Four Democratic contenders in 10th District spell out positions
Updated: April 2, 2012 8:33AM
Four Democratic contenders are on the ballot for the redrawn 10th Congressional District with hopes of defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, (R-10th) of Kenilworth, who has represented the district in Washington D.C. since 2011.
Campaigning heavily for months in hopes of becoming the Democratic candidate for the district following the March 20 primary are: Vivek Bavda, of Mundelein; Brad Schneider, of Deerfield; Ilya Sheyman, of Waukegan; and John Tree, of Long Grove. Aloys Rutagwibira, of Hainesville, is running as a write-in candidate.
The new 10th District, which was redrawn after the 2010 U.S. Census, shifts north to the Wisconsin border, northwest to the Round Lake communities and Glencoe on the south. The new district has voted Democratic in the past. It takes effect in 2013.
The four candidates on the ballot all feel they have the best shot at beating Dold, who defeated his Democratic challenger Dan Seals by a 51 percent-49 percent margin in the 2010 election, and feel they will better represent the residents of the district. They each talk about jobs and the economy as the major issues affecting the 10th District.
Bavda, 34, is an unmarried attorney who moved to the district in 1982 from Ohio. He is a Libertyville High School graduate who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Northwestern University.
After earning his law degree at John Marshall Law School, Bavda entered the job market during the recession when he started his own practice. Consequently, he said, “I have some understanding of being a small business owner.”
As a former employee of the Federal Reserve and Munifinancial, Bavda said he is “keenly aware” of what is necessary to bring jobs to the area through a regional jobs plan that includes infrastructure improvements, expanding and improving roads in the district, and spurring economic growth.
“My opponents support a national stimulus plan,” he said. “I’m talking about a Chicagoland jobs program.”
Bavda believes he can bring change to the district.
A former Teach For America teacher, Bavda said he also understands the importance of education in public schools and college.
“I will fight to make sure that college is an attainable goal for all students, not a financial death sentence for middle-class families,” he said.
Schneider, 50, a married father of two, said he is seeking office to ensure a better America for his 19- and 17-year-old sons.
A businessman and community leader who received both his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and his MBA from Northwestern University, Schneider has had a successful career in management consulting for more than 25 years.
“Hands down the number one issue is getting the economy moving forward and growing again,” Schneider said. “Job growth is not just people who are out of work, but people who are under employed.”
He has a strategy for growth that includes providing incentives for jobs both now and long-term, and for investing in the country’s infrastructure and new technology, including clean energy and health care.
Schneider also pledges to work on building long-term careers for younger workers and for creating schools in the economically diverse 10th District that “compete in the 21st Century,” he said.
Schneider said he believes his long-time experience as a business consultant will enable him to work effectively in Congress.
“As a freshman member of Congress, I’m not going to single-handedly turn around anything. The way to affect change is to talk to people, to influence through persuasion and helping set a course for a place down the road,” he said.
Sheyman, 25 and unmarried, is a first-generation immigrant to America from the former Soviet Union more than two decades ago. A community organizer, Sheyman graduated from Stevenson High School, where he started his community activism by protesting against the war in Iraq in 2002, and McGill University, where he earned a joint degree in political science and U.S. history.
“I’m a community organizer. My job, as a member of Congress, would be as an advocate for this community,” Sheyman said. “I’ve been working to improve our public school system organizing, literally, from Northbrook to Round Lake to Waukegan.”
He also helped launch a community center in Waukegan that connects residents with social and governmental services.
A progressive candidate, Sheyman said he supports the passage of federal jobs legislation.
“That means federal money for infrastructure, support for small businesses, and support for state and local government so we’re not continuing to lay off people who are most needed in our communities,” he said.
Sheyman also supports “restoring a sense of tax fairness in the country” and investing to create “world-class public education, from pre-kindergarten all the way to college.”
Tree, 45, is a husband and father of five. He is a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, who currently serves as the senior reservist to the director of global combat support at the Pentagon, and a businessman, who started a natural foods business with his wife. Tree holds an MBA from Chaminade University and a master’s in economics from the University of Oklahoma.
He is the only candidate whose experience combines a military background with big business. He said he decided to enter the race for Congress while working at the Pentagon in May 2011 as the debate over the debt ceiling waged.
“They were so fixated on debt reduction at all costs, they were willing to cut through every possible program and eliminate federal programs and social programs and safety nets all in the name of debt reduction,” he said.
Tree believes in a balanced approach to get the country out of debt, including the “elimination of some tax loopholes put into place by the wealthy over the last 20 years or so,” he said.
Tree also supports small business incentives, including tax credits and low-interest loans for small businesses to open and expand, and research and development incentives so “all businesses, large and small, have an opportunity to be leaders in innovation,” he said.
He wants America to rebuild its transportation and communication infrastructures as well as invest in alternative energy sources.