I arrived a bit late, not having figured out that the Cosman Cultural Center was in the Huntley Park District building where Grafton Township regularly meets.
What appeared to be a candidates’ night was underway.
A man I later learned was Robert Zadek was speaking about immigration laws not being enforced when I arrived at the meeting. I looked him up on the Illinois State Board of Elections web site and couldn’t find his name on the list of U.S. Senate candidates, the way he is identified on his palm card.
His web site says he’s a write-in candidate from Loves Park, north of Rockford. His position on illegal immigrants was one of enforcing the law.
Incumbent Don Manzullo’s Democratic Party opponent George Gaulrapp got off a good anti-incumbent line:
“Where could they work if they don’t get elected?”
Manzullo, of course, is an attorney, but I’ve always thought he’d make a good minister, if he weren’t a politician.
State Senator Chris Lauzen, who represents the Kane County portion of Sun City and other parts Northern and Western Kane County picked up on Zadek’s immigration comments. He pointed out his being the only vote against giving illegal immigrants a two-thirds tuition discount. He explained that State Senator Randy Hultgren, the GOP candidate for Congress against incumbent Democrat Bill Foster, who was sitting two seats away, was not in the state senate at the time of the vote.
“They should not get the benefits of citizens when they’re breaking the law,” Lauzen asserted.
“The way that we get respect is we all follow the laws together.”
A questioner thanked Lauzen for the help provided on House Bill 750 and asked how important it was to get a Republican elected governor.
A softball question, if there ever was one.
“If we don’t get a Republican governor, I’m convinced Illinois collapses,” Lauzen replied.
Another man asked Gaulrapp a question:
“I understand that you were an Obama delegate. Is that right? How do we know that you won’t get down to Washington and hunker down with Durbin and the other Democrats?”
Gaulrapp admitted he was an alternate delegate for Barack Obama, but urged listeners to “look at what I did in Freeport.”
He is mayor of that town west of Rockford. He admitted to raising the sales tax a quarter and three-quarters of a percent. I don’t know if that means his administration raised the sales tax 75%, as Mayor Aaron Shepley led his Republicans on the Crystal Lake City Council to do.
The Illinois Revenue Department says the city’s Home Rule Sales Tax went up 25% to a total of 7.25% as of January 1, 2004. It went up to a total of 8% on January 1, 2010. Gaulrapp was elected mayor in 2005. I don’t know if was on the city council prior to that, which might explain his mention of the quarter of a percent increase.
Increasing the sales tax to 8% puts it higher than any municipality in McHenry County.
Someone from the audience interrupted him.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Bye-bye,” was what I heard.
“The part doesn’t make the man,” the Democrat replied. “I can pick and choose what issue I go with. As far as I know Congressman Manzullo has been in Washington, lived there ten years.”
Gaulrapp said he would live in Freeport and commute to Washington, if elected.
The Democrat got a chance to answer another question while I was there. It was about welfare. The person asking was disturbed that welfare benefits were increasing more than Social Security.
“Why don’t we stop giving extra benefits for welfare recipients that have more babies?”
Gaulrapp argued for cutting “off benefits after the first child.” He would give first-time mothers educational assistance.
A member of the audience advocated attaching drug tests to welfare benefits. One of the two state senators on the dais pointed out such a bill had been voted upon but was “voted down.”
Somehow I didn’t get any notes on State Senator Hultgren’s comments.