Iran deal, gun control among issues for Schneider, Rotering at Highland Park forum

Updated 2/28/2016 6:16 PM
  • Nancy Rotering, left, and Brad Schneider

    Nancy Rotering, left, and Brad Schneider

  • Michael Perillo, left, and Matt Stanton

    Michael Perillo, left, and Matt Stanton

Iran, gun control and U.S.-Israel relations were among the issues Sunday when Democratic congressional candidates Brad Schneider and Nancy Rotering met at a forum hosted by North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park.

Both Schneider, a former congressman from Deerfield, and Rotering, the mayor of Highland Park, played to the synagogue crowd by stressing their Jewish upbringings and the importance of keeping nuclear weapons from Iran.

They're seeking the Democratic nomination to the 10th District seat in the March 15 primary. The winner will face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Dold of Kenilworth.

Schneider expressed concern about the dwindling number of Jewish members of the House of Representatives and how it will affect "the issues we care about," such as growing anti-semitism around the world.

He said that he initially had deep concerns about gaps in the Iran nuclear deal that it would make it difficult to enforce and the danger of further destabilizing the region.

"But the deal is now in place," he said. "It passed. All of us in this room, I hope, are on the same page, believing that we must make sure this deal succeeds, that we must do everything within our power to make sure Iran can move no closer to getting a nuclear weapon."

Rotering said the deal is imperfect, but also makes sense.

"It made sense to gain that information, it made sense to monitor and control and slow down the race to achieving a nuclear weapon," she said. "But it was not an easy decision to make and it wasn't a comfortable decision to make. It was an unfortunate decision between two terrible options."

Both Schneider and Rotering declared strong support for gun control legislation.

Schneider, who won election to the 10th Congressional District in 2012 but lost to Dold 2014, said he sponsored and introduced comprehensive gun legislation in Congress, only to see the NRA successfully lobby against it in the Senate.

He said he would work in favor of legislation requiring universal background checks, banning the gun show loophole, banning assault weapons, and dealing with mental health issues.

Rotering said she supports those measures, and noted her own gun control success with Highland Park's ban on assault weapons.

"The question was how do you fight the NRA. I already did," she said. "When they came to Highland Park City Council, people from across the state of Illinois literally calling us Nazis, screaming at us about taking away their Second Amendment rights, we thought about the students at Newtown (Connecticut), we thought about the several mass murders that have occurred in this country and we took courageous leadership, We took hard action and we said, 'Not here. No more.'"

The 10th Congressional District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. It stretches from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs.

The forum also featured Democratic Lake County State's Attorney candidates Matt Stanton and Michael Perillo, who vowed to change the culture of the prosecutor's office.

"There is a culture of conviction at all costs that has existed there for a long time," Stanton said. "(The culture) results in

tens of millions of dollars from wrongful conviction lawsuits to Lake County taxpayers."

Perillo promised there would be no wrongful convictions under his administration.

"I will not be going to the county board asking for five, 10, 15 or 20 million dollars to settle one of those lawsuits," he said.

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