CRYSTAL LAKE – Strengthening the Affordable Care Act, improving the economy and establishing a budget that looks long term were some of the priorities laid out by five Democrats vying for the chance to appear on the November ballot.
The candidates for the 6th and 14th Congressional districts laid out their visions and answered voter questions over the course of an hour and a half at the first of five League of Women Voters forums, which took place Thursday evening at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake. The candidates included Amanda Howland and Robert Marshall in the 6th District and Jim Walz, John Hosta and Jesse Maggitt in the 14th District.
The winners of the Democratic primaries will go on to face either incumbent Republican Rep. Peter Roskam or his challenger Gordon Kinzler for the 6th District seat, or incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren, who is running uncontested in the Republican primary, for the 14th District seat.
Howland, the chairwoman of the College of Lake County and a civil rights and employment attorney, laid out her main issues as putting together a budget and priorities aimed at building the middle class up addressing income inequality, minimum wage and Social Security issues, and getting Congress to put together a budget and take a look at the tax code.
Marshall, a doctor with St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, proposed lowering the age people qualify for Medicare to 62 in an effort to ensure that those that often have difficulties finding jobs still have access to insurance. He pointed to campaign finance reform as his other priority, suggesting matching donations for candidates that receive under a certain amount to help level the playing field.
The Affordable Care Act was a named as priority of two of the Democratic candidates for the 14th District.
Maggitt, a U.S. Army veteran and a business operations efficiency manager, called the Affordable Care Act “phenomenal” and called for strengthening it. He also pointed to making sure the federal government has a viable budget as another priority.
Hosta, a Spring Grove resident and business owner, also pointed to the Affordable Care Act, but he called it a “nice start” that needs to be improved, specifically through lowering the costs of prescriptions by introducing more generic drugs and allowing insurance companies to go nationwide.
His real focus, however, was raising tariffs to protect U.S. industry, a move he said would bring jobs back and has been successful in the past.
Walz proposed raising the minimum wage to a “living wage,” which he said would help the economy by putting more money into the hands of consumers, and strengthening Social Security, adding that, “Nobody should have to worry after decades of working hard, providing for their family, hopefully sending their children to higher education.”