Seven Democrats are all vying for the nomination for the 6th Congressional District of Illinois.
Republican Peter Roskam has held the seat since 2007, but the district is one Democrats believe they can flip.
In a race of seven, each candidate is looking to stand out, and they got that chance when more than 300 people came out to a forum at Glenbard South High School hosted by the League of Women Voters, Glen Ellyn.
Candidates answered questions on topics including universal health care, climate change, and how they plan to win the general election if nominated.
One hot topic addressed was gun control. All of the candidates support reinstating the assault weapons ban, but they also brought up several other plans.
Scientist Sean Casten supports stricter regulations for gun owners.
“I would like to see us regulate guns in the same way we regulate cars,” Casten said. “If responsible gun owners want to have a gun, fine. You need a license, registration and insurance, and if somebody uses your gun in a crime, you are liable in the same way you are with your car.”
Kelly Mazeski is a member of the board of the Illinois Environmental Council. Ryan Huffman was previously an employee of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Both support repealing the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which mandates that injury prevention and control funds at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must not be used to advocate or support gun control.
“We’ve got to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which doesn’t let the federal government study the issue of gun violence for the public health crisis that it is. We’ve got to get that,” said Huffman.
“Repeal the Dickey Amendment so that we can invest money in research on this country. The Republicans passed the Dickey Amendment in 1996 to prevent funding for gun violence. That’s got to stop,” said Mazeski.
Becky Anderson Wilkins says as a Naperville City Councilwoman she has stood for gun control in the past.
“I stood up to the NRA and I suggested we have a gun turn in program in the City of Naperville because if we don’t think that these types of mass shootings or things like this can’t happen in our communities, they can,” Anderson said.
Attorney Jennifer Zordani spoke against President Trump’s idea of arming teachers.
“We also cannot arm our teachers. That is wrong. Education in America needs support and I am absolutely opposed to this administration’s NRA-bought agenda,” said Zordani.
Carole Cheney is a former chief of staff to U.S. Representative Bill Foster. Amanda Howland is an attorney and former elementary school principal. She ran and was defeated by Roskam in 2016.
Both Cheney and Howland say gun violence is part of a larger mental health issue.
“We really need to start working on our mental health issues in this country to make sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of people who have serious mental health issues,” said Howland.
“We need to treat the issue of gun violence like the public health epidemic that it is,” said Cheney. “We need to engage in a comprehensive plan in this country.”
Sitting Congressman Peter Roskam is running unopposed for the Republican nomination and will face one of these seven candidates in the general election in November.
Early voting runs through March 19 and primary Election Day is March 20.
Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.
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