11th District GOP congressional candidates complain of ‘moral decline’ in U.S.

Citing crime and absentee fathers among the symptoms, two of the three Republican candidates for Congress in Illinois' 11th District believe the U.S. is in a moral decline.

The third candidate rejected that description, instead saying there’s a “moral indifference” in the nation.

The remarks came during a recent joint interview with the Daily Herald. Susan Hathaway-Altman of Geneva, Jerry Evans of Warrenville and Kent Mercado of Bartlett are running for the GOP nomination in the largely suburban 11th District.

Hathaway-Altman, a chief sales officer with a travel company who unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2022, raised the issue during her opening remarks. She proclaimed the U.S. is experiencing a “sharp” moral decline.

When asked to clarify, Hathaway-Altman said Americans don’t focus enough on families and family values.

“I think that many of the problems that we see start at the family level,” she said, identifying the illegal drug crisis, crime and declining academic scores as examples.

Hathaway-Altman went on to say that family and morality are “what we were built on in our Constitution.”

Evans also believes the U.S. is suffering a moral decline. The music school owner criticized what he called “a rise in fatherlessness” among Americans, saying it’s reflected in education, incarceration and employment data.

“We need fathers back in the home,” said Evans, who also ran for the seat in 2022.

Mercado, a doctor and attorney making his first bid for elected office, saw the issue differently, describing the problem as a “moral indifference” rather than a decline. People are too focused on “gender determinations … and pronouns and uses,” Mercado said.

The 11th District encompasses portions of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.

The winner of the March 19 Republican primary will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster or challenger Qasim Rashid, both of Naperville, in November’s general election.

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