When it comes to job growth, incumbent U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky favors using more federal money to bolster and grow public sector jobs, while challenger Simon Ribeiro believes offering tax incentives to small businesses will help reduce unemployment.
Both candidates are vying for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 9th Congressional District primary March 20.
Schakowsky is an Evanston Democrat who has represented the 9th Congressional District for 14 years, and Ribeiro, 30, is a Catholic high school teacher also from Evanston, who ran as a Green Party candidate against Schakowsky in 2010.
Schakowsky touted legislation she introduced that she said would create more than two million jobs in two years.
Schakowsky said her Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act bears similarities to President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act.
The focus of both pieces of legislation is fixing schools, the hiring of youth, teachers and first responders, and using more federal money to help states and local municipalities stave off layoffs of emergency personnel, such as police and firefighters, she said.
"If the money to help localities hadn't been shut off, there are some that estimates that our unemployment would be at about 7.5 percent," Schakowsky said. "But because of the layoffs that have happened in the public sector, we're still at 8.3 percent."
Schakowsky said President Obama's policies have created 3.7 million jobs and spurred 23 consecutive months of private sector growth.
"There absolutely are ways the government can, not only put people to work, but (also) create customers that are going to help to jump-start the private sector," Schakowsky said. "It's about growth. It's about demand. It's about people having money in their pockets so they can go out and buy things."
Ribeiro said the government should offer more tax incentives to companies that currently outsource jobs and should streamline regulatory oversight.
"In spite of the cost of labor being cheaper in those countries, a huge reason that (companies) are going there is because they don't have to pay as much tax and the regulations are a lot less," Ribeiro said.
Ribeiro said having a government-backed single-payer health care system also could attract more companies because it would reduce the burden of employee health care costs.
"Solving the jobs problem, you almost have to solve other problems with that," Ribeiro said.
The newly drawn 9th District includes parts of Des Plaines, Niles, Park Ridge, Glenview, Rosemont, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Arlington Heights.