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Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:01 am

Dems want 13th District seat in Congress

George Gollin, a physics professor, is running against former judge Ann Callis and social policy analyst David Green in the Congressional District 13 Democratic primary race.
PHOTO COURTESY GEORGE GOLLIN CAMPAIGN

 

It’s been more than 100 years since a Democrat represented congressional District 13, but that isn’t stopping three candidates from vying for the seat.

Ann Callis, a former judge from Edwardsville, George Gollin, a University of Illinois physics professor and David Green, a social policy analyst at U of I, are all running.

Callis, who stepped down as a Madison County judge just to run for the office, uses the term “common sense” a lot when it comes to what decisions she’d make on spending cuts and legislation.

She supports the Affordable Care Act, despite its rocky rollout. Callis said it’s too early now to propose changes.

“Right now I want to see how the ACA unfolds,” she said.

Callis also wants to find ways to help nonprofit groups receive incentives for work that improves communities, such as a veterans court she helped create, which serves military personnel accused of nonviolent crimes. She said she supports the partnerships of public and private groups to help fund and expand groups that help others, such as home rehabilitation programs.

Callis supports some regulations on industries such as coal mining and fracking, but she said she doesn’t think such practices should be banned.

“We don’t have to choose environment over jobs,” she said.

Callis said she is also focused on growing green jobs with public-private partnerships. She does not, however, support a carbon tax. Both of her opponents support a carbon tax.

While polls have shown Callis as the frontrunner, her opponent, George Gollin, a University of Illinois physics professor, has been gaining momentum in the race. Gollin said he thinks because he comes from a profession that defines clear goals and acts on them, he would bring a different culture to Washington.

Gollin supports the ACA and the idea of a single-payer system, in which health care is funded by the government, because it would result in savings for individuals and small businesses.

He said a single-payer system would ideally be able to provide broader coverage to citizens. Additionally, he said, it would prevent people from having to choose between a job with health coverage and a job they want.

“If somebody has a great idea about a gizmo they’d like to make, a store they’d like to open, they can just go and do that without having to worry about leaving employment somewhere and losing medical coverage,” he said.

To cut down on federal spending, Gollin said he thinks there are a lot of subsidies that can be cut. For example, he said the government gives away free spectrum to commercial broadcasting without asking anything of the broadcasting industry in return.

“There’s a lot of giveaways to corporations,” he said.

All three candidates support increasing the minimum wage and Gollin and Green support cuts to military spending, while Callis said she would be open to ideas of where to cut military funding. Green, who calls himself an “insurgent progressive,” because of his opinions that challenge the typical stances of both the Democrat and Republican parties, wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Green also supports a “Medicare for all” single-payer system of health care, which he said would end up saving the country $1 trillion a year on health care. He reasoned the single-payer system would result in savings by cutting down on health insurance companies’ duplicated expenses and the way pharmaceutical companies profit from patents on drugs. He said the government should fund medical students’ educations, and he said there should be more doctors making less money.

“That’s $1 trillion we could be spending, some of it perhaps on better health care, but most of it on other things that people need,” he said.

Green also thinks higher education should be free. Through his analysis, he said, he thinks college can easily be made free. Political and economic policy decisions over recent decades have made the burden of college costs soar while the country has become wealthy, he said. Green also thinks preschools and day care centers should be made free by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Contact Lauren P. Duncan at intern@illinoistimes.com.

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