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Student Questions Challenge Candidates

Bavda, Sheyman and Schneider get some unusual inquiries from Stevenson High School students.

Democratic Congressional candidates Brad Schneider, Ilya Sheyman and Vivek Bavda got a challenge during their debate Wednesday from students at Stevenson High School.

In a student run forum before more than 250 people at Stevenson, many of them students who are already of voting age, the three candidates got questions unlike many they have been asked at previous events.

All three candidates and a fourth contender, Long Grove business owner John Tree, are running in the March 20 primary for the opportunity to challenge Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) in the Nov. 6 general election.

Tree did not attend because he had a scheduling conflict, according to Stevenson teacher Dan Larsen who helped the students organize the evening.

Some of the time the candidates gave a direct answer but when student moderators Jordan Silverman and Steve Kislenko wanted to know the fifth President they would put on Mr. Rushmore, not all responses were direct.

Who Would Be the Fifth Face on Mt. Rushmore?

Schneider and Sheyman were not ready to have the government hire a sculptor but Bavda, a Mundelein attorney, was more certain.

“The current one,” Bavda said referring to President Barack Obama. “He broke a barrier that some did not think would happen for another 50 years. He passed the Affordable Care Act.” He also lauded Obama’s efforts for students.

Sheyman may be willing to put Obama on Mr. Rushmore. The Waukegan community organizer praised the President’s effort. If the next four years meet Sheyman’s expectations, he would have the carving made. “The President has done a good job but the history has not been written,” he said.

Schneider, a management consultant from Deerfield, wants to reserve the honor for a future president who leads the country out of its current circumstances.

“John Kennedy was the President when I was born,” Schneider said. “There is not any president in my lifetime who I would put up there. The one who can correct our current problems will be the one I would put on Mt. Rushmore.”

Candidates Lack Elective Experience

The students also wanted to know why so few candidates emerge in the 10th Congressional District with experience in government. None of the Democrats have held elective office and Dold came to Congress two years ago directly from a business career.

“People are looking for a different kind of leader today,” Schneider said. “They want someone who has ideas to get us out of the challenges we face, people who have experience raising a family, experience running a business.”

Sheyman let the gathering know Congress currently has a nine percent approval rating questioning why voters would want to choose a representative who was currently part of government.

“The last thing voters want is someone who wants to do things the same old way,” Sheyman said. “They want someone to come to Congress who will stand up for their values.”

According to Bavda, the diversity of the residents in the 10th District “will bring people from all walks of life.”

Challenges of Being a Freshman Legislator

Another student question wanted the candidates to explain how they would behave as freshman members of Congress and how it compared to being a freshman in high school.

“You learn how to get along with people who are different than you,” Sheyman said. He will get to know the people who have different values and where they may agree with him. “Then we can say let’s get to work.”

Bavda knows it will be a learning experience but was not shy about wanting to make an immediate contribution. “You learn as much as you can and you find your niche,” he said.

Explaining he was never a high school freshman because he finished ninth grade in a junior high before his family moved putting him in a four-year secondary school as a sophomore, he related what he gained in his first year of college.

“Dig deeper. Know what the challenge is and dig deeper,” Schneider said. “The solution won’t be the first thing. Look for the second, the third, dig deeper.”

OldDanFan March 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM
you want history, Tony? The impact of the Bush tax cuts was crystal clear -- the largest recession since the great depression and the highest unemployment since unemployment statistics were collected. We're in the mess we're in now BECAUSE OF the Bush tax cuts, BECAUSE OF two **unfunded** Bush wars of choice, BECAUSE OF a de-regulated banking and financial industry (thanks in large part to Reagun, Bush, and Bush). So the argument is to make them permanent? To make the recession a real depression? The empirical evidence is clear -- the Bush tax cuts DID NOT CREATE ECONOMIC GROWTH and the Bush tax cuts INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT at an unprecedented pace. These are the data, not the political rhetoric. Before the Bush tax cuts, when Clinton was President and in the early years of Bush 43, the nation's finances were in the best condition that they've been in in the last 25 years. What happened to the good economy? The Bush tax cuts coupled with successive "supplemental" appropriations so that the Administration could carry out its military excursions without making the public have to pay for them!
Brian L. March 03, 2012 at 05:42 PM
That's painting in extremely broad terms. It works great to say that the president is painting Republicans as bad guys when in turn you are doing the same thing to him/democrats. To boldly state that Dems want the "whole" country on welfare isn't right. Of course the welfare system is flawed and people take advantage of it. But for me, being one of the leading nations in the world means that we take care of our poorest as well. Talk to people who have used food stamps and welfare to get back on their feet. The system can work as well, but it needs people on the plus side to function properly as well.
Brian L. March 03, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I understand your analogy, but that doesn't seem to apply as much. These shouldn't be issues that compare to a physical meeting in the middle. When you mix warm water and cool water, they become neutral. It's not that combing the two should clash, but they should constructively give input and work together on common ground. The problem is no ones constituents seem to want their representative to work with the other party or consider it "working with them" if the other side gives in only. I like your likening it to attention span. I think it also is problem with the way people get their information and spit it back out with the internet. Everyone has a soap box, myself included, and they get angrier and angrier if people don't see it their way.
Abigail March 03, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Brian, you have to admit that right now our system has more people moving to the minus side than it does people moving to the plus side and it doesn't appear that our president is doing much to help the situation. Am I demonizing the Democrats? You betcha, and the reason for that is clear--Democrats seem to enjoy having more people in their back pocket due to government handouts and consistently point at the Republicans as being the bad guys who want to take that away. Republicans DON'T want to take away government help for people who need it, but we (Republicans) don't want people using food stamps and welfare as a way of life. Welfare was meant as a helping hand until people can get back on their feet--not as a way of life. Our economy is in the toilet and the man in charge (Obama) isn't doing much to get it going again. I guess that $528 million he threw away by giving it to Solyndra, which ultimately went bankrupt, could really go a long way to help people, couldn't it? And didn't I read recently there's another green energy company having financial problems and they also received Obama money? Maybe he should quit trying to save the world with green energy and concentrate on getting people back to work with PERMANENT jobs and not the temporary ones his initiatives turned out.
Tony March 03, 2012 at 10:19 PM
OldDanFan…. You obviously didn’t notice that I did not use the word Republican or Bush in my comments. Despite what liberals believe, GWB was not a true conservative in my eyes. That being said, once again you use simplistic economic correlations that make no sense. You are making a correlation of tax rates and their effect during different economic circumstances. Regardless of who you believe caused this recession, Clinton did not have this bad of economy or jobless rate when he was proposing his tax rates (thanks to Reagan). There is no way Clinton would have been able to raise taxes with a real unemployment rate of around 10% that we have today. Apples to oranges. We are really in a sad state if people like you believe that other citizens keeping their own money is the cause for an economic recession. You also failed to mention 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Despite those tragedies, the unemployment rate never really went above 6.3% from 2002 through 2008. Perhaps some of that stability was people keeping their own money (i.e bush tax cuts)? At any rate, maybe you are right. We need more top-down-authoritative policies, higher taxes, more regulations. That will solve all of our problems and give us much more liberty. (sarcasm implied).

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