Seven Democrats want shot at unseating Roskam

Seven Democratic candidates vying for the chance to run against incumbent Republican Peter Roskam in the 6th U.S. Congressional District met for a wide-ranging and fast-paced forum this week in front of a crowd of roughly 800 in Carol Stream.

Hosted by the Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th and the Glenbard North High School Civics Club, the forum was the first time all seven Democrats appeared together in public since they filed petitions to seek their party's nomination in the March 20 primary.

The event gave voters the chance to get acquainted with the candidates, who range in age from 31 to 65 and who come from all corners of the C-shaped district, which spans parts of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Here's a look at each candidate's key stances as discussed during the forum.

Becky Anderson Wilkins

Background: 59-year-old Naperville City Council member and book shop owner; breast cancer survivor.

Key issue: Health care.

Key quote: "Health care is a right and that's what we need to fight for ... If you don't have your health, what do you have?"

Sean Casten

Background: 46-year-old Downers Grove scientist and engineer; ran companies that turned industrial waste into clean heat and power.

Key issue: Climate change.

Key quote: "Every time we've faced real challenges as a country, we've innovated our way out of it."

Carole Cheney

Background: 56-year-old Naperville resident worked as district chief of staff for 11th District U.S. Rep. Bill Foster; former journalist and attorney.

Key issue: Tax code.

Key quote: "Our tax code is about the values of our country ... Simplifying the tax code doesn't mean eliminating or reducing the number of brackets. Actually, increasing the number of brackets would make the tax code more fair for individuals in the society."

Amanda Howland

Background: 65-year-old College of Lake County trustee and civil rights attorney from Lake Zurich; cancer survivor; former special education teacher and administrator.

Key issue: Education.

Key quote: "Education is extremely important to me. Making everyone's lives better is important to me. We do not succeed from the top down; we succeed from the bottom up."

Ryan Huffman

Background: 31-year-old data analyst from Palatine who interned in President Barack Obama's White House.

Key issue: Climate change.

Key quote: "I want to work every day as your representative fighting to solve the problems that you have, your everyday problems. But I also want to address the underlying causes of these problems, the broken systems that are creating widespread injustice and inequality."

Kelly Mazeski

Background: 58-year-old Barrington Hills plan commission member; breast cancer survivor; former chemist and financial adviser.

Key issue: Health care.

Key quote: "I want to be your champion for health care. I want to work to reduce costs, improve quality and make sure that every American has health care coverage."

Jennifer Zordani

Background: 53-year-old regulatory and financial services attorney from Clarendon Hills; former president of a nonprofit group that helped low-income families.

Key issue: Economy and finances

Key quote: "The regulation of our financial markets is very, very important ... I have a very sincere appreciation for the role that regulation is intended to play in protecting consumers, investors, your retirement funds."

  Becky Anderson Wilkins of Naperville Bev Horne/
  Sean Casten of Downers Grove Bev Horne/
  Carole Cheney of Naperville Bev Horne/
  Amanda Howland of Lake Zurich Bev Horne/
  Ryan Huffman of Palatine Bev Horne/
  Kelly Mazeski of Barrington Hills Bev Horne/
  Jennifer Zordani of Clarendon Hills Bev Horne/

6th District boundaries

The 6th U.S. Congressional District of Illinois takes the shape of a "C" and stretches from Naperville to Tower Lakes in parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties. The district includes all or parts of the following communities: Algonquin, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Burr Ridge, Carol Stream, Cary, Clarendon Hills, Crystal Lake, Darien, Deer Park, Downers Grove, East Dundee, Elgin, Forest Lake, Fox River Grove, Glen Ellyn, Gilberts, Hawthorn Woods, Hinsdale, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Kildeer, Lake Barrington, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood, Lake Zurich, Lisle, Lombard, Long Grove, Naperville, North Barrington, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Oakwood Hills, Palatine, Port Barrington, Rolling Meadows, South Barrington, Sleepy Hollow, South Elgin, St. Charles, Tower Lakes, Trout Valley, Warrenville, Wayne, West Chicago, West Dundee, Westmont, Wheaton, Willowbrook and Winfield.

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