In 31st District Senate race, Bush and Kasperski differ on governor's response to COVID-19

  • Democrat Melinda Bush and Republican Christopher Kasperski

    Democrat Melinda Bush and Republican Christopher Kasperski

Updated 10/28/2020 9:07 PM

The candidates for the 31st state Senate District seat have strikingly different opinions about Gov. J.B. Pritzker's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incumbent Democrat Melinda Bush of Grayslake praised the work Pritzker has done, while Republican challenger Christopher Kasperski of Lindenhurst was largely critical.


The Daily Herald asked the candidates about various issues facing Illinois during the campaign. Among the biggest issues -- if not the biggest -- is how the COVID-19 virus is ravaging the state and how officials are responding to the health threat.

The candidates responded before the recent spike in cases and the mitigation efforts implemented this week.

Bush, a state senator since 2013, gave Pritzker "a top grade" for how he's handled the pandemic.

"He listened to the scientists and followed the advice of public experts when it wasn't politically popular, and those decisions saved lives," said Bush, who served on the Lake County Board before joining the legislature. "If I was given the same resources and the same information, I'd like to believe I would have done things the same way in that position."

Bush supported how Pritzker has acted on the pandemic through executive authority rather than relying on the General Assembly.

"We have to recognize that managing a pandemic is extraordinarily difficult and requires a degree of agility that a large legislative body simply doesn't have," she said. "Even with the benefit of hindsight I feel comfortable with the way the governor has used his executive authority to manage the pandemic."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

In stark contrast, Kasperski was critical of Pritzker's response, giving him a "D" for his effort. He also blasted lawmakers for delegating authority to Pritzker during the early days of the crisis.

"Gov. Pritzker failed to exercise his power to call the General Assembly into order in Springfield," said Kasperski, a retired Army combat engineer who's also worked as a political consultant. "(He) arbitrarily chose to exercise his emergency powers indefinitely until a coequal branch could step in."

Kasperski criticized Pritzker for prolonging emergency disaster declarations without legislative approval, alleging the governor "assumed powers that he arguably did not have."

Kasperski went on to call some of Pritzker's coronavirus-related orders "abnormal and absurd," but he didn't elaborate.

However, Kasperski did credit Pritzker for leading the state while "the General Assembly was hiding."

The 31st District includes most of the northern half of Lake County, including Antioch, Gurnee, Grayslake, Zion, the Round Lake area, parts of Wauconda and other towns.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.