Election’s approach energizes hopefuls

By Natalie Carino

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories about local elections. This story is about the race for the 103rd Assembly District.

With election season fast approaching, the race in the 103rd Assembly District is beginning to pick up.

Among the issues being debated between incumbent Democrat Naomi Jakobsson, Republican Rex Bradfield and Green Party candidate Tom Abram are increased funding for the University, scholarships and sales and income taxes.

Jakobsson, who has served in the Illinois General Assembly since 2002, is concerned about health care for local families, especially for children. Illinois is the first state in the nation to provide affordable health care for all children, Jakobsson said.

“It’s a vehicle for all kids to have health care coverage,” she said.

Jakobsson has increased grants for students who want to become nurses and has also increased MAP scholarships.

She also wants to increase funding for the University and to introduce legislation that would lower the price of textbooks at the University.

“I’m an alum from the University so it is something that is very important to me,” Jakobsson said.

Challenger Rex Bradfield is also an alumnus from the University and wants to increase funding for the University.

“Tuition is high and we need more money for loans and grants,” said Justin Scott, campaign coordinator for the Bradfield campaign. “Another concern is for pensions. It impacts the ability to attract teachers and professors.”

Bradfield has proposed the Illinois Energy Independence Plan. Illinois currently charges a 5 percent sales tax on all motor fuel sales. According to Bradfield’s Web site, under his plan, 20 percent of these sales tax revenues from fuel will be used specifically for research and development, investment, infrastructure, environmental studies, and developing new markets for ethanol, biodiesel and clean-coal energy.

“Rex is an engineer and land surveyor and has an expertise for the environment that other candidates don’t have,” Scott said.

Green Party candidate Tom Abram is a recent graduate from the University and says he understands the need for more funding in higher education.

Abram also supports House Bill 750, which would raise the income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, providing a tax credit to those with an income below $47,000 and providing property tax relief. This will increase funding for schools while providing relief to those with high property taxes in proportion to their income.

Abram also supports the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which would require a certain percentage of a utility’s energy production to come from clean, renewable sources.

The last day for voter registration Oct. 10 and Election Day is Nov. 7.