CRYSTAL LAKE – Opinions were flying Saturday afternoon as 8th District U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh hosted the last of his 10 town hall meetings of his 10-day tour.
Residents of the 8th District, as well as political enthusiasts, gathered at McHenry County College to hear what the congressman had to say as well as have a voice of their own.
Walsh, R-McHenry, opened with a request.
“I want an auditorium full of opinions,” he said. “This is not the time for me to talk. This is the time for me to listen.”
Those in attendance had no problem filling Walsh’s request as the opinions of the crowd were at an overabundance.
Popular topics to arise included health care, jobs and the economy.
The first to act was Deeya Roberts, of Lake Zurich, whose question of why the government is not taxing the wealthy was met with applause.
Walsh stated that the tax code needed to be simplified and that he has no intention of supporting a tax raise.
“I don’t want to increase taxes,” Walsh said. “I want to increase taxpayers.”
Roberts’ wife, Dayle, brought up the topic of gay marriage and the rights for those involved in those unions.
Walsh is a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman for economic reasons. He also stated that studies have shown it is more beneficial for a child to be raised in a home where a mother and father are present rather than in same-sex households. The congressman, however, said he was open to further information and research that might disprove that.
Walsh also said that in order to relieve unemployment in Illinois there has to be more of a concentration on small businesses rather than corporations.
“Illinois is one of the least business-friendly states,” Walsh said. “The government is over-regulating businesses and therefore it is suffocating them.”
He said that he felt there should be less regulation on private health care, saying people should be able to shop across state lines for insurance.
“I want to get back to a world where Medicare is an open safety net for more than the just the middle and upper class,” he said.
When the amount of money spent on campaigning was questioned, Walsh suggested that the limits of monetary donations allowed by individuals and packs be removed.
“It’s an embarrassment that Illinois is not a conceal and carry state,” Walsh said. “If the NRA wants to write me a $100,000 check, they should be able to, and everyone should know about it.”
Walsh plans to continue with town hall meetings tours with the possibility of another after the end of recess.
Walsh said he though it was time to lead an effort in Washington to bring both sides together in order to work on the big issues.
“I want people to be able to run their own lives,” Walsh said. “I want to move forward without sacrificing my own principles. If we come together we can find a way to move this thing.”