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50th District candidates debate issues

AURORA – There were few sparks at Wednesday’s debate featuring those candidates seeking the GOP nomination for the 50th district.

The Kane County Young Republicans organization sponsored the debate, which was to feature the four Republican candidates vying for the 50th District state representative post – Julia Cosimo, Beth Goncher, Bill Keck and Keith Wheeler.

However, only Keck and Wheeler were able to attend the debate.

The seat currently is held by Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, who has announced she would not seek re-election. Hatcher has served since 2009, and the primary election is in March.

The 50th District covers much of southwest Kane County and northern Kendall County.

Keck, of Sugar Grove, retired in December after 20 years as county auditor.

Wheeler is an Oswego businessman and former Kendall County GOP Chairman. He challenged Hatcher in the Republican primary in the 50th District in 2010.

Keck and Wheeler answered a series of questions posed by Kane County Young Republicans Chairman Timothy Stoll. On the question of term limits, Keck said he supported term limits for legislators.

“There should be term limits,” Keck said. “Eight years should be enough.”

Wheeler said he already has signed a petition calling for eight-year term limits for state legislators.

“I think that is a fair amount,” he said.

In answering another question, the two candidates expressed their opposition to red-light cameras.

“They are an intrusion into our personal freedoms,” Wheeler said.

Keck said he also is opposed to the use of red-light cameras.

“It appears to be a revenue source rather than for safety,” he said.

Wheeler and Keck also were asked how they would improve the K-12 education system. Wheeler said he favors competition to improve education.

“I’m a fan of charter schools and home schooling,” he said.

Keck said “we need to constantly monitor the educational process.”

Two other declared candidates are Goncher of Aurora and Cosimo of Oswego.

Goncher served as legislative aide to State Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, for 12 years. Cosimo is an administrator at Benedictine University in Lisle.

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