League of Women Voters of McHenry County hosts Illinois Senate candidate forum

League of Women Voters hosting next event Thursday

Six candidates for seats in the Illinois Senate sounded off on abortion, property taxes, term limits, health care, the state’s budget shortfall, marijuana legalization and more at a forum Monday night.

The League of Women Voters of McHenry County, in partnership with McHenry County College, is offering a handful of candidates forums ahead of the November general election. Candidates for the 33rd, 26th and 32nd Districts appeared Monday to talk about their views on a variety of issues.

Incumbent Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, faces off against Tom Georges, D-Mundelein, in the race to represent Illinois’ 26th Senate District, which includes the southeastern portion of McHenry County.

Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry, faces Mary Mahady, D-McHenry, in the election to take over the 32nd District, which includes parts of Crystal Lake, Woodstock, McHenry, Round Lake Beach, Lake Villa and Antioch. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, currently holds the seat, but she announced her resignation in August, effective Sept. 30.

Althoff is in the running to represent McHenry County Board District 4. Wilcox currently is one of the board’s District 4 representatives.

Nancy Zettler, D-Algonquin, is facing Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, to represent the 33rd Senate District. Karen McConnaughay stepped down from the seat earlier this year, and DeWitte was selected in July to complete her term.

The district includes Lake in the Hills, Huntley and Algonquin.

The six candidates seemed to agree Monday on at least a few things, including the need for Illinois to balance its budget and reduce property taxes.

Some touted the benefit that government consolidation could bring.

“We need to look at consolidation across the board, including of the school districts,” McConchie said. “I don’t understand why we have [separate] kindergarten through eighth grade and high school districts. We need to push toward unit districts.”

Differing opinions emerged when it came to abortion, marijuana legalization, gun control and the difference between tax incentives and corporate welfare.

Zettler came out strong in opposition to so-called corporate welfare and said she wants to represent both Democrats and Republicans.

“I am here to make sure people aren’t pushed aside in a rush to make sure the corporate interests in the state and district are satisfied,” she said. “I would like to see an increase in taxing corporations and billionaires.”

DeWitte, a former mayor of St. Charles, spoke about the possible benefit that investment and incentives could bring to a community, and he referenced the revitalization of St. Charles’ downtown business district.

“I believe smart economic development can be done,” he said. “It’s called incentives, not corporate giveaways.”

Georges also said economic development is key, but he added that he wants to promote fiscal responsibility and compromise between the parties.

“We need to shave off the right, shave off the left and meet in the middle so we can get things done,” he said.

Wilcox, a retired Air Force colonel who served in the military for 24 years, as well as his opponent, Mahady, who is McHenry Township’s assessor, had some differing opinions when it came to gun control.

Wilcox said he would like to see increased security and more school resource officers, but Mahady has other ideas.

“The answer isn’t putting more guns in schools,” Mahady said. “The answer is common-sense gun safety laws.”

The candidates for Illinois’ 64th House District and McHenry County clerk will take part in the next forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of McHenry County. A candidate meet-and-greet will begin at
6:30 p.m., and the forum will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at McHenry County College’s Luecht Conference Center, 8900 Route 14,
Crystal Lake.

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