeal of the parental notification law so that pregnant minors can get abortions without parents being notified.

“What we have is 70% of both sides (parties) supported parental notification,” Ugaste said, in support of his vote.

He also voted against the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which ensures a fundamental right in Illinois to give birth or have an abortion, Robertson’s campaign stated.

Illinois Right to Life rated Ugaste as fully anti-abortion with exceptions for rape and incest and listed Robertson as unknown.

Robertson said she favors abortion rights.

“Reproductive health care decisions should be between a woman and her doctor and not politicians,” Robertson said.

“Illinois is going to have abortion. That is well settled,” Ugaste said. “Voters are concerned with parental rights. The parent no longer has the right to be notified if their child has a major medical procedure? They cannot get a Tylenol in school but not get notice of a major procedure?”

Climate

The two candidates also differ on legislation that would have amended the Environmental Protection Act to prohibit ethylene oxide sterilization operations. Ethylene oxide was used at a now-closed sterilization company, Sterigenics in Willowbrook, and linked to causing cancer.

As a microbiologist, Robertson said, she has worked with ethylene oxide.

“Ethylene oxide is a cold sterilant … and it is extremely dangerous,” Robertson said. “I would have voted to eliminate the use of it by 2023.”

Ugaste and Robertson also differ over legislation that would have required an increase in electric vehicle compatibility in housing developments.

Ugaste, who voted against the measure, said it would have required a costly mandate on property owners.

“If they would put it in themselves to entice people to live there – that would be OK,” Ugaste said. “But to force it where someone might not have an electric car? It makes no sense and it adds to the cost of everyone else’s rent.”

Robertson countered that fossil fuels are causing climate change, leading to extreme storms in winter and summer, and droughts. Climate change is also causing insurance costs to go up, such as in Florida following the damage from Hurricane Ian.

“These are major costs,” Robertson said. “For example, farmers everywhere, including Illinois, are losing money due to changes in the weather patterns. Even the protein content of some crops is changing. These are major costs, and this affects everyone’s wallet.”

Ugaste and Robertson also have opposing views on legislation that would have prohibited townships from regulating wind farms outside of city zoning areas.

The Robertson campaign criticized Ugaste for not voting on legislation that would have addressed the matter. Ugaste said he supports wind farms, just not this particular bill.

“I think the way the bill was drafted took some power away from townships that should have had a say in the process,” Ugaste said.

“Considering the climate crisis we appear to be in, an amendment would make more sense on a bill,” Robertson said. “We do need to look seriously at multiple ways of reducing our carbon impact.”

Working across the aisle

As to working across the aisle, Ugaste said he was chief sponsor on a bill with Democrat Natalie Manley from Romeoville.

“It was her bill and I worked on it with her and got it through the House,” Ugaste said. “It dealt with notification from water systems when certain discharges went through the system.”

Robertson’s campaign, however, criticized Ugaste for not voting against a bill that would have prohibited the possession or sale of so-called ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home.

“I didn’t vote because they brought it at 3:30 or 4 a.m. 15 minutes before,” Ugaste said. “I had no way of comprehending what was in that bill, good or bad. I was not for or against it, at that hour.”

But Robertson said these bills don’t just “pop up.”“Other Republicans were able to vote. I work internationally, I get up at 2 a.m. for international calls in Singapore,” Robertson said. “If that is your job, that is what you have to do.”

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October 21, 2022 at 12:43PM

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