Foster, Khouri take different stances on national security, guns

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and Republican challenger Tonia Khouri both understand that representing the 11th Congressional District means dealing with complex national security issues, but they have varying approaches for ways to address those problems.

Khouri, a DuPage County Board member and small business owner from Aurora, said she is concerned with the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and believes it is "a reflection of this administration's lack of foresight in foreign policy decision-making." Khouri also said she believes the Iran deal, which Foster supported, was another irresponsible foreign policy decision.

"I would work closely with the Department of Defense to review what our options are," she said, adding that she would expect specific timelines and benchmarks to measure progress for any national security policies she would support.

Foster, a Democrat from Naperville who is seeking a third term, maintains his support of President Barack Obama's decision to delay troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. In addition, he supports targeted airstrikes of ISIS and building coalitions to fight violent extremism. He said he thinks Congress should be doing more, especially in addressing the use of chemical weapons.

"One of the things that Congress has been remiss about has been debating and passing an authorization for use of military force," he said. "Congress has a responsibility to define the scope of the commitment, the time scale for the commitment, the geographical scale of the commitment, but instead, they have decided to stand back and criticize, despite the fact that their policies do not differ that much."

At home, Foster supports three gun measures being denied a vote: an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and a "no fly, no buy" law.

"They're supported by a majority of Americans, they're common sense provisions and are being blocked by the current leaderships of the U.S. House," he said. "It's one of those things that really lowers people's respect for our system. You see this pattern again and again."

Khouri says she supports "smart gun legislation" to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and thinks current gun laws need to be more strictly enforced. She pointed to Aurora's efforts to decrease the number of murders to zero in the 1990s and how it came not with the addition of new gun laws, but collaboration between law enforcement and the community.

Khouri said she supports the "no fly, no buy" law, but with due process, and believes law-abiding citizens should have the ability to buy the weapon of their choice because it's "their constitutional right."

Foster, however, said mass shootings happen largely with assault weapons and he believes they should be banned.

"Military-style weapons should not be in the hands of private citizens anymore than tactical nuclear weapons," he said.

The 11th Congressional District covers parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties, including Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge and Joliet.

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