La Salle News Tribune: Congressional candidates square off on the air

Health care, immigration, Donald Trump among issues

In their first of potentially several debates, Illinois 16th Congressional District candidate Sara Dady (D-Rockford) and incumbent U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican, squared off over local airwaves Monday morning.

Kinzinger and Dady debated on numerous issues during the forum, hosted by Ottawa radio station WCMY and the Ottawa Times newspaper.

Moderating the event were Rick Koshko and Ethan Kruger of WCMY and Derek Barichello of the Ottawa Times.

Here is where the candidates stood on issues:


On town hall meetings, and accountability with constituents

Kinzinger: The congressman said a tactic currently being used by Democrats is labeling Republicans holding office as inaccessible. Kinzinger said he has done about 150 different meetings in the district over the past year on topics such as opioids, business and agriculture. He said his office is looking at new and innovative ways to reach the public because as a Congressman he is in Washington, D.C. about four days a week.

“Just because you hear people repeat a claim that town halls are not being done does not make it a fact,” he said.

Dady: The Democratic candidate said she has made a commitment already to hold four different town hall meetings with Kinzinger so they can openly field questions from constituents in a public forum.

Dady said she has emailed Kinzinger’s office in the past, and while the office did respond, she felt her concern was not addressed. “It’s not been a substantive response. And that’s how a majority of the constituents feel,” she said. “You have to talk to them and get their perspective.”

Rebuttal: Kinzinger said when his office is formally contacted by Dady’s office to host town hall meetings, they will work to try to iron out the details.


On the opioid issue

Dady: The opioid problem starts with healthcare, Dady said.

“In order to treat the opioid epidemic we have to treat it as a health issue,” she said. “We need universal healthcare in this country.”

Having consistent medical treatment available would be beneficial, and that starts with commitment from the federal government, which has not happened, she said.

She also said investing in schools and higher-paying jobs would help.

Kinzinger: Kinzinger said both Democrats and Republicans have been working well together on the problem.

He said funding has gotten better, with around $50 million in grants going to the state of Illinois recently. But he said removing the stigma at the community level and getting people the help when they come to the realization they need it is important.

“How do we get that magic minute to get someone in the treatment facility?” he said. “I think we can solve funding issues to some extent, but communities need to take strong approach too and I think we are seeing that.”

Rebuttal: Dady said the “Just say no” policy to drugs has not worked and that treating the situation as a mental health issue that needs expanded healthcare is a potential solution.


On healthcare

Kinzinger: Keeping in line with his past stance, Kinzinger said he was not a supporter of the Affordable Care Act.

“I would still love to repeal and replace the healthcare law,” he said.

Kinzinger said premiums have gone up for a lot of constituents in the country and he believes a free market healthcare system would be beneficial. He also said tort reform would allow doctors to practice medicine without fear of lawsuits.

Dady: Dady said health care costs are a huge burden for business owners like herself. She said there really aren’t any negotiations with healthcare providers and it’s a big expense that hurts potential expansion and economic growth.

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The full article can be found on the La Salle News Tribune website here.