Local democratic candidates discuss issues

By Rich Bruen

The NIU Young Democrats held a forum at NIU Wednesday night which gave students a chance to meet local democratic candidates.

About 50 students showed up to hear DeKalb County circuit clerk candidate Dennis Lanthrom, DeKalb County State’s Attorney candidate Richard Schmok, congressional candidate Jonathon Reich and state senate candidate John Nelson address the issues of the Nov. 3 election.

According to Young Democrats Chairman Brad Strauss, the forum was held to merely introduce the candidates. However, he said, a few issues were briefly examined.

Reich discussed the issues of child care and the environment and Nelson briefly discussed concerns on education.

“The federal government must make sure that there is good, high quality, affordable child care and early education available,” Reich said.

On environmental issues, Reich said that he would support a random testing program of automobile emissions and support efforts to help protect the ozone layer.

Nelson said he would support keeping tuition money at NIU rather than sending it to Springfield to be appropriated by the state legislature like it is now.

“If tuition is here, you can have more flexibility and see yourself through hard times,” he said, “and if there are going to be tuition increases, keep them for the cost of living.”

He also commented about the Board of Regents, NIU’s governing board, which must approve anything NIU spends money


The Regents also control the funds of Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

“I suggest that we change things down in Springfield,” he said. “We’ve got a board there that we’ve got to get rid of.”

However, Nelson’s opponent, Rep. Brad Burzynski, R-Sycamore, is also a supporter of the Regents elimination.

In April, he co-sponsored a bill calling for the elimination of the Regents and the Board of Governors, which oversees five other state schools.

According to Burzynski, the bill is currently in an interim study committee.

“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get something done with it,” he said.