Union event lets students meet candidates

Phil Bloomer, left, press secretary for Congressman Tim Johnson, and Dr David Gill who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 15th district. Amelia Moore The Daily Illini

Phil Bloomer, left, press secretary for Congressman Tim Johnson, and Dr David Gill who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 15th district. Amelia Moore The Daily Illini

By Kathleen Foody

Ice cream and politicians drew University students to the Illini Union to address issues of the upcoming election.

The event, sponsored by the Illinois Student Senate’s Committees on Outreach and Governmental Affairs, allowed students to interact with candidates of three local races face to face.

Each candidate present spoke to the assembled students for three minutes, then broke off to answer individual questions.

For the State Senate race in the 52nd district, Republican Judy Myers and Democrat Mike Frerichs were in attendance. Socialist Equality Party candidate was unable to attend.

Frerichs, a native of nearby Gifford, Ill., reviewed his plan to change the way education is funded in Illinois and said providing access to quality education for all Illinois residents was essential.

Myers said that tuition in Illinois is not affordable enough and should be lowered, but that statewide budget reforms are also necessary.

Dr. David Gill, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 15th district, said students should also be concerned with the state’s budget deficit because it will impact them and their children in the future.

Republican incumbent for that district, Timothy V. Johnson, was represented by his press secretary, Phil Bloomer.

Bloomer said Johnson has produced a number of pieces of legislation during his time in Congress to aid students and that he plans to continue to work for education if re-elected.

Rex Bradfield, Republican candidate for 103rd district state representative, said in addition to getting more funding for the University, he wants to create more jobs in the state.

Democratic incumbent Naomi Jakobsson said she wants to continue to increase state funding for the University and ensure the University remains the state’s “economic engine.”

Green Party candidate for 103rd district and recent University graduate Tom Abram said reform in education funding is needed and encouraged students to pay attention to current issues like pension raids because they will impact them later in life.

“Events like this make politics less scary,” Emily Elsenbast, sophomore in LAS, said. “The candidates were really receptive to our questions about student issues.”