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Congressional gridlock, taxes topics of candidate’s town hall

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 11:31 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Randall Olsen, the Democratic candidate for the Illinois 16th Congressional District, talks with DeKalb resident Julie Kiefer-Bell during a public town hall Wednesday at the Venterans Home in Genoa.

GENOA – Genoa resident John Noyes liked many of the things he heard Randall Olsen, Democratic candidate for the Illinois 16th Congressional District, say Wednesday at a Genoa town hall.

Noyes himself is a Democratic candidate running for a second district seat on the DeKalb County Board. A former history teacher at Dundee Middle School, Noyes had a simple reason for wanting to attend the town hall held at Genoa Veteran’s Home, 311 S. Washington St.

“I wanted to meet Randall,” he said.

Attendees of the town hall had the opportunity to ask Olsen about his campaign stances. Olsen touts himself as a moderate Democrat who would focus on three main points if elected: pass a jobs bill that was previously introduced in Congress but not debated; raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour; and pass an infrastructure bill to allocate money for street and bridge repairs and inspections.

Most importantly, however, Olsen said he wants to have a Democratic majority in Congress and replace Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“Nobody’s talking to each other,” Olsen said about Congress. “We can’t get anything done because nobody’s talking to each other.”

Olsen talked about many issues at the town hall, including how budget cuts to women’s health care service Planned Parenthood could have been prevented if only large American companies such as General Electric paid more income taxes.

Olsen said re-writing the tax code would mandate large companies to pay more taxes. He also said increasing the minimum wage would increase spending since consumers are job creators, not employers.

Olsen also claims to have a solution to keep the Social Security program going through 2087: remove the wages cap currently set at $117,000 so that higher earners pay more taxes.

Olsen’s opponent, incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger, has focused some of his campaign on balancing the U.S. budget. According to his website, Kinzinger has cosponsored and voted for bills such as The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which highlights the cost of government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and government-backed loan programs.

DeKalb resident Julie Kiefer-Bell also attended Olsen’s town hall. While she was frustrated by the low turnout, she said she enjoyed that she could talk one-on-one with a candidate to find out where he stands.

“I want to be as informed as I can possibly be,” Kiefer-Bell said.

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