Duckworth, Krishnamoorthi talk bipartisanship
The Democrats making a bid for the 8th Congressional District primary both identify partisan gridlock -- on display during last year's debt ceiling crisis -- as one of the chief things wrong with Congress today.
"I am not going to Washington with a megaphone," Hoffman Estates Democrat Tammy Duckworth said.
Partisan politics, said opponent Raja Krishnamoorthi, also of Hoffman Estates, "has not been my main motivation."
Yet Duckworth and Krishnamoorthi outline different ways they would reach across the aisle if elected.
Duckworth said she'd begin by reaching out "to those that have a strong willingness to listen."
If Republican Congresswoman Judy Biggert is re-elected in the fall, Duckworth said the Hinsdale Republican would be one of the first she'd reach out to.
"We come from similar suburban Chicago districts," she said, identifying western access to O'Hare and improving the region's roads as projects to work on together.
Residents of the 8th District, Duckworth says, "don't live their lives in the (Republican) or (Democratic) columns. If we have to start small with very specific things for Congress to work together, let's do that. Let's build up the trust and build on past successes and make sure we get there."
Duckworth, who narrowly lost a bitter, costly race against Republican Congressman Peter Roskam in the 6th District in 2006, said she wouldn't hesitate to work with her former opponent.
Krishnamoorthi, a lawyer, engineer and laboratory president, describes his "collaborative style" as getting everyone in the room who has a stake in the matter.
Though the House, as it stands now, contains deep partisan divisions, Krishnamoorthi said "one of the positives of the Illinois delegation is the congressmen and women work together on issues of local concern in a lot of different ways."
Krishnamoorthi said he believes Roskam, who as GOP chief deputy whip has a seat at the leadership table, "has quite a bit of say as to the priorities of our area."
If elected, he'd work with Roskam to allocate dollars in the next surface transportation bill coming up for reauthorization, with an eye toward funding for the long-awaited Suburban Transit Access Route Line to help ease congestion.
"We had a study, we had a plan, let's work with our delegation to try to put it in place. I think Peter Roskam could do a lot," he said.
Duckworth, a former assistant secretary of veterans affairs, says she became struck by the "ridiculousness" of the infighting between Republicans and Democrats as a government shutdown due to failure to reach a deal became a real possibility last spring.
Duckworth said she decided, "I'm going to try and come back and do this. We've got to find a way to roll up our sleeves and work together."
The 8th Congressional District is roughly centered in Schaumburg and including parts of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties.