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Roskam, Coolidge make their cases for Congress

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:43 a.m. CDT

Voters in Algonquin Township will have a new face representing them in the U.S. House of Representatives come January.

Post-census redistricting will put the townshipinto the redrawn 6th District. For the past decade it's been at the eastern tip of a district that stretched west to Iowa. Voters on Nov. 6 will choose whether to re-elect three-term Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, or elect Democratic challenger Leslie Coolidge to the new district, which will curve from southwest Lake and northwest Cook counties through Algonquin Township and northeast Kane County through the center of DuPage County.

Roskam, who is chief deputy whip in the 112th Congress, and Coolidge, a retired certified public accountant, spent time Monday talking with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board about their platforms for the district, which in McHenry County includes Cary , Fox River Grove and much of Crystal Lake, Algonquin and Lake in the Hills.

The two candidates differed significantly on how Congress should handle the budget deficit and the nation's $16 trillion debt. Roskam, R-Wheaton, said he not only supports but also is "actively advocating" the balanced budget plan proposed by Wisconsin congressman and now GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Without reform, he said, the U.S. could soon find itself facing debt crises like the ones engulfing Eurozone states, most notably Greece and Spain.

"If we adopt the Ryan budget, then we're able to get on a path where our federal budget balances and we actually pay off the $16 trillion in debt," Roskam said.

Coolidge, of Barrington Hills, said jump-starting economic growth should be more of a priority. Getting more people back to work, she said, would be a step toward bringing the deficit and debt under control.

"I think first we need to get our economy growing more robustly and get people back to work. The deficit is important, but we have to have a robust economy first and foremost, and I think we tackle the deficit after that," Coolidge said.

The candidates also differed on how to create jobs to lower the nation's unemployment rate, which has been above 8 percent for the past 43 months. Coolidge said the government should create jobs by investing in infrastructure and other projects.

"I believe the best things to do to create jobs are through investment, and I think the president's jobs bill is absolutely on target," Coolidge said.

Roskam said the federal government can create jobs by overhauling its tax code and fighting onerous regulations that get in the way of job creation.

"We need to reform the tax code in its entirety. We have a tax code that is unsatisfactory to most folks who look at it," Roskam said.

The candidates share common ground in their opposition to sequestration, or the automatic $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts over 10 years that are set to start in January because a bipartisan group of lawmakers, called the supercommittee, failed to agree on specific cuts. Roskam said the automatic cuts were not meant to become policy, but were meant to promote development of a plan by providing an undesirable alternative.

"There was nobody during the debate who said this is a good policy. They were meant to be so draconian and so outrageous that they would provoke the supercommittee to act," Roskam said. "But we know the supercommittee didn't act."

Coolidge said Congress needs to compromise on cuts "on an intelligent and measured basis" before sequestration takes effect.

"I think sequestration in general is a bad answer, both on the military side and on the domestic side. Congress needs to deal with the automatic cuts," Coolidge said.

Illinois' new congressional maps put the remainder of McHenry County into the 14th Congressional District, which will cover parts of all the collar counties, as well as parts of Kendall and DeKalb counties. In the 14th District, Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren is running against Democratic challenger Dennis Anderson.

The new maps move both of McHenry County’s existing congressional districts. The 16th District is now farther west and loops around the Chicago area from Wisconsin to Indiana, and the 8th District is now farther south in Cook, Kane and DuPage counties. Longtime 16th District Republican Rep. Don Manzullo lost his re-election bid to freshman Adam Kinzinger in the primary, and 8th District freshman Rep. Joe Walsh is running against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth.

Illinois lost one seat in the U.S. House in the 2010 U.S. Census to faster-growing states. This is the fourth consecutive census in which Illinois lost representation.

On the Net

Visit Election Central at www.NWHerald.com/election to read stories and watch video to learn where the candidates in the Nov. 6 election stand on the issues.

Visit http://shawurl.com/6r5 to view the new boundary maps for Illinois General Assembly and U.S. House of Representative districts, and http://shawurl.com/4q2 to view the new boundary maps for McHenry County Board districts.

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