Candidates clash over health care, taxes and more during 6th Congressional District virtual debate

Candidates clash over health care, taxes and more during 6th Congressional District virtual debate
Illinois US state flag. Photo credit Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The differences among the three candidates running in the hotly contested Illinois 6th Congressional District race were stark as they clashed over health care, taxes, crime and the tone of the campaign during a virtual debate heard live on WBBM Saturday night.

Republican candidate Jeanne Ives, who is trying to unseat freshman Democratic Congressman Sean Casten, favors abolishing the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s not needed, even for folks with pre-existing conditions.

But Casten notes that alternative coverage is too expensive. That’s not access, he said.

Libertarian Party candidate William Redpath doesn’t agree with Casten. He said health care isn’t a right or a privilege.

On another topic, all three agreed climate change is real, but only Casten feels it’s a crisis.

On the matter of protests against unjust police killings, Casten said he’s heartened that peaceful protests included people of all races.

But, Ives said there was violence and looting, too, and said people are feeling scared.

Redpath said violence shouldn’t be tolerated but added that police misconduct shouldn’t be protected.

On taxes, Redpath opposes the graduated-income tax plan on the November ballot in Illinois and the federal progressive tax. He explained that he wants to see the federal government change to a Flat Tax, like Illinois has now.

Democrat Casten said he has problems with the major tax cut that President Donald Trump managed to win, saying it blew a hole in the budget.

But Republican Ives said that tax helped everyone. Still, Casten said many 6th district residents lost part of their state and local tax deductions, and they’re upset.

On another matter where all three 6th District candidates agree, the political rhetoric these days is bitter. Libertarian hopeful Redpath suggested it’s because of the two-party system.

While Casten cited Trump’s abrasive style, Ives tried to suggest Casten is part of the problem. She cited the tone of his social media posts.

But Casten quietly responded that he makes no apologies for calling out racists and those who do not treat others with respect.

But compared to the presidential debate that happened Tuesday, this one was very polite.

WBBM political editor Craig Dellimore and Crain's Chicago Business political columnist Greg Hinz moderated the virtual debate.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images