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.”