Rockford Register Star: Congressional candidates face off in radio debate
Health care, police reforms and the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic were some of the issues addressed during Saturday’s debate between 16th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, and challenger Dani Brzozowski, a Democrat from LaSalle.
The debate was hosted by Ottawa radio station WCMY 1430 AM.
Kinzinger, who is seeking his sixth term in Congress, said the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has resulted in skyrocketing health insurance premiums and deductibles and fewer insurance options.
“We were promised that the doctor-patient relationship would be maintained but it wasn’t,” Kinzinger said. “Health care has become more impersonal. It’s become more immune to the free market, which has always worked to bring prices down and quality up through competition. But, we have tried basically to exempt health care from the free market and we’re shocked that the cost continues to go up and quality goes down.′
Brzozowski, who is chairman of the LaSalle County Democrats, chided Kinzinger for repeatedly voting against health care for people with pre-existing conditions and opposing caps on prescription drug costs.
“It seems strange, right, until you look at who funds Adam Kinzinger’s campaign,” she said. “The truth is that over his 10 years in Congress, he has taken $300,000 from Big Pharma. Adam Kinzinger is not beholden to the interests of the people in this district. He is beholden to his corporate donors.”
Brzozowski applauded Kinzinger and other members of Congress for passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill in response to the initial outbreak of the pandemic.
More federal relief is needed, she said.
“In this district, our unemployment rate is persistently higher than the national average,” she said. “In fact, the unemployment rate in the district during some points of the pandemic has been 50% higher than the national average. There are pockets of this district, right now, where unemployment is around 30%. That means 1 in 3 people in communities in Illinois’ 16th District don’t have jobs and they don’t have a way to get a job.”
Earlier testing and federalizing the purchase of personal protective equipment would have allowed the federal government to get a better handle on COVID-19 during the initial stages of the outbreak, Kinzinger said, adding there’s a lot the federal government did right in response to the pandemic.
“The Payroll Protection Program, the CARES Act. Some of the things we have done on that level have been outstanding,” he said.
Both candidates opposed calls to defund police departments in the wake of high profile police brutality cases that have spurred nationwide protests in recent months.
Kinzinger said the entire law enforcement community has been unfairly attacked for the actions of a few officers.
“Every use of force is immediately assumed to be a failure by the police department and it turns into riots and police are shot or ambushed in the riots,” Kinzinger said. “You are not going to be able to hire people that are able to deal with the public in the future. We need to give them the best body armor, the best equipment, the best body cameras to go out and do a very dangerous job the vast majority of us don’t do.”
The full article can be found on the Rockford Register Star website here.