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Vote 2012 Preview: 96th House District
Pensions, gambling, and guns are just three of the issues facing the person who wins the new 96th House District in the state legislature.
The newly formed district includes Springfield's east and north sides, Rochester, Edinburg, and most of Decatur. There are three candidates vying for your vote.
Democrat Sue Scherer, Republican Dennis Shackelford, and write-in Andrew Dambrauskas are the candidates for the 96th House District.
The biggest issue at the statehouse is pensions. The system is more than $80 billion in the red. So what are their solutions?
"It has got to be line by line," Scherer said. "We didn't get into it overnight. We're not going to solve it overnight."
"We need to continue to have the pension system funded," Shackelford said. "We need to possibly have a 401(k)-type of program out there."
"I would not vote yes on pension reform unless it had some input from the public sector union," Dambrauskas said.
Gaming expansion has also been a big issue. Lawmakers sent Gov. Pat Quinn a bill that called for five new casinos and slots at racetracks, but not at the state fairgrounds. He vetoed it.
"We have gaming in Illinois, and the amount that we have now, it's not worth the risk and negative effects, with more home foreclosures could come from people who have gambling problems," Scherer said.
"A person can go any place, on any street corner, and spend $100 in lottery tickets," Shackelford said. "I don't see a big problem with gaming expansion right at this point in time."
"I wouldn't want to see restrictions on the expansion of gambling," Dambrauskas said. "Simply put, if for no other reason, it's a form of generating revenue that doesn't increase taxes on people."
As for guns? Scherer and Schackelford are both for concealed carry. Dambrauskas said he would have to see the gun bill drafted in order to support it or not.
Scherer and Shackelford are both pro-life. Dambrauskas is pro-choice.
Illinois already has civil unions. Gay marriage could be next. Scherer said the state should allow the civil union law to be in effect for a longer time before we add something like gay marriage. Shackelford believes marriage is between a man and woman. Dambrauskas is in favor of gay marriage.
What about taxes, specifically the tax increase that went into effect in 2011?
"If we don't repeal it, then it is really not a temporary thing," Scherer said. "It's permanent thing, and that's raising taxes on middle class, which I simply don't believe in."
"I would like to repeal the 67 percent tax increase and the corporate tax increase," Shackelford said.
"I would not want to see the tax increase extended," Dambrauskas said.
This race will be on the ballot for all residents of the 96th House district. Enter your address here to find out if you live in the 96th district.
Watch the raw interview with Sue Scherer
Watch the raw interview with Dennis Shackelford
Watch the raw interview with Andrew Dambrauskas