'I Need to Go Back,' Says 2nd District Candidate Debbie Halvorson

Halvorson explains why she's running again and how she feels about Toi Hutchinson. She also talks about her controversial stance on gun control.

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, I met with Debbie Halvorson at her campaign office in Steger.

During the interview, Halvorson focused heavily on finishing what she started as a U.S. representative for the 11th District. She talk about returning to Washington to continue supporting President Barack Obama on divisive issues, including healthcare. At the same time, Halvorson explained why she diverges with Obama on the assault weapons ban.

Visit Debbie Halvorson's candidate profile on Patch to watch the extended video of the interview.

Key Issues


Halvorson said her No. 1 concern is jobs in the 2nd District. She spoke at length about creating good-paying opportunities within the district and giving employers better incentives to hire local. Halvorson also stressed the importance of equal opportunities and making sure everyone gets a fair shot.


Halvorson said she would like to see vocational education back in schools, noting that not everyone will go to college. She said a key goal for her would be to prepare high school students for jobs.

Gun Control

The former U.S. representative said she does not believe an assault weapons ban will solve the problem of gun violence, citing Cook County's ban as an example. Halvorson said she would rather focus on using better background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. She also said she would like to see more attention go to mental health.

Noteworthy Quotes

"Cook County has an assault weapons ban an they have the highest murders in the country. Over 500 ... I don't think one more law against law-abiding citizens is going to do anything to get guns out of the hands of criminals." - On the proposed assault weapons ban.

"I watched my mom battle breast cancer without health insurance. I knew and I was focused on going to Congress to stand with our president to pass health care. I need to go back to make sure it's implemented." - On her reasons for returning to Washington.

The Takeaway

Halvorson is one of just three candidates in this race that has run a campaign for the 2nd District seat before. She learned the lay of the land last year, during her campaign against Jesse Jackson Jr. She also has experience as a U.S. representative.

On the flip side, Jackson defeated Halvorson pretty easily last year, and some could argue that she isn't the right fit for the 2nd District.

What do you think? Has Debbie Halvorson's experience and unique stance on some of the issues swayed you to vote for her? Tell us in the comments!

NEXT: Ernest B. Fenton explains his background and why it had readied him to represent the 2nd District.

Return to our intro page to learn more about this series and see the full list of candidates.

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Joseph H. Hernandez February 04, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I would hardly consider her views on gun control controversial. A controversial stance for Illinois would be that she supports "Constitutional" open carry. In other words everyone has the right to purchase firearms and carry them on them at all times.
SouthSide February 04, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I'm voting for Toi Hutchinson.
Christopher Paicely (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Good point, Joseph. The use of the word "controversial" to describe her stance is only meant within the context of this primary race, given that she seems to disagree with nearly all the other candidates and has been the subject of scrutiny because of that. I agree that her views aren't controversial overall though.
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. February 04, 2013 at 02:46 PM
Did she start out speaking about jobs, then education? Did she say under-employed? Who else has recognized UNDER EMPLOYED? Did she say "what is the best interest for citizen"? Did she recognized that mental health is an issue? Yeah She said it LOUD and CLEAR. She addressed real issues. The only reason decades of gun violence in America is culminating into an "issue" now is because of purposeful misdirection away from our epidemic issue of joblessness. We are so easily swayed by main stream media that we forget or ignore historical data. I think Debbie has not been swayed from real issues. The job of elected officials is to filter and enlarge, filter the garbage and enlarge real issues. I think Debbie recognizes this responsibility and is doing it well. No one has has spoken more clearly about our REAL issues. Nothing is more admirable and responsible than focusing on REAL problems instead of jumping on the political bandwagons. DEBBIE HALVORSON HAS MY VOTE!
Beverly C. February 04, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Arthur, I totally agree. Debbie has my vote!
ParShooter February 04, 2013 at 04:15 PM
There is only one reason why some would consider Debbie a bad fit for the district. Those are the same people that thought that Gus, Mel and Jessie were good fits. Need more be said?
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. February 04, 2013 at 04:26 PM
I did not vote for Gus, Mel, or Jessie.
June Whitehand February 04, 2013 at 04:50 PM
What decided that for you?
BUTCH February 04, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Nor did I but a lot of folks did and will waste another vote unless it is for a GOP candidate,, the problem in the 2 Illinois is they do not know what a represenative in congress does , if he is Black he is one of them and therefore the gravy train may begin any day now! If u expect any FREE STUFF get a GOP REP IN, the Tparty will see to it that u get it because u are so exceptional!
Joe Lake February 04, 2013 at 09:06 PM
The race is on to the Feb. 26, 2013 primary election. Joe Lake, Chicago
Pam February 05, 2013 at 12:29 AM
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. (MLK, Jr. 1929-1968) "Active" candidate CHARLES RAYBURN has my vote. Here's why. CHARLES RAYBURN, married to the same woman for more that 32years has sent all three of his children to college and is not in this race merely to engage in the domestic politics of the 2nd congressional district of Illinois. (more to come)
Pam February 05, 2013 at 12:37 AM
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. (MLK, Jr. June 23, 1963) CHARLES RAYBURN, has been a fully licensed insurance producer for the State of Illinois since 1976. He took his insurance license test weeks after Richard J. Daley Jr. took his insurance exams. Candidate RAYBURN passed all of his the first time arround. As we all know Richard J. Daley Jr. flunked all of his. (more to come)
Pam February 05, 2013 at 12:44 AM
"Unearned Sufffering Is Redemptive. (MLK Jr. 1929-1968) Candidate CHARLES RAYBURN has my VOTE because he proved at the Rich Central so called debate, that he is not only willing to legally fight for his right to be recognized as an "ACTIVE" candadite rather than as a "SPECTATOR;" but his is also willing to teach our kids that who ever they and their parents send to congress must be willing to die for something. (more to come)
Pam February 05, 2013 at 12:47 AM
CHARLES RAYBURN has my VOTE because CHARLES RAYBURN is not running for congress DCP, just to engage in "Church Building," although our churches are in dire need of such. (more to come)
Pam February 05, 2013 at 12:53 AM
As much as candidate CHARLES RAYBURN loves a good social uplifting; CHARLES RAYBURN refuses to limit his work to just participating in "FEEL GOOD" philosophical retoric. That's why I'm voting EARLY fo candidate CHARLES RAYBURN on February 11th, 2013. (more to come)
Pam February 05, 2013 at 01:05 AM
What most of you good people don't know about candidate CHARLES RAYBURN is that in addition to getting the 57th inauguration committee to commit to allowing the South Shore Drill Team, The Rich Central High School Band, The Soul Children of Chicago, and Hadiya Pendleton to perform at the 57th Presidential Inauguaration Ceremony; is that CHARLES RAYBURN stayed in the 2nd congressional district, going to church after church, personally delivering public service announcements, that voters needed regardless of who they were thinking about voting for. That's why each member of these churches have committed to VOTE for "ACTIVE" candidate CHARLES RAYBURN. (more to come)
Dinkum February 05, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Pam, good lord please stop. While he deserves kudos for a long term marriage, raising a family, and being an "insurance producer" (well, not sure about that one), this doesn't qualify him to hold a elected office. Nor does his involvement with social causes or school bands. Finally, any candidate or elected official needs to keep church and state separate.
Dinkum February 05, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Well, she may have just responded to the sequence of the questions AWW. High paying jobs require credentials, higher skills, education. The two are linked. IF her #1 concern is employment she needs to do her homework on this. The government needs to reduce business regulation and legislation, not provide incentives.
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. February 05, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I agree Dinkum, I think it is also agreeable that having this as a platform at least gives the conversation and possibly legislation the needed momentum. To think that anyone (other candidates) would approach housing issues ( and actually legislate on it) with out attacking the lack of having employment that provides living wage salaries is ridiculous. We had Blue Collar high paying jobs, and we can have that type of employment again; you are right it require a different set of laws and regulation. I am an advocate of education, I firmly believe it brings us out of the tangled jungle of ignorance. Rising above ignorance helps create a better electorate. These interviews are the FIRST IMPRESSION for many, I cannot imagine how someones saying "we need more female politicians" would think that is an issue worth including in your first impression. Thanks for pointing out your views, I hope my comments does not infer to be a defensive or offensive response. I am simply tired of politics as usual, and I want representation that reflect my concerns.
ParShooter February 05, 2013 at 12:42 PM
You get what you tolerate....Mike Ditka! And we have tolerated far too much tomfoolery. Time to send someone to Washington that will represent everyone, not just the ones looking for free stuff.


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