The three Democrats running in the March 20 primary for the 6th Congressional District decry the partisanship and lack of cooperation in Washington.
Nevertheless, candidates Maureen Yates, Geoff Petzel and Leslie Coolidge -- competing for the chance to take on Republican Rep. Peter Roskam in the fall -- were hard-pressed to come up with examples of recent GOP policies they supported.
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Coolidge, a 52-year-old Barrington Hills accountant, had to go back in history to find examples, citing Richard Nixon's work with Congress to establish the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.
"I'm struggling with the current ones," Coolidge said during an interview with the Daily Herald Friday.
Coolidge noted the historically low ratings of Congress in polls and said, "both parties are at fault for standing on the philosophical extremes and not being focused on governing. The American people want Congress to govern."
Coolidge was impressed by stories of how some newer Republicans and Democrats in Congress are "developing relationships with each other so going forward they have trust to work on more major issues. We need to focus on civility in government."
Petzel, a 28-year-old business owner from Lake Zurich, said he'd spent three days trying to think of a current issue he agreed with congressional Republicans on, but failed.
"Most of the Republican positions I would have agreed with -- the party now disagrees with their own ideas," Petzel said, citing the Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrant minors a path to citizenship and had bipartisan support.
If elected in November, Petzel said he immediately "would start to form a relationship with the leaders on the other side of the aisle."
"I'd want to sit down with House Speaker John Boehner and (House Budget Committee Chairman) Paul Ryan. These are people that you have to work with at the end of the day to find compromise. While I disagree with (Ryan's) budget proposal and how it destroys Medicare, he put out a plan -- so let's talk about how we can find common ground."
Yates, a 76-year-old retired businesswoman from Barrington, said she could think of no GOP policies she endorsed. "All they want to do is to combat women, combat (the) Clean Air and Water (Acts) and get the president out of his job," she said.
"I don't think either party is following what the president really wants and if we followed his policies (government) would be a success," Yates said. "He's (President Obama) willing to compromise but the other side isn't -- we've got to realize this (bipartisanship) is for America, this is all of us (Americans) wanting compromise."
Asked to identify areas where they disagreed with Democrats, Petzel referred to the No Child Left Behind Act. The Obama administration has allowed states to request waivers from the controversial policy. "That law should be eliminated completely," he said.
Petzel called the Patriot Act "unconstitutional," and said it should be repealed.
Yates also cited the Patriot Act. "There's so much in there that's against the freedom of the people -- they can listen to our phone conversations and they can arrest us."
Coolidge said she was apprehensive about the administration allowing more offshore drilling.
"I'm very concerned about offshore drilling," she said. "We need a comprehensive energy policy that's very focused on new green technologies. That's both the right answer for the energy industry and it would do a lot to restore the economy and create jobs."