Nelson centers campaign on big issues

By Sabryna Cornish

Because he represents the underdog, John Nelson said he will be the best state senator for the newly-created 35th District seat.

Nelson, a Democrat, will be running against Joseph Banucato, also a Democrat, in the primaries Tuesday. If victorious, he will go on to face one of two Republicans, Brad Burzynski or Randy Olsen.

Nelson was a city attorney for Rockford for four years and a trial lawyer for 12 years. Because of his combined 16 years of experience, Nelson said he will be able to represent people better.

“It’s time we had a people’s lawyer in Springfield representing the district,” he said. “It’s a natural extension of what I’ve been doing.”

Nelson said he has “a grasp of the important issues that face the voters in the district.”

“We’re in tough times and we need someone who has the courage to get us out of these tough times,” he said.

Nelson said the three main issues that people are concerned with are education, jobs and economic security and the state budget crisis.

“Higher education needs more support,” he said. “NIU had an amount of money cut and that’s not a way to maintain and build a major university.”

Nelson said because NIU is in the district, it needs to be supported.

Improving the state budget is another one of Nelson’s goals, he said.

“I intend to do something about improving the state budget,” he said. “Property taxes are too high.”

Nelson said he is very concerned with the environment. Nelson said there was a toxic waste spill in Loves Park in September 1990 and it has not been cleaned up yet.

“I think the insurance money should not be received until the toxic waste spill cleanup is paid for,” he said. “I also think those companies (that clean up toxic waste) should be required to get a license.”

As for the issue of abortion, Nelson said he always has been pro-choice. “I feel that is a very personal matter to a woman and the government shouldn’t interfere.”

Nelson graduated from Rockford West High School in 1969. He received his B.A. in economics from St. Olaf in Minnesota. He earned his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.