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Local News

Gun control, health care hot topics at 14th Congressional District candidates forum

7 candidates seek Republican nomination

BATAVIA – Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the 14th Congressional District discussed a variety of issues in front of potential voters Thursday, including gun control and health care.

The seven candidates are Rep. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove; state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris; financial futures trader Ted Gradel of Naperville; Warrenville business owner Jerry Evans; former Kendall County Republican Party Chairman James Marter; former appointee to the U.S. Commerce Department Catalina Lauf of Woodstock; and Army veteran Anthony Catella of St. Charles.

They are vying for the chance to face U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, in the general election Nov. 3. Oberweis did not participate in the forum.

The League of Women Voters of Central Kane County candidates forum was co-sponsored by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora and Naperville chapters of the League of Women Voters.

The candidates were asked whether they supported red-flag laws, which are gun control laws that permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. Illinois and Indiana are among the states that have red-flag laws.

Illinois' red-flag law, signed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, allows the confiscation of guns for up to six months from those deemed “an immediate and present danger” to themselves or others.

Evans said he has struggled to find where red-flag laws have worked and been effective.

"I strongly support the Second Amendment," he said.

Lauf said she doesn't support red-flag laws.

"There's not enough research indicating that they have any effect when a tragedy strikes," she said. "It is the person, not the gun, and it is very important that we respect the Second Amendment."

Rezin had a different view.

"I am a supporter of the NRA," she said, referring to the National Rifle Association. "I'm supportive of the Second Amendment. However, I am the only person that is sitting up here that supports a law that protects people that are mentally deteriorating in their home."

Candidates also were asked about their plans to ensure people don't lose access to health care and to safeguard preexisting conditions.

"I feel like we need to get back to free-market solutions to our health care and not turn over 20% of our entire economy to the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.," Gradel said. "So we need price transparency. We need insurance sold across state lines. We need insurance plan choice. You should be able to select a plan that's best for you and your family."

Marter said he would restore free markets in health care.

"The government's been interfering in our lives far too long," he said.

Catella said insurance "should be a matter of choice."

"It should be affordable and go across state lines," he said. "There also should be alternative medicines. ... If you eat right, sleep properly, exercise, have a good outlook and do things that are positive and affirmative in your life, you'll stay healthy. You won't need to go to doctors."

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