10th District Democratic Candidates Debate
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Update 4:10 p.m.: The 10th Congressional candidate debate is wrapping up. The candidates are giving closing statements.
See a summary of the debate's questions and answers below.
- What are the most important topics facing the 10th Congressional District?
Tree: Jobs and the environment.
"There's a hunker down mentality, which means people aren't spending."
Tree says the federal government needs to restore hope back to the 10th Congressional District.
Schneider: Sustainable prosperity and sustainable security.
"We can't have one without the other."
Schneider says we need solid and sound education, foreign, economoc and environmental policy.
Sheyman: Economic security.
Sheyman says the country needs to pass federal jobs legislation, support federal investment infrastructure and support local business owners local governments.
He suggests state government be required to keep money from federal government to use as a rainy day fund.
- How do you feel about No Child Left Behind?
Sheyman: We have to reduce our dependence on tests that don't measure growth over time.
Sheyman says there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all solution.
Bavda: "We need to mandate early childhood education."
Bavda suggests using the state tax to pay for it. He says we should "teach to a test worth teaching to."
Tree: "Education is just critical to our success as a global economy."
No Child Left Behind is a perfect example of a government program that went off the rails, Tree says. "We need to get it back on track."
Schneider: "National education is in the national interest."
Schneider agrees with Sheyman, saying the country needs to stop teaching "to the test."
- How do you feel about federal impact aid to schools near military bases?
Tree: "I love it." Tree draws on personal experience and says federal aid is critical.
Schneider: "Impact aid in this county and this district is an example of a shortfall."
Schneider says the country needs to make sure impact aid covers the full cost of education for children near military bases.
"Education cannot and should not be a result of what zipcode you're born in."
Sheyman: "Our federal budget is actually a statement of our moral values."
Sheyman says the country has to focus on educating our students.
"This is a problem in Highland Park. Taxpayers end up picking up the cost because the government isn't doing its part. "
Bavda: "We need to bring our funding levels up to New Trier, not bring those funding levels down."
Bavda wants mandatory early childhood education.
- What should federal role in housing be?
Bavda: To help create a fluid housing market, Bavda says Congress needs to reduce mortgage payments for homes that are under water.
Tree: When you deregulated the private financial sector, reckless greed run amok. "The federal government needs to put rules in place."
Detterent needs to be severe enought hat there won't be a repeat.
Schneider: People with homes under water need time to get their homes out from under water.
We have too many homes under water. It's a national challenge. We need to have people staying in their homes and paying their mprtgages as best as they can.
Sheyman: In the 10th District Sheyman says one in four homes are under water.
"We probably haven't hit rock bottom yet." We need to not just reduce the interest, but the principal.
Federal commitment to making sure people can stay in their homes.
- What plan do you favor for immigration reform?
Schneider: "Comprehensive reform."
We need to be sure that there is pathway to full citizenship for people in the shadows that
Sheyman: "We have about 12 million people living in the shadows right now. They pay taxes but don't collect social security. This hurts those people and people who are here legally."
Sheyman says reform needs to start with the DREAM Act.
Bavda: "I believe in comprehensive immigration reform."
Bavda says the U.S. needs to increase legal immigration and should pass the DREAM Act.
Tree: "Immigration is such a devisive, emotional issue."
Tree says the U.S. need to pass the DREAM Act. "We need to include everyone and get them on the path to citizenship."
- What is your position regarding drilling for oil on federal land?
Bavda: "We need to protect the environment."
It's about making sure we're addressing climate change, he says.
Tree: "I'm with the environment. I oppose drilling on federal lands."
He says we need to focus on people and the planet in addition to profit.
Schneider: "We need to always explore opportunities from our lands," Schneider says, "As long as we can do so safely."
"We should never, ever drill oil from Lake Michigan."
Sheyman: We have a global oil market... drilling in the U.S. will do little to affect that but will put areas in danger. He opposes drilling on federal lands.
Moving from fossil fuels to clean energy, Sheyman says, is an opportunity.
- Why do you believe you can beat Bob Dold in November?
John Tree: "We had eight years of Bush, now it's time for a Tree."
Tree says he's a lifelong public servant already, citing his 20 years in the Air Force.
"I've seen the economy from every angle. We need to win by appealing to our Democrat base and by appeaking to the middle. I can do that."
Brad Schneider: "Elections are won and lost in the middle. Forty percent of the 10th District is in the middle."
Schneider says he can match Dold's experience in terms of running a small business.
Ilya Sheyman: "We need to make a case to this district to fire Congressman Dold."
Sheyman says his appeal is in his clear oppostion to Dold's policies.
"Our campaign has the best ability to win this race because we convey a clear contrast to Dold."
Vivek Bavda: "My economic experience beats Bob Dold's."
Bavda says he knows what it takes to build a campaign, and what it takes to beat right wing extremists like Bob Dold.
Update 2:15 p.m.: Lauren Turelli is a no show.
The Republican candidate for state representative is missing from the forum.
Turelli sent a text message to Highland Park League of Women Voters Co-President Margie Weiss to say an urgent matter came up over the weekend.
Since the League does not allow "empty chair debates," candidate Dr. Mark Neerhof has made an opening statement but that's it.
His three top priorities for Springfield are Medicaid reform, pension reform and reversing the "Democrats' tax increase" that went into effect in 2011.
"The government was never meant to be a health insurance company, but it's trying to act like one."
Slashing money from Medicaid, he says, does not get rid of any bills. He also says Medicaid reimburses so slowly that medical professionals don't want to take Medicaid payments.
"If you don't pay your bills on time then the interest rate starts to go up."
Neerhof also proposes moving the state pension system to a 401(k) program.
He says getting rid of last year's tax increase will help make the state more alluring it out-of-state businesses to come to Illinois.
"There's never been a physician elected to the general assembly in Illinois," Neerhof said. "Please help me change that."
Weiss has an interesting suggestion for what attendees can do for the half hour before the congressional debate.
"I understand there's a bar that's open," she said to laughter from the audience.
Morrison and Sumption Debate Summary:
- Talk about pensions.
Sumption: "I think its egregious, sinful and immoral" that the state legislature did not fund pensions year after year. "The state legislature did not keep its commitment."
He proposed public-private partnerships like financing high voltage transmission lines. He says these could generate millions through royalty revenue.
"Going forward, we need to think creatively... We need a pension that will attract good people to teaching, but we also need to be fair to taxpayers."
Morrison: "Pensions. W're going to spend $4.2 billion this year on the state of pension costs. Reform is way overdue."
She says the state needs to have consensus and agreement with the stakeholders and with people who are eligible and deserving of pensions.
"This problem is not going away."
- Depreciating value and rising property taxes have created problems for seniors. What can we do?
Sumption: "When property values have declined dramatically we need to revealuate the tax bills resident are given for their property values."
Sumption says residents should be paying taxes based on the true value of their property.
Morrison: "People used to have their home as their investment. They're not able to do that right now. Houses just are not moving the way they should."
She lists the Senior Freeze and Homestead Exemption as programs already in place to help residents and suggests changing the est for Senior Freeze to make it more inclusive.
- Should there be cuts in service or payments for doctors in Medicaid?
Sumption: "I think that certain services we may have to consider reigning in the fees that we pay to doctors, but they need to be paid competitively because if they're not they will cease performing those services."
One way Sumption suggests saving money is by looking at Medicaid eligibility and working to promote wellness.
Morrison: "Medicaid is about 25 percent of the state's budget. We need to put everything on the table for where we can cut and where we can't."
Eligibility, Morrison says, is a big question. She says that 20 percent of Illniois residents are on Medicaid. Morrison points out the state has been paying for weight loss surgery.
"We don't have the money to pay for that."
- What do you propose we do for homeless veterans?
Sumption: Everything we can. "Those people put their lives on the line for us and we owe them a debt of gratitude and we owe them our best efforts to make their lives happy, healthy and productive."
Sumption suggests halfway houses, educational opportunities and engaging the private sector.
Morrison: "We have to take each case one at time. They all need help." Morrison cited her help with a veteran as West Deerfield Township Supervisor.
- Do you believe in giving tax credits to businesses to stay in Illinois?
Morrison: "We need to make these kinds of incentives available to small and middle-sized businesses." Morrison also says it should be transparent how you get them.
Sumption: "I think clever CEOs and CFOs have done a very good job about putting policians on the defensive about doing business in Illinois."
Sumption would use a more disciplined approach to see which tax incentives make sense to us and which don't. He says he would use a cost-benefit analysis.
- What is the first bill you'd like to create?
Sumption: Policies that would help get our economy going. He would introduce investment tax credits. "We need to grow our economy and create jobs in the state."
Morrison: "Let's get to work and get people back to the jobs." Morrison wants to work with colleges to identify jobs available and ways to get skills for students quickly and effectively.
Update 1:13 p.m.: The first debate is about to begin, this one between Milton Sumption and Julie Morrison. It looks like there are about 100 people here. The moderator is going over the groundrules.
Sumption and Morrison have just been introduced. Morrison won a coin toss, which means she gets to go first for opening statements.
Earlier: With the primary elections quickly approaching, the League of Women Voters is hosting a debate Sunday for state representative, state senate and congressional candidates. And Patch will be there covering it.
Last, 10th Congressional District Democratic primary candidates Vivek Bavda, Aloys Rutagwibira, Brad Schneider, Ilya Sheyman and John Tree will debate at 3 p.m. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will go on to run against Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) in the general election.
Those in attendance will be able to submit written questions at the forum for the candidates to answer.
You can also post questions for the candidates in the comments section below or email them to email@example.com.
The debates are sponsored by the Union League Club of Chicago, and will be taped by Lake Forest TV and rebroadcast on local networks.
Patch covered the League's debates in April 2011 during Highland Park's municipal election. We're looking forward to providing the same live-blogging and in-depth write-ups we did then.