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ST. CHARLES – Gun control, civil disobedience and the COVID-19 pandemic were a few of of the topics discussed during a Zoom candidate forum Thursday for the 65th District State House seat.
The forum was hosted by the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Committee. Incumbent state Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-St. Charles, is running against Democratic opponent Martha Paschke, of Geneva. Ugaste, who also lives in Geneva, was first elected in 2018 and is finishing his first term in office.
The district includes portions of Huntley, Hampshire, Pingree Grove, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia.
Ugaste said he is pro-Second Amendment.
"I believe in the right to bear arms, but I do believe in reasonable restrictions placed upon those who are owners," he said. "And we need to focus and concentrate on those who are allowed to own weapons."
For example, Ugaste said he supports universal background checks.
"What we need to address and find out are ways to keep people who are mentally ill from owning guns," he said.
Paschke said she also believes people have the right to own a gun.
"But I think that we actually have to work for measures to protect people," she said. "Our children deserve to be protected. They should not be practicing their deaths in school."
She believe assault weapons should be banned.
"Nobody needs assault rifles that are made to kill large numbers of people," Paschke said.
Regarding rioting and civil disobedience across the country, she said there needs to be "honest and difficult discussions about how we move forward to build up our communities, not break down our communities."
"We need to work together to build each other up," Paschke said.
Ugaste said the rioting and looting has to be brought to an end.
"For any civilized society to succeed, you have to have order within the society," he said. "So we need to take the appropriate step necessary to bring that to an end so that people feel safe...The protesters that are protesting peacefully absolutely need to be heard and supported. But what we need to do is address the problems in meaningful ways."
Ugaste criticized Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The governor has acted in a way in which he believes he has sole authority over everything," he said. "In order to get the best ideas out there, I think all people, all members of leadership and all the members of the legislature need to be heard."
In contrast, Paschke commended Pritzker for putting health and safety first.
"We know from experience that when he prioritize the health response in a pandemic, the economy will recover faster," she said. "If we could all work together and follow science and listen to reason, we would be in a much better place. That said, I think we are headed in the right direction."