Gun violence, exodus from Illinois among issues in 29th District Senate race

Democratic state Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield said she's running for re-election because she remains committed to passing legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.

Her Republican challenger, Barrett Davie of Lake Forest, said he wants to serve in the Senate because residents and business owners are fleeing Illinois.

Morrison and Davie will face off Nov. 6 for the 29th Senate District seat, which represents parts of Cook and Lake counties. They spoke about their motivations and other issues in a joint interview with the Daily Herald and in candidate questionnaires.

Morrison, who first was elected to the Senate in 2012, said gun violence has been a focus "since the day I got down (to Springfield)."

She supported legislation adopted this year that allows firearms to be temporarily confiscated from people who a judge determines are dangerous. She also sponsored a new law extending the waiting period to receive newly purchased guns to 72 hours and a law requiring active-shooter training in schools.

Morrison also supports a statewide ban on owning assault-style weapons, calling it "something I know this community wants."

"I'm going to continue to work on that," said Morrison, who formerly served as West Deerfield Township's supervisor.

Davie, the vice chairman of a sports marketing company and the co-founder of an early-stage business advisory firm, said he was moved to run for the Senate because he and his wife have three friends who moved businesses out of Illinois within the last year.

"Their stated reason for leaving was, 'I'm not going to be left here holding the bag. I can do this business someplace else,'" Davie said.

Illinois lost more residents than any other state between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau's estimates. It was the only state of the country's 10 most populous to lose residents.

Davie said he's encountered other people who said they're considering moving because of high property taxes.

"All of the sudden you're tearing the roots out of a community," said Davie, who's making his first bid for public office.

Davie criticized Illinois' debt, the tax burden on residents, the state's low credit rating and other aspects of life here.

"I want to live here, I want to plant roots here," Davie said. "And I just believe that we can do much better."

Morrison cited improving Department of Children and Family Services operations and ensuring abortion rights as additional goals.

Davie called the need to address the opioid epidemic as another priority. It's a personal issue for him - a relative killed himself after a longtime battle with addiction and depression. Laws should focus on prevention, treatment and recovery, he said.

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