Forum highlights candidate platforms
by BRIAN NADIG
Many of the area’s state representative and senate candidates participated in a forum last month hosted by the Big Oaks-Union Ridge Neighborhood Association.
"I am not the (House Speaker) Mike Madigan endorsed candidate," 20th Illinois House District democratic candidate Cary Capparelli said at the Feb. 20 forum. Madigan is backing Capparelli’s opponent, Michelle Darbro, who did not attend the meeting.
Capparelli said that as a state representative he would focus on lowering taxes and balancing the state budget. Capparelli has worked 30 years in the international marketing and management industry, and his father, Ralph, was a longtime legislator representing the Northwest Side.
Darbro, a Chicago firefighter, has said in campaign literature that one of her priorities would be to fight for more affordable prescription drugs, especially for those on fixed-incomes.
The winner of the democratic primary on March 17 will face off in the general election against incumbent and Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens. He was appointed to the legislative position last year following the retirement of Michael McAuliffe.
The 20th District includes all or parts of several Northwest Side communities, including Norwood Park and Edison Park.
Also speaking at the meeting were 19th Illinois House District democratic candidates Joe Duplechin, Patti Vasquez and incumbent Lindsay LaPointe, who was appointed to the position last year after Robert Martwick quit the post so he could be appointed to the 10th Senate District seat.
Duplechin, a Chicago Police officer and Afghanistan War veteran, said that concerns about high property taxes are on the minds of many of the homeowners whose doors he has knocked on during the campaign.
"One of the things I’ll do is freeze that," he said.
Vasquez has worked as a radio personality, but she adds, "I grew up here, (and) I also am a mother, a wife, a daughter and your neighbor." She said that as a legislator her priorities would include making healthcare accessible and standing up for first responders, adding that police officers in today’s environment are facing difficult "morale" issues.
LaPointe, a social worker who has worked with homeless people on the Northwest Side, said that her priorities include "affordable and accessible health care, including mental health" and supporting first responders and teachers. "As your representative, I’ve been out there listening," she said.
The 19th District includes all or parts of several area neighborhoods, including Jefferson Park, Portage Park and Gladstone Park.
Challenging Martwick in the 10th Senate District democratic primary is Chicago police sergeant and U.S. Marine veteran Danny O’Toole.
"We need a new group of people in Springfield," O’Toole said, adding that he supports term limits. He asked residents to vote for him not because of his military and police background but because they feel he would be "the best candidate for the job (and) bring energy and vision to the job."
O’Toole has said that as a legislator he would work to promote "positive change" and end the state’s reckless spending.
Martwick, a lawyer, served as the 19th District’s state representative for 6 1/2 years before being appointed last June to the Senate seat after it was vacated by John Mulroe, who now serves as a Cook County judge.
Martwick said that he maintains a "liberal" philosophy, describing himself as pro-choice and pro-labor and a supporter of the "Fair Tax" proposal. He said that that the current state income tax formula is "unfair to the middle-class" and that those earning under $250,000 wound save under the proposed tax plan, a version of which Martwick authored several years ago while he served in the House.
About 100 people attended the candidate forum, which was held at Saint Monica’s Beyenka Hall, 5115 N. Mont Clare Ave.