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Sixth District congressional candidates speak at forum

Candidates in the 6th Congressional District, Amanda Howland, Robert Marshall and Jay Kinzler, participate in a League of Women's Voters forum at the Kane County Branch Court on Thursday.
Candidates in the 6th Congressional District, Amanda Howland, Robert Marshall and Jay Kinzler, participate in a League of Women's Voters forum at the Kane County Branch Court on Thursday.

ST. CHARLES – Two Republicans and two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination in the March 15 primary in the 6th Congressional District.

Democrats Amanda Howland of Lake Zurich and Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge are vying for their party's nomination, while Republican Gordon "Jay" Kinzler of Glen Ellyn is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton. 

The candidates fielded questions for about 90 minutes Thursday at the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County, held at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles. About 30 people attended.

As they all hope to unseat Roskam, each made a case this week for why they would do a better job in Congress than the five-term conservative Roskam, who did not attend

Howland, a lawyer, is a former teacher. Marshall and Kinzler are both doctors. 

"I am absolutely disgusted with what's been going on with both sides," Howland said, regarding the gridlock between Democrats and Republicans. "The middle class has been kind of left in the lurch. Opportunities for all of us – for education and for growth and for having a livable wage and being able to provide for our families and have our children be better off than we were – has just gone down the drain."

Howland said as a mediator, she said she would get both sides to agree on moving the country forward. Howland also called out Roskam for refusing to meet with her, as a trustee for the College of Lake County, along with the board president and college president, who all went to Washington, D.C., recently.

"He, for the sixth out of seven years, refused to meet with us," Howland said. "We met with everyone else except him."

In an email, Roskam's campaign stated that Congress was in session Thursday, which is why he was not at the forum.

Marshall, a Vietnam veteran, said he was running because he was opposed to "all these wars we are involved in."

"We made the same mistake in the [Iraq] that we did in Vietnam," Marshall said. "We have to call an end to it. We must withdraw our troops and end our involvement there."

Marshall said continuing military action in the Middle East radicalizes young people "and that is why they terrorize our country with suicide bombers and suicide killers."

Marshall also called for an end to the war on drugs as a failure that has cost the nation billions. Marshall called for legalizing marijuana nationally, seeing whether a single-payer health system would be feasible and addressing income inequality.

"A small number of people control more than 50 percent of our wealth in this country," Marshall said. "You give them unlimited power to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, and you've lost your democracy. It's an oligarchy."

Kinzler is a transplant surgeon who is president of the medical staff at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, the Glen Ellyn Park District Board president and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

"If I'm elected, my plans would be to strengthen our military … strengthen our borders and improve our health care system," Kinzler said.

Also criticizing the incumbent, Kinzler said Roskam gets most of his campaign donations from banks and corporations outside the district.

"Why [is he] getting so much money and giving so much influence to people who don't even live in our district? " Kinzler said.

Kinzler criticized Roskam's voting record, saying it doesn't reflect "most of the values of the people in our district … so I decided to take on this … career politician."

Specifically, Kinzler said Roskam takes credit for "cracking down" on the IRS by cutting funding.

"That was in 2011 during the sequester," Kinzler said. "In the last omnibus bill, which he voted for, he increased funding to the IRS by $290 million.

Video of the forum will be broadcast on BATV.

On the Web

Visit our website at for details about candidates running in the March 15 primary election.

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