Dold, Schneider talk about Congress' image problem

  • Robert Dold, left, and Brad Schneider are running for the 10th District seat in Congress.

    Robert Dold, left, and Brad Schneider are running for the 10th District seat in Congress.

 
 
Updated 10/13/2014 7:12 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider says his congressional service has really opened his eyes to the extensive political gridlock gripping the Capitol.

Republican challenger Robert Dold said the time he's spent in civilian life after his term on Congress showed him how little faith people have in their elected leaders.

 

The 10th District candidates talked about these and other issues in separate interviews with representatives of the Daily Herald's editorial board.

The district includes parts of Cook and Lake counties.

Dold, of Kenilworth, represented the district from 2010 to 2012. Schneider, of Deerfield, defeated him to seize the seat in 2012.

At the start of his sit-down interview, Dold was asked how his perspective on Congress has been affected by his time as a lawmaker and the nearly two years he's been out of office.

"Being away from it and out with the people each and every day, there's no doubt that there's such little faith in Washington," Dold said. "There's just a lack of trust and faith that Washington is working and that Springfield is working."

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People view legislators as being in politics for themselves as opposed to working for constituents, Dold said.

"And that, I think, is really unfortunate," he said. "We've got some significant issues."

As people struggle financially, Dold said, they think the government is hurting their chances, not helping.

Dold pledged he'd cross party lines and work with Democrats on legislation if re-elected to Congress. That's what Americans want, he said.

"They're looking for people to put them first, not politics or party," Dold said.

At the start of his interview, Schneider was asked what he understands about Congress that someone who doesn't work on the Hill can't grasp.

"It's got to be how pervasive and frustrating the gridlock is," Schneider said. "There are so many important issues we should be dealing with."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Without specifically blaming the Republican majority or his fellow Democrats, Schneider criticized lawmakers for refusing to bring important proposals such as immigration reform and unemployment insurance to the floor for votes.

"There are so many issues that gridlock is blocking," he said. "And until you see it from the inside, it's really hard to understand how frustrating it is (and) how important it is to break through it."

The solution, Schneider said, isn't just deciding who gets elected Nov. 4.

"It's got to be more than that," he said. "(It's) people having the courage to stand up and fight for the district they represent."

And like Dold, Schneider said lawmakers have to work together for the good of the nation, regardless of party affiliation.

"I'm a proud Democrat, but I don't believe either party has a lock on all the ideas," he said. "Finding people (who) can work together is how you break through it."

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