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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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