The Daily Northwestern

Know your ballot: Schakowsky, Lasonde compete for a Congressional seat

Erica Snow, Assistant City Editor

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U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), an incumbent running for her 10th congressional term, will face off against Joan McCarthy Lasonde to represent the 9th District of Illinois. Lasonde, a Republican, called on Schakowsky to resign at an October protest, and Schakowsky has dismissed the demand.

Experience

Schakowsky has represented the 9th District since 1999. Previously, Schakowsky served eight years in the Illinois State Legislature. In contrast, Lasonde has said she is not a career politician. Instead, she has 25 years of professional experience working in the private sector.

Although Lasonde hasn’t held public office, she has served as a board member for the Illinois State Crime Commission; the League of Women Voters, Wilmette; and Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association. Lasonde said at the October protest she wanted to run for a congressional seat to fight against what she called a corrupt political machine.

During her time in office, Schakowsky has voted for the Affordable Care Act and has urged for the acceptance of at least 100,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. Lasonde said she supports a path to naturalization and says the deportation of all existing immigrants is not possible, but she still supports securing U.S. borders.

Endorsements

Lasonde urged Northwestern students to vote as the congressional race could be more relevant to college students than the presidential race since the outcome could impact more local change, she said. Lasonde added she wants to add jobs to the economy, especially for recent college graduates.

Lasonde would not say if she supports Donald Trump. She said the congressional outcome is more important.

“Eighty percent of the presidential election — and who the people choose to be president — doesn’t really affect the citizens day to day,” Lasonde told The Daily at the protest.

Schakowsky’s campaign urged students to vote for Hillary Clinton, calling her “perhaps one of the most qualified candidates of all time.” Schakowsky has campaigned with Clinton around the country.

Schakowsky said it is “dishonest” and “disingenuous” for Lasonde not to disclose whom she will vote for on Nov. 8.

“My opponent needs to be honest and straightforward with the people she seeks to represent,” Schakowsky said in an email to The Daily. “She has refused to tell the American people whether or not she supports Donald Trump and his agenda.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) (above) and Republican challenger Joan McCarthy Lasonde are running for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lasonde, a Republican, called on Schakowsky to resign at an October protest, and Schakowsky has dismissed the demand.

Colin Boyle/The Daily Northwestern
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) (above) and Republican challenger Joan McCarthy Lasonde are running for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lasonde, a Republican, called on Schakowsky to resign at an October protest, and Schakowsky has dismissed the demand.

schakowskylaurenduquette_web-900x600Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Video Controversy

Project Veritas Action, a conservative advocacy site, released undercover videos in mid-October that appear to show Robert Creamer, Schakowsky’s husband, talking about voter fraud. Many people, including Schakowsky and Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile, have denounced the videos as unethically biased and edited in a misconstruing way.

Creamer has since stepped down from his work with the Clinton campaign.

Lasonde has mentioned Creamer’s past felony convictions for bank fraud as proof Schakowsky was a “ringleader” in allegedly inciting violence to disrupt Trump rallies.

“Is she a material participant? What was he doing? What did Schakowsky know about that work?” Lasonde said at the protest.

Lasonde attended a second protest held Tuesday outside of Schakowsky’s office, 820 Davis St. The protest was organized independent of her campaign to send letters to various law enforcement agencies, asking them to investigate Schakowsky and Creamer.

Schakowsky refuted Lasonde’s claims, calling the videos and protests a “bogus smear campaign.”

“Joan Lasonde’s behavior represents the ugliest aspects of politics-as-usual,” Schakowsky said in an email. “We expect this kind of stunt from people like Donald Trump, but I am deeply disappointed to see it from Joan Lasonde. It is regrettably clear that Donald Trump has dragged Joan down into the muck with him.”

Common ground

Lasonde says she is “pro-women” and “pro-children,” and that the government could investigate Planned Parenthood but only for any potentially criminal charges.

“As a woman and mother of teenage daughters, I will always support a woman’s right to choose and, more importantly, her privacy,” Lasonde said on her website. “I believe this issue is a personal, private matter for families, not the Federal Government, and my personal view is that abortion should be extremely rare, though safe and legal.”

Schakowsky has served as a member on the abortion rights caucus and received a 100 percent rating for her abortion rights voting record from NARAL, an abortion rights advocacy group.

Lasonde has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and Paul Ryan, speaker of the House. Schakowsky has been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Email: ericasnow2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ericasnoww

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the duration of Rep. Schakowsky’s time in the Illinois General Assembly. She served eight years. The Daily regrets the error.

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