Republican and Democratic voters alike will have a choice Tuesday regarding who runs in the Nov. 8 election for the 6th Congressional District.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, faces a primary challenge from Gordon Kinzler of Glen Ellyn. Democratic candidates Amanda Howland of Hawthorn Woods and Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge are both seeking the Democratic nomination.
Roskam, a lawyer, is seeking a sixth term representing the district, which includes Algonquin Township in McHenry County as part of its comma-like curl cut through the suburbs of Lake, Cook, Kane and DuPage counties.
He has made a name for himself as chairman of a subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee tasked with investigating the apparent targeting of conservative groups for increased IRS scrutiny, and his name was whispered as a possible successor to former Speaker John Boehner in the wake of his resignation.
“During the course of my time in Congress, I have a proven track record of legislative accomplishments,” Roskam said. “I have worked with other members, regardless of their political or ideological positions, to advance legislation that is important to the citizens of the 6th District, the state of Illinois, and the nation as a whole.”
But Kinzler, a kidney transplant surgeon and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, said he begs to differ and questioned some of Roskam’s more recent votes.
“I am the real conservative in the race,” Kinzler said. “I would not have voted for the omnibus budget bill [in December], which blew another $1.1 trillion hole in the debt ceiling, fully funded Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, quadrupled the H-2B visa program, had no riders stopping the influx of poorly vetted Middle Eastern refugees, and gave away any leverage the Republican House had over an out-of-control executive branch for the coming year.”
Both candidates believe that the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed and replaced – the House has passed at least 60 bills aimed at repealing, rolling back or delaying implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature law.
They differ, however, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Kinzler opposed it, alleging its secrecy makes it ripe for “crony capitalism” abuses. Roskam still is reviewing the specifics of the deal, while voicing his strong support for increasing opportunities for increasing trade, which supports 20 percent of Illinois jobs.
To improve jobs in the district, Roskam reiterated his longtime call for an overhaul of the 70,000-page federal tax code, which he said “stifles innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Besides repealing the health care law, Kinzler supports lowering taxes and putting a stop to both illegal immigration and the import of foreign workers.
The winner of the primary will run against either Howland, an attorney and College of Lake County trustee, or Marshall, a physician and Vietnam War veteran.
Howland said she wants to reform the tax code to minimize loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid taxes, and as a college trustee will prioritize solving the problem of excessive student debt.
“Sixth District families want to be treated fairly, feel secure and help their children prosper,” Howland said. “But, a hyperpartisan Congress has refused to address the issues strangling our middle class.”
Howland supports improving the job climate by fixing laws that she said encourage businesses to send jobs overseas or keep profits abroad to avoid taxes, but also said that Congress needs to embrace more fiscal discipline to promote job growth.
Marshall’s plan for job growth is less orthodox – he supports relocating the U.S. capitol from Washington, D.C., to central Illinois, which he said would create “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
“The Washington-New York City power axis has had a monopoly on federal government power for the past 200 years and we must break up this power axis for the benefit of the country,” Marshall said.
Both Democratic candidates admit that the health care law needs reform, but neither Howland nor Marshall support its repeal. Marshall outright opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, while Howland is more reserved.
She supports leveling the playing field when it comes to the tariffs charged to American exports, but noted that previous trade pacts promised new jobs and better opportunities for American workers, but failed to deliver on them.