Mussman is like Rauner in her refusal to debate, Bernas says
Jillian Bernas, the Schaumburg Republican vying for the seat held by Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), said unfortunately the behavior among incumbents to deny their opponents a debate is typical.
Bernas, who garnered 44.7 percent of the vote in her 2016 race against Mussman, told the North Cook News that Mussman has also refused to publicly debate before the upcoming March primary just as Gov. Bruce Rauner as denied his opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), the chance to face him before voters cast their ballots.
“It appears that incumbents avoid debating their challengers in an effort to discredit them as not legitimate opposition when it really has the opposite effect and makes them look rather incompetent especially when they try to brush it off and come unprepared for a substantial debate,” Bernas said, “Michelle Mussman will not debate me unless she absolutely has to at the newspaper endorsement sessions like Gov. Rauner.”
Bernas, an international relations manager who is running in the GOP primary in the 56th House District, which includes Schaumburg, Hanover Park, Roselle and Elk Grove Village, said debates give candidates an opportunity to differentiate themselves to their constituents.
“It is important for incumbents to come to debates to be held accountable for their record,” Bernas said.
Guest columnist Scott Reeder wrote in the Chicago Tribune that Rauner has refused multiple attempts at a debate with Ives.
“The University of Illinois at Springfield, WMAY radio and the State Journal-Register tried to organize a GOP debate for next month, but according to the newspaper Rauner has indicated he won’t go,” Reeder wrote in the Jan. 26 article.
“Gov. Rauner, like any other incumbent, is avoiding debating his challenger Jeanne Ives because he doesn’t want to be held accountable for his record,” Bernas said.
But if Bernas did have the chance to face-off with Mussman, the candidate knows exactly what she would say, noting she would differentiate herself from Mussman in the primary election and general election in the same way.
“First, in the years my opponents have been in office, nothing has changed for families as taxes continue to increase,” Bernas said. “I am going to Springfield to work on repealing the 32 percent increase in income taxes and supporting a 1 percent property tax cap with significant reforms.”
Term limits would be the second point of contention, she said, noting Mussman does not support limited tenure.
“I am running to hold elected officials accountable through terms limits and redistricting reform,” Bernas said.
Lastly, status quo would be her third argument.
“I am running to keep families in Illinois by bringing a new perspective to the legislature and bold reforms to usher in a new generation of leadership,” Bernas said.