GOP's 9th Congressional District hopeful takes aim at opponent's positions on Israel
The Republican challenger for Illinois’ 9th Congressional District took aim at her incumbent opponent’s record on Israel, which she said is one of the three most important issues in the district.
"Israel is a huge issue in our district," Joan Lasonde said during a recent interview with North Town News Magazine editor and host Avy Meyers. "Unfortunately, my opponent has betrayed the Jewish community twice since the last election, since November of 2014."
Lasonde, of Wilmette, announced her candidacy last winter and since has run hard as a fiscally sensible, socially moderate, pro-choice Republican. She told Meyers that her opponent, Democrat Jan Schakowsky, who has represented the district since 1999, is no friend of Israel.
Lasonde criticized Schakowsky for not attending Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before a joint session of Congress in March and for voting yes last summer on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
"I find it unbelievable that she would vote yes for the Iran nuclear deal -- unbelievable," Lasonde said. "To me, that is game over."
Lasonde called upon Jews in the 9th District to respond to Schakowsky's record.
"We need to send her a message and the Jewish community needs to send her a message," she said. "Because both of these votes have come since the last time she won the election."
In addition to Israel, Lasonde said the other two top issues in the district are the economy and jobs, along with national and homeland security.
"The first is the economy and jobs," she said. "The country has been growing for the last eight years at less than 1 percent: like 0.8 percent. We have to restore our growth back to the levels of 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent. The economy is the No. 1 issue."
Illinois' 9th Congressional District has been in its present form only about three years.
"It is a crazy, gerrymandered district," Lasonde said.
The roughly U-shaped district was redrawn and became effective Jan. 5, 2013. It includes Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Golf, Park Ridge and Wilmette, in addition to portions of Morton Grove, Des Plaines and Glenview -- and much of the north and far northwest side of Chicago. As of its most recent redrawing, the district also includes all of Winnetka, Kenilworth and Northfield, and portions of Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Northbrook. About 30 percent is in the city of Chicago, Lasonde said.
During the interview, Meyers frequently spoke critically of Schakowsky but said he isn't endorsing any candidates.
"People know I'm not happy with Congress in general," Meyers said.
"And you're not alone," Lasonde said. "Congress right now is at a long-time low approval rating of 9 percent. That's embarrassing."
Lasonde said she is in favor of term limits and against career politicians.
"I'm running for Congress because I am petrified of the direction that this country is taking," she said. "And I have sat back and watched. Someone has to step up."
As a board member of the Illinois State Crime Commission who, with her husband, is raising a foster child from the 9th District, Lasonde said she is a strong supporter of education.
"I've seen firsthand the broken system and how the government is failing these children," she said. "I'm fighting for children, I'm fighting for education. Both of my parents where Chicago Public School teachers, and I believe that education is the way out of poverty. And I'm for school choice, unlike my opponent, and I'm for vouchers."