6th District Democrats Square Off
Three Democrats vying for the chance to take on incumbent Republican Congressman Peter Roskam debated Saturday.
Three of the Democrats competing for the chance to take on incumbent 6th District Congressman Peter Roskam squared off in a debate Saturday.
The 6th Congressional District includes most of Palatine except for areas near Route 53. The area of Palatine east of Hicks between Dundee Road and Thornhill Lane is in the 8th District. The primary will be March 20.
The event was hosted by the Palatine Township Democratic Organization. The questions ran the gamut of issues — including health care, electoral viability, taxes and job creation. For the most part, the candidates agree across the board, except on the issue of who would have the best chance of defeating Roskam in the November general election.
"I am running because our Congress is not working for us," said Lake Zurich resident Geoffrey Petzel. "They should be looking out for the average person in the district."
Petzel said he is a small business owner whose company buys and renovates properties for sale or rent. He said the economy had hit him just as it had hit everyone else. Petzel said that six months ago he had a heart attack and waited more than an hour to go to the emergency room because his health insurance had lapsed and was fearful of the cost.
"People should never be faced with a decision in their life between life-saving medical care and a mountain of debt," Petzel said to applause. Petzel said the Affordable Health Care Act was simply the beginning and that he would support a single-payer health care system.
Aside from his small business experience, Petzel cited his experience as executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Fox.
He said if elected his focus would be on job creation and protecting Social Security.
Leslie Coolidge, a certified public accountant from Barrington Hills, said Congress' priorities were misplaced.
"We need to focus on job creation and getting the economy moving," she said. "But instead it seems that our current Congress wants to get rid of the deficit on the back of the middle class."
For example, she said that Republicans in Congress proposed a voucher system for Medicare to address deficit reduction but would not consider rolling back the Bush tax cuts.
"Our tax policy is wrong," Coolidge said. "We need to let the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy expire."
Maureen Yates grew up on the outskirts of London and attended London University. She has lived in Barrington for 25 years.
"I was horrified by what has been going on in our Congress," Yates said. "So I decided I had to do something about it rather than enjoy my retirement."
Yates was a champion flower arranger who eventually became a wedding planner. "Believe you me, dealing wtih an anxious bride and her family is a bit like dealing with Congress."
Yates also believes in the need for a single payer health care system, but that she would defend health care reform that already has been passed.
"They want to get rid of it and that is one of the things that I would fight," Yates said.
Democrat Tim Ritter was not in attendance.