ILLINOIS (WMBD) — As part of WMBD’S continued election coverage, hear from the final three candidates in the IL-17 Congressional Democratic Primary.
After congresswoman Cher Bustos announced her retirement from the Illinois 17th congressional district, six democratic candidates have come forward to try and take her place. WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with all six candidates for the spot.
Eric Sorensen, Jacqueline McGowan, and Marsha Williams all spoke one-on-one. This is part two of this two-part report.
A variety of candidates are vying for the newly drawn 17th congressional district. Each has a specific background focused on different topics.
First up is long-time meteorologist and climate change activist Eric Sorensen. For decades, Sorensen explained the weather to viewers. Now, he wants to explain what’s going on in Washington.
“Fifteen years ago, (I was) one of the first meteorologists in the country to connect people with what they were seeing out their windows … with climate change. This is affecting everyone in this district,” he said.
Another topic weighing heavy on the hearts of many Americans is gun violence. Sorensen wants to be a voice for gun legislation in Washington, while still respecting American’s Second Amendment rights.
For reference, Sorensen pointed back to 2008, when he was in school and on the air during the Northern Illinois University Shooting.
“That was my school. I was the one who sat on the news desk and said, ‘That’s Cole Hall.’ I remember the classes I took in Cole Hall,” he recalled.
The next candidate, Jacqueline McGowan, has her own connection to school shootings.
“At 16, I survived a mass shooting at my high school … It still haunts me every single time I see what these kids are going through. I know what they’re going through and the trauma they’re going to face for the rest of their lives because I face it,” she said.
McGowan was a student at Lyndhurst High School during a shooting on May 1, 1992, in a town near Sacramento, CA. This experience did not make her want to take away guns from law-abiding citizens, she said, but she does believe change needs to happen.
“We’re going to have to raise the age limit on buying an automatic weapon. We’re going to have to do background checks. There needs to be a waiting period … and Red Flags,” she said.
As for qualifications, McGowan pointed to a long history of job experience on Wall Street. She is also a cannabis advocate and wants to see marijuana legalized federally.
The final candidate is Marsha Williams, who currently helps Illinoisans in job training. She chose to run in order to improve the quality of life for all Americans, she said.
“My number one priority is being able to expand job creation and job training for individuals. We need individuals who are fully trained,” she said.
In light of the potential overturn of Roe V. Wade, Williams said reproductive rights are another big focus of hers.
“It’s very important if an individual wants to make a medical decision, they should be able to do that without government oversight,” she said.