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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Candidates Square Off In Second Weekly Debate For Vacant Congressional Seat


Candidates seeking Illinois's 18th Congressional District seat vacated by Aaron Schock reiterated their positions during a second debate this week.  

State Senator Darin LaHood and Rob Mellon also talked about campaign finance reform.  

Mellon, a Democrat from Quincy, says the way districts are drawn helped LaHood raise $1.5 million in campaign donations.

“And so they create these very safe districts, and they’re money making schemes,” Mellon said.

That charge was dismissed by LaHood, a Peoria Republican.

“We’re proud of the money that we’ve gotten in this race from all 19 counties, many of them in small donations," LaHood said.

The two candidates also sparred over the long-term solutions to fund Social Security.  LaHood says he’d consider raising the eligibility age for Social Security.

“People are a lot healthier.  I think we have to look at things, particularly with the backdrop of $18 trillion in debt,” LaHood said.

LaHood says gradually raising the age would help fund the program long-term.  Mellon says raising tax-limits that fund Social Security is more effective.

“You can’t work until you’re 70 years old, you can’t have people working the prisons until they’re 70 years old, you don’t even want teachers working until they’re 70-years-old,” Mellon said.

Both candidates also talked about the Affordable Care Act and how they’d approach relations with Cuba if elected to Congress. Schock resigned in March after reports about questionable spending. 

The special election to fill the seat is Sept. 10.

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