Two candidates for local office gave brief statements making their cases to voters at the League of Women Voters Greater Peoria candidate's forum Thursday night.
Six candidates were invited, but only three responded. Neither 91st House District Republican Mark Luft nor Democrat Josh Grys replied to multiple invitations to participate. Republican Mary Burress, who is running against incumbent state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, for the 46th Senate seat, also did not respond to multiple invitations.
That left Koehler and 92nd District candidates Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat, and Libertarian Chad Grimm. But Gordon-Booth canceled her appearance due to a family emergency. The League's state and national rules stipulate that when only one candidate in a contested race is present, they're only allowed to make brief, five-minute remarks.
Koehler touted some of his major achievements, including securing the funding to expand Route 24 between Kingston Mines and Banner, and a bill capping out-of-pocket insulin costs for patients on Medicaid.
He also said Springfield is long overdue for ethics reforms, alluding to long-serving House Speaker Michael Madigan without referring to him by name.
"We need to establish term limits on legislative leadership. And we've done that in the Senate. The Senate president can only serve for 10 years. That needs to be done in the House," he said. "We need to remove any legislator as a leader or committee chair during a criminal investigation or in case of an indictment."
If re-elected, Koehler said his priorities include making central Illinois a leader in the solar industry, assisting small businesses after the pandemic, and addressing unemployment and FOID card backlogs.
Grimm, the Libertarian challenging incumbent Gordon-Booth for the 92nd District, criticized the recreational cannabis bill championed by Gordon-Booth.
"We need to reduce the tax on it. This is not supposed to be a cash grab. It should have never been a cash grab," Grimm said. "This is about freedom."
Grimm said he wants to tax recreational cannabis at the usual sales tax rate of 6.5 percent, and also allow anyone to grow it.
He also said he believes Gov. JB Pritzker's executive actions aimed at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus are unconstitutional.
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