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Peck Invites Bertino-Tarrant to Debate

The candidates will face off in the race for the newly formed 49th State Senate District.

An Illinois Senate hopeful has challenged his opponent to what he calls a “Lincoln/Douglas-style” debate.

Republican is facing Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant in the race to represent the newly formed 49th District.

Peck, who serves on the village board, issued a press release Wednesday calling on Bertino-Tarrant to join him at a debate sometime in mid-October.

“As a private citizen, I always got tired of learning about where those running for office stood on issues through television commercials and campaign literature.” Peck said. “Now that I am a candidate, I want to bring an open dialogue to the public and give them the choice as to what they think is best for them and their families from a source they may not be used to, the candidate’s own mouth.”

Bertino-Tarrant, who confirmed that Peck did send her two letters over Labor Day weekend, is declining Peck's invitation, but said she's more than willing to engage in debate.

“In just over two weeks, both candidates will be answering the voters’ questions at an open event in the Grand Haven community, one of at least four public forums and debates already on our calendar,” Bertino-Tarrant campaign spokesman Mike Carson said in an email. "We are not planning on coordinating a separate debate with Mr. Peck."

The Grand Haven event, co-sponsored by Lewis University, is slated for Sept. 20 at Lewis, 1 University Parkway, Romeoville.

“Jennifer is always looking for ways to speak directly to residents of the district at events held by community groups, and we are excited about the many opportunities that both candidates will have to discuss their goals for the 49th District,” Carson said.

Currently, Bertino-Tarrant serves as the Will County regional superintendent of schools.

Peck is calling for a two-hour debate at what he refers to as a “neutral venue” in neither candidate’s hometown. Peck is a Plainfield resident, while Bertino-Tarrant lives in Shorewood.

At the debate, Peck said, citizens would be invited to attend and ask questions throughout the event, and both candidates would be able to come armed with notes or prepared statements.

“I believe there are few better examples of explaining who you are and what you stand for than Lincoln-Douglas style debates, and no better way of having a direct, yet respectful, discourse with an opponent on issues,” Peck said.

In addition to taking part in debates, Carson said Bertino-Tarrant is working to engage with voters one-on-one.

Jennifer has knocked on thousands of doors already, and her volunteers have rang tens of thousands of doorbells over the last few months to talk about the issues with their neighbors in the district,” Carson said. “While Jennifer is certainly looking forward to the series of upcoming debates, we are most excited about continuing to visit neighborhoods across the district to talk with voters about what matters to them most.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the Grand Haven candidates forum would take place at the Grand Haven community. It is scheduled to take place at Lewis University in Romeoville.

Margie Bonuchi September 07, 2012 at 12:39 PM
When I first heard of this, I really thought that it was a great idea. Not just because of these 2 candidates, but as a citizen who values being an informed voter. We all get literature at our front doors but this is a great opportunity to ask the questions that I HAVE and not just have candidates talk about their prepared information. This is especially true for candidates who are running for state wide and federal offfices because the responsibilites for these jobs are much greater and have far reaching effects on the lives of the so many citizens. I have said before these offices cannot just be a patronage gift, but need to be taken seriously by those running who want the best for everyone. I say come out and allow the public to truly get to know you! Margie Bonuchi
Raquel September 07, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Illinois is in dire financial straits. I have attended functions like the one at Grand Haven. All the candidates are invited and voters get to hear five minute sound bites from each candidate. While useful, this is only an introduction to a candidate. Citizens want to know what each candidate wil do to get our state on the right path. The state senate seat is key. We want to know what they are going to do. While it is nice that candidates are knocking on doors and talking to their neighbors, it is entirely different to let a large audience hear where you stand. A candidate can't tailor his or her message from one house to the next. I'm all for a debate. I want to be an informed voter. Ms. Tarrant should want the same.
Greg Nichols September 07, 2012 at 01:27 PM
It is nice to see how candidates perform at events like what is planned at Grand Haven so I am looking forward to those types of presentations. However, it is much more difficult for a candidate to think on their feet by having to respond to questions that they have not had an opportunity to prepare for in advance. I think that a candidate for State Senate needs to know their position on issues well enough to have a simple off-the-cuff conversation about them as well as be able to defend their viewpoints without resorting to "soundbite" recitation. I think the people should be able to see how these candidates perform in the scripted and un-scripted forms of venues. There should be at least one open debate in addition to the scripted presentations.
Tim September 07, 2012 at 01:32 PM
A public servent is one that is willing to make their case to the citzens they represent. A politician is one that hides their belliefs and is unwilling to meet their opponant in the arena of ideas for the citizens to evaluate them. Quit hiding Mrs. Tarrant.
Conservative September 07, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I agree with Raquel, Ms. Tarrant should she take part in these debates as it allows voters to see what they are getting. Rather than being an activist in getting out the vote she should want to inform the voters of what she stands for. Illinois controlled by the dems has failed us, how will Ms. Tarrant bring fresh ideas to the table that don't toe-the party line and vote with her parties majority? I'd like to hear what ideas she has so we can juxtapose her positions to Mr. Garrett.
Conservative September 07, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Well stated Tim, I couldn't agree more what is she hiding?
Tony Fremarek September 07, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Any person who wants to serve in an elected office needs to be willing to debate their opponent. It allows the voters to see and hear the real candidate, and not the literature and sound bites that drive so many of elections today. I would urge Mrs. Tarrant to reconsider her decision for the good of the voters in the 49th District.
Jim Duggan September 07, 2012 at 02:57 PM
“Jennifer is always looking for ways to speak directly to residents of the district at events held by community groups, and we are excited about the many opportunities that both candidates will have to discuss their goals for the 49th District,” Carson said. So my question is if she can not even take 5 minutes to answer questions personally for this article and has to have Carson do it for her then how will she have time for the responibities of the job once elected. Sounds to me like she is scared/to busy for the voters to truly get to know her on her own. I think if you can not spare two hours of your month to spend time on the office you want my vote on, then I do not have a minute to select your name on a ballot.
George Perros September 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
By looking at her clown photo it does not surprise me that she would decline a public debate. BTW: The Grand Haven web site indicates it’s a private gated “Adult Community.” So how can the public attend?
Eyes on Plainfield September 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Peck has always been a "self promoter" and uses his tea party mouthpieces to explain his campaign. I applaud Jennifer and her staff for not falling into a trap set by Peck. Go to Peck's website and you will find a couple so-called "supporters" who actually do not support his campaign. Contact each one and you will get your answer. One question for Peck: What exactly have you accomplished since you were elected a Village Board member?
Maria September 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
As a resident of the 49th district I want to get candidates responses on real issues, Taxes, Pensions, Spending do not hide from the voters, answer their questions i have nothing against either candidate but I am tired of the staged events , have an open forum and let the people decide, anyone that supports the same for Illinois is not getting my vote, get a clue we are broke and need answers before we elect people. Let's start by being open and honest not in a staged event where the real questions are never answered.
Matthew C. Starr September 07, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The ability to engage in an open discussion that is unscripted and unrehearsed with one's opponent speaks to a candidate's ability to handle issues as they come forward. Everything can't be practiced or planned for, and we need elected officials at all levels, but especially in Springfield, who can think on their feet, and be able to answer the questions that voters have about the job they'll do if elected. That means not only going to forums hosted in places like Grand Haven, but participating in a debate/discussion format with the competition. Mr. Peck's invitation should be accepted. What's the harm in letting the voters see these two candidates as they are, unrehearsed and unscripted. Anyone running for political office at this level shouldn't shy away from public debate. Ms. Tarrant should absolutely rethink her decision, and let the voters see exactly what her and Mr. Peck stand for!
Mike Keniley September 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Jennifer's campaign issued a response: she is engaged with the voters (in fact I was out in Plainfield Precinct 8 w/ Jennifer a while back). There will come a time for debate...not just because Mr. Peck has requested it.
Tim September 07, 2012 at 07:35 PM
What is SHE hiding? You have to be joking. Other than today, when was the last time you heard ANYTHING from Peck. When was the last time you looked at his voting record, and noticed he just so happened to not vote at all for some of the most important issues the village has tackled? Peck is an empty suit, and I'm surprised he was able to fool enough people to even get elected. He started running for this seat THE DAY AFTER he was elected to the board. He has known the entire time this was just a stepping stone for his career, and has no problem using people and their good intentions to get there.
my conscience September 07, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Glad to see that there is another “Tim” posting on the Plainfield Patch. The OLD “Tim” had a propensity of inventing a multitude of screen names, in order to debate and promote himself. So welcome, “new Tim”. Of course, in the meantime the "old Tim" et.al. made a posting here too.
Jason September 07, 2012 at 08:49 PM
If Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant is not willing to stand in front of a friendly crowd of voters, what is she going to do when the major policy issues are before her when the stakes are highest? Declining to debate is just plain silly.
JeffK September 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Interesting. This is usually a tactic used by the candidate down in the polls. I assumed Peck would walk away with it. Must be tighter than I thought.
my conscience September 07, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Anybody > especially voters < reading this string of opinions should realize that one person can have a multitude of screen names. So what might appear to be a ground-swell of support for an idea, or a candidate, can in some cases be just a guy without a regular full time job. The people are not that stupid.
Jethro September 08, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Garrett Peck...family man ( hush hush )
Plainfield Pete September 08, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Seems like people have selective reading skills. The article says that there are already at least four public forums and debates scheduled. How many do you need?
Tinfoil Hat September 08, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Things never change-- the typical party hacks form the LEFT responding with personal attacks against Mr. Peck. This will be Jenny's strategy.. Launch a half million dollar TV/mail campaign slandering Mr. Peck with lies and untrue promises on her end. Remember who has already funded her- Mike Madigan's Chicago machine-- with tens of thousands of dollars--. Soon to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The "forums" her staff refer to are not debates, they are structured events where the candidates have rehearsed presentations and are not acountable to answer questions from the audience or respond to each other's actions. Jenny will hide behind Madigan's $ for the next 60 days and that is that!
Tim September 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
personal attacks? Feel free to point out Mr. Pecks voting record on important issues when he was on the village board. Even the Patch 'info page' on him has absolutely no mention of his voting record; http://plainfield.patch.com/local_facts/march-2012-primary-garrett-peck His own website, while mentioning his 'voting record', doesn't actually mention a single important vote. Not one. http://peck4senate.com/ If the man himself can't find anything to put on his own website, to give people an idea exactly what type of voting record he has, why should anyone vote for him?
Tinfoil Hat September 09, 2012 at 02:03 AM
What's interesting is that Mr. Peck's opponent doesn't have ANY voting record whatsoever to stand on. I do remember Mr. Peck voting against all of the water rate and tax increases. I emailed him to thank him. He also sends my family Birthday and Christmas cards as well with a disclaimer that tax payer dollars were not used. I never even heard of this Jenny lady.

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