Quigley, Hanson offer stark differences on COVID response, race

  • Tommy Hanson, left, and Mike Quigley are candidates for the 5th Congressional District seat.

    Tommy Hanson, left, and Mike Quigley are candidates for the 5th Congressional District seat.

Updated 9/9/2020 3:45 PM

The race for Illinois' 5th Congressional District seat is shaping up as a clash of ideologies.

Those differences were revealed Tuesday when the candidates, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and Republican challenger Tommy Hanson, met with the Daily Herald editorial board in a virtual endorsement session.


Quigley, a five-term congressman from Chicago, was sharply critical of President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the president did not set the Defense Production Act in motion "at full-bore," did not coordinate with allies and failed to communicate with state and local governments.

"He has let this go 3½, almost four months without a response to the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act), which we passed in the House to address additional care for those with the virus," Quigley said.

But Hanson said Trump has "done an incredible job, considering the fact that the Democrats just won't work with him."

Hanson, a commercial real estate broker from Chicago who lost to Quigley in 2018, noted that Trump suspended some travel from China and Europe in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and immediately launched research for a vaccine.

Quigley and Hanson also offered opposing viewpoints on systemic racism.

Hanson said he sees racism as mainly an urban problem.

"The racism that exists in America is mainly in the big cities in our country. And a lot of it is because of the public schools in the big cities like Chicago, New York, (Los Angeles), San Francisco, Houston," he said. "The schools don't treat the students right."

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In the suburbs, by contrast, "people go to church and they respect God," he said.

He also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement as Marxists who want the U.S. to become a communist country.

Quigley said we're only beginning to recognize the systemic racism that's existed for too long, and addressing it will take an ongoing effort in which the federal government has a significant role to play.

"To suggest that it's only an urban problem is just mind boggling," he said.

On the issue of gun violence, Quigley supports universal background checks and said there are reasonable limits to gun rights.

"You really don't need a weapon designed for a theater of war to protect yourself," he said.

Hanson said the problem isn't a lack of gun laws.

"The real problem is illegal guns, because the fact of the matter is legal gun ownership is heavily regulated," he said. "People have to get a (Firearm Owners Identification) card if they want to carry a gun. They have got to get a concealed carry card, and those are not easy to get."

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