Picking apart planks and platforms

Steve Cox, Democrat

15th Congressional District

What would you do to ensure students can still obtain loans with manageable interest?

I would make sure they can maintain the funding and ensure that we keep that issue right up at the top. Students need to be capable of continuing on with their education.

What system of health care do you favor?

I’m looking for there eventually to be some kind of universal coverage. We need to make medical coverage a common thing we provide for each other. How we get there is another matter.

What should government do for students entering the job market?

Government needs to work closely with the business community to see that things are out there, so that in the future, all people can have good jobs. That would most definitely include our students.

What would you do to maintain or raise higher education funding?

At this point, we need to maintain the funding because of concerns about the financial market. Beyond that, I’m hoping when the economy balances out we can find means to provide more funding for education.

What steps do you believe government should take to preserve the environment?

I have a major concern for global warming. We need to be sure we address that by seeking alternative sources of energy, that includes solar, wind, geothermal and even tidal wave type technologies. FutureGen needs to be looked at – hopefully that project will be reinstated so we can get back on track.

Tim Johnson, Republican

15th Congressional District

What would you do to ensure students can still obtain loans with manageable interest?

A lot of this is at the state level, but the federal government is really concerned about the increasing cost of higher education. I supported and we passed the Higher Education Reauthorization Act. Among other things, what this bill did is increase maximum Pell grants.

What system of health care do you favor?

No one would deny that there is an accessibility problem. We need to extend and expand our tax incentives for access to health care. We’ve got a ways to go, but we’ll get there.

What should government do for students entering the job market?

We need to help grow the economy so there are jobs there – there’s a wide variety of areas we can improve there. We should partner with the private sector without overwhelming them.

What would you do to maintain or raise higher education funding?

I’m a strong advocate for increasing funding for higher education at a federal level. The primary source of funding for the state of Illinois education is at the state level. The governor has dropped the ball there. He has not been a particularly good friend of higher education.

What steps do you believe government should take to preserve the environment?

I’ll assure that our laws are tailored to promoting a clean environment. We should not be drilling in the arctic refuge. We need to get FutureGen back. FutureGen is a big deal for the environment and for central Illinois. It is a big black eye for the Bush administration; they lied to us and misled us. Never in my 40 years of government have I seen anything this mishandled.

Naomi Jakobsson, Democrat

State Representative: 103rd District

What would you do to ensure students can still obtain loans with manageable interest?

One of the things I am doing is working to increase the Monetary Award Program grants. We need to make sure … students can get the MAP grant.

What system of health care do you favor?

I certainly think we need to move toward universal health care. The federal government really needs to take the initiative. The state needs to work toward this by working with employers to provide health care. Let the state be the purchaser.

What should government do for students entering the job market?

Certainly, we need to make sure students can get higher education. The state needs to make sure students can get the education they need so they can get the jobs they want. The University of Illinois is the engine for the state.

What would you do to maintain or raise higher education funding?

I think we need to move in the direction of a progressive revenue tax. This would provide a steady stream of capital. This is the direction we need to go.

What steps do you believe government should take to preserve the environment?

I have been helping to make Illinois “greener.” There are many ways the state government can do that, especially by passing the Illinois Clean Car Act to regulate emissions. I have sponsored and passed legislation to reduce mercury in the environment and that eliminates toxic chemicals in toys. There are many steps the state can take to preserve the environment.

Frank Calabrese, Republican

State Representative: 103rd District

What would you do to ensure students can still obtain loans with manageable interest?

At the state level we can continue to maintain the MAP grant and support reinstating the MAP Plus grant. The MAP grant is a grant directed towards low income families, while the MAP Plus grant is directed toward middle income families.

What system of health care do you favor?

I favor a health care system where people have the choice (of) their own health care provider. I would like the state of Illinois to take the lead in the case of the poor and children to ensure they have health care, but I feel that when people can afford private health care they should use it.

What should government do for students entering the job market?

I think that students should be allowed to stay on their parents’ health care after graduation, with their parents’ approval. Obviously, the state of Illinois can maintain a healthy budget and revenue source so it can employ, and fairly compensate, students who want to go into careers in government.

What would you do to maintain or raise higher education funding?

I will never vote for a budget that does not account for inflation. Tuition has gone up 70 percent in the last six years.

What steps do you believe government should take to preserve the environment?

I want to support conservation, primarily in our state parks. I would support any environmental legislation that would not have a detrimental effect to jobs. I would support legislation that would require manufacturers to lower carbon emissions in both factories and cars.