About 800 people filled Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim for Monday night's North Shore Jewish Community Candidate forum. Candidates from six house races discussed their values and qualifications during brief, informal introductions. Highlights from the forum are listed below.
IL House 16th District
- Lou Lang (D) - "Not enough of us understand what's happening in Springfield," Lang, the race incumbent, said. "Our lives are dictated more by Springfield than Washington."
Lang also said Illinois has made more jobs in recent years than any of the surrounding states.
"While Illinois has problems, it is doing better," he added.
- Vincent Romano (R) - Absent
IL House 17th District
- Laura Fine (D) - "If you don't give up and you keep trying, your community and your political community won't let you fail," Fine said.
She also talked about the challenges she has faced over time that now motivate her, including the time her husband lost an arm in a car accident. Her husband was in attendance, in the front row.
- Kyle Frank (R) - "Every person in the state owes $31,500," Frank said. "To say this is a great state is disingenuous."
Frank also said he has not received donations from outside, partisan organizations.
IL House 18th District
- Robyn Gabel (D) - The incumbent discussed her accomplishments in office, such as extending health care coverage to all Illinois children, sponsoring and passing a bill that helps chronically ill students finish school and supporting programs that assist business growth.
- Eric Lieberman (R) - "We're buried by a lack of truth," Lieberman said, explaining the role Jewish values had in inspiring him to seek office and improve political transparency.
"I don't buy into the whole party thing," he said. "We have an opportunity to face the challenge of working together."
IL House 57th District
- Elaine Nekritz (D) - "I don't want to look people in the eye and tell them we can't keep promises," Nekritz said. "But we simply can't afford it."
She also mentioned her role on the House Pension Reform Committee and her budgetary proposals designed to cut more than a billion dollars.
"We're very close to a solution," she said.
- Jonathan Greenberg (R) - "If you believe breaking is possible, believe fixing is possible," Greenberg said, quoting a Jewish proverb.
The challenger from Northbrook also listed the state's financial troubles as a motivation for his campaign, including net job losses in the state, median incomes in decline and foreclosures rising.
IL House 58th District
- Scott Drury (D) - "I want to usher in a new era of government," Drury said, based on "credibility and responsibility."
"[Illinois] can do better, we have to work together," he added, promising to reach across the aisle, if elected.
Drury also promised to fight state funds reaching companies that do business with nations hostile to Israel.
- Mark Shaw (R) - "It's rewarding to help everyday people with their everyday problems," Shaw said.
He also talked about a recent endorsement from the Daily Herald
IL House 59th District
- Carol Sente (D) - The incumbent recalled the death of her sister as motivation for public service. She also mentioned some accomplishments in office, including her role in passing state budgets that saved the state billions.
She also discussed her support of a ban on assault weapons and said she would fight to stop state funding towards companies that do business with Iran.
- Sidney Mathias (R) - The former state rep from the 53rd district, Mathias talked about his father's role in teaching community service values.
He also mentioned an endorsement from the Daily Herald.