Shimkus, Bagwell split distinctly on issues in race for 19th Congressional District seat

2010-10-22T00:01:00Z 2010-10-27T11:36:11Z Shimkus, Bagwell split distinctly on issues in race for 19th Congressional District seatBy KENNETH LOWE - H&R Staff Writer Herald-Review.com
October 22, 2010 12:01 am  • 

DECATUR - The candidates in the 19th Illinois Congressional District differ markedly on issues ranging from health care reform to the national deficit and what steps must be taken to successfully complete the two wars in the Middle East.

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, first elected in 1996, is seeking his eighth term in office. He faces Democratic challenger Tim Bagwell of Olney, an information technology specialist who lost to Shimkus in 2004.

Speaking on the health care reforms that passed Congress earlier this year, Shimkus said he would advocate repealing and replacing the wide-ranging law, though he said the likelihood of such an approach making it all the way through the legislative process is unlikely. He seemed confident Republicans could gain a majority in the House following the elections in November and will use it to address the issue.

"The new health care law is a disaster, period," Shimkus said. "We'll have an immediate vote to repeal and replace. That's what most candidates are running on, and they'll want to have that vote, but knowing we can't get that through the Senate and the president's definitely not going to sign it. That will be followed by immediate scrutiny of the new law through congressional hearings."

Bagwell said if elected, he wants to move toward bringing the United States to a single-payer health care system.

"Hopefully, Democrats will still control Congress, and we will work toward better health care reform through a single-payer system," Bagwell said.

On the deficit, Shimkus said entitlements need to be cut back and the government should go back to 2008 levels in its discretionary spending. He also expressed his opposition to ending the so-called "Bush tax cuts," saying it would discourage businesses to create more jobs.

"(Entitlements) are the reason why we have a huge national debt," Shimkus said. "On the discretionary end, we're going to immediately go back to 2008 spending levels, if not more. We'll save $100 billion a year."

Bagwell said one of the most direct methods of reducing the annual deficit would be to end the wars in the Middle East. He also identified better oversight of the Defense Department as another way to eliminate waste in spending.

"Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, finally!" Bagwell said. "Nobody talks about the fact that war is an expensive thing. We need to look at more efficiencies that can be achieved in the Department of Defense, rather than feeding contractors huge contracts."

On the wars, Shimkus said reconstruction can't happen until an increase in security is achieved.

"How long have we been in Germany? How long have we been in South Korea?" Shimkus said. "The reality is, there's still going to be a mission (in the Middle East), and I don't know how long it'll take. I think of major concern is finishing the major military operations we have in Afghanistan."

Speaking to the tactical side of the wars, Bagwell said the United States should create consensus on what a withdrawal is going to mean for all countries involved, all the while maintaining strong support for Israel.

"We have to negotiate there, and with the American people, what they feel best about in terms of a disengagement from Afghanistan and Iraq," Bagwell said.

The 19th Congressional District includes parts of Central Illinois, including Decatur and Springfield, and stretches south along the Kentucky border.

klowe@herald-review.com|421-7985

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(1) Comments

  1. Chuck Waggoner
    Report Abuse
    Chuck Waggoner - September 17, 2012 10:25 pm
    I'm forever fascinated by the Republican usage of the the word "entitlement." So they pay all this money to buy buzz-words from Frank Lundt, & various "think tanks," that might be useful in dividing the voting public.

    The evil entitlements they refer to are Social Security & Medicare. These programs are not a part of the general Federal budget, & don't contribute to the National debt. Rather, they are are benefits paid for by WORKING PEOPLE. So in that 'we the people' have paid into something by the sweat of our brow, perhaps there should be some expectation that we might, yes, be entitled to receive it. When you pay your life insurance, shouldn't you have the right to expect that your family will get the benefit one day? When you pay your water & sewer bill, most folks would feel sort of entitled to flush the toilet.

    So Republicans who accuse others of being divisive, are in that very breath BEING decisive. And typically, every devisive slogan they come up with is also designed to distract discourse away from the fact that they are ACTUALLY the ones guilty of the sins they attribute to others. The largest single entitlement in this country is a tax code that ENTITLES people who make money merely by HAVING money, to pay @ a rate FAR below what those who actually work, or even PRODUCE SOMETHING. And now it seems that those folks are finally running one of their own for President. And they will spend (and have spent) billions to lie about his record and lie to vilify his opponent. As a Romney staffer recently said "this campaign will not be constrained by fact checkers." Indeed, has it ever been? Their entire political strategy is to create an "us versus them" atmosphere. Money & politics above all else is their only real religion, regardless of what they'd like for you to know. They'll probably even try to get through the eye of that Biblical needle riding on the camel..

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