Democrats set their sights on 6th Congressional seat
One of the two Democratic primary candidates in the 6th Congressional District race says she would address the "hyper-partisanship" in Washington while her opponent wants to end the nation's military involvement in the Middle East.
But Amanda Howland of Lake Zurich and Robert Marshall of Burr Ridge don't agree on either of those two issues.
Democratic voters will decide March 15 whether they want Howland or Marshall to face the GOP nominee in the fall for the seat that's long been held by Republicans.
The district, which includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, has been represented by Peter Roskam since 2007. The Wheaton Republican has his own primary to deal with after being challenged by Gordon "Jay" Kinzler of Glen Ellyn.
Howland, a College of Lake County trustee, says she was asked to run by "fairly influential people" because of her years of political involvement and community service. She said she accepted the offer because she would bring new ideas to Congress. She also wants to encourage representatives on both sides of the aisle to work together.
"I want to do away with the hyper-partisanship, or at least try to work with people to get away from the hyper-partisanship that's in Congress right now," Howland said during a recent interview with the Daily Herald editorial board.
The 63-year-old attorney says she does a lot of mediation work. "It's my job to bring both sides together and get them to talk to each other and come to reasonable solutions," she said.
Howland said she believes her skill set would help her find common ground with Republicans. "I can try to be a voice of reason and listen to both sides and work with people from both sides and encourage my fellow congressmen to do the same thing," she said.
But Marshall said he doesn't believe much could be done to end partisan politics in Washington.
"On taxes and balancing the budget ... I agree with them (Republicans)," said Marshall, a perennial candidate who ran as a Republican in the 1990s. "I think I can reach across the aisle on those issues. But I wouldn't get too optimistic about having a drink with them afterward."
Meanwhile, the 72-year-old radiologist said the main reason he's running for Congress is to do something about "all these wars that we're involved in."
"I'm a Vietnam veteran," Marshall said. "I am opposed to how the wars are conducted or the fact that we are even having these wars."
Marshall said the U.S. military should end its involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
"We've overstayed our welcome there," Marshall said. "It's time for us to ... stop the bombing and leave those countries, just as we did in Vietnam."
He said he believes withdrawing from the Middle East would decrease the number of terror attacks "everywhere."
"You will reduce it to a level where just good old-fashioned police work will solve the rest of it," Marshall said.
However, Howland says things are so unstable in the Middle East right now that she doesn't believe pulling out all U.S. troops is the answer.
"We've got allies that are much closer to where all of the terrorism is taking place -- in Europe and in the Middle East," Howland said. "We need those people to continue to be our allies. We need to form a coalition with them."
In addition to cutting off funding sources for ISIS, she supports the use of "strong military action" against the jihadist militant group "if there's a coalition that works with the United States."
"We can't do this on our own," Howland said. "But I think that with the instability there right now, if we start pulling all the troops out at once, you're going to create a complete collapse of several different areas, which is going to create a much more significant problem and is going to allow the terror cells to grow bigger than they are right now."