10th candidates talk guns in latest debate
Democratic congressional candidate Brad Schneider made gun violence the first issue of his debate with opponent Nancy Rotering Wednesday night at Stevenson High School.
Gun control is a topic Rotering -- the two-term mayor of Highland Park -- has tried to make her own on the campaign trail in the 10th Congressional District race. She regularly touts the assault weapons ban her city adopted in 2013.
But Schneider, a former congressman from Deerfield, spoke first Wednesday night at the Lincolnshire school, and he targeted guns right away.
He used his opening remarks to talk about the gun-control legislation he supported in his early days in the U.S. House and how he cried when the Senate failed to pass the proposal just months after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Schneider decried the influence of the National Rifle Association over Congress and said he received "a proud F from the NRA."
Rotering took up the cause a few minutes later, saying she fought the powerful pro-gun lobbying group when Highland Park banned the ownership of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
"I have no concerns about taking them on in Congress," she said.
The winner of the March 15 Democratic primary will face Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold of Kenilworth. Dold is running unopposed in the GOP primary.
Schneider unseated Dold in 2012, but Dold took the seat back in 2014.
Wednesday night's event was hosted and moderated by students in Stevenson's Political Action Club.
Rotering and Schneider also discussed the nuclear threat in Iran, the environment and other issues.
At one point, Rotering took a subtle swipe at Schneider by mentioning the endorsements she's received from former U.S. Rep. Abner Mikva and former U.S. Sen. Adlai E. Stevenson III, two men who formerly had backed Schneider.
She also mentioned how the 10th District seat has alternated between Republican and Democratic control in recent years and pledged to be someone who can win in 2016 "and hold this seat in 2018."
When asked about environmental priorities, Schneider took a strong stance on climate change.
"It's the most important thing we can do as a people," Schneider said.
Rotering responded by naming the health of Lake Michigan as the district's environmental priority.
The 10th District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. It stretches from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs.