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Republican Fitzgerald Says He Won't Oppose Gay Marriage at Oswego Forum

Shorewood trustee differentiates himself from conservative field.

Candidates in the Republican race for the 49th State Senate District discussed everything from tax reform to Illinois' civil union law at a forum sponsored by the Oswego Toastmasters on Tuesday night at the . 

The candiates are Shorewood village trustee Gary Fitzgerald, Oswego village trustee Tony Giles, Plainfield trustee Garrett Peck and Will County board member Brian Smith. Due to illness, Peck could not attend the forum. Spokesman Mark Batinick filled in for Peck.

Few differences emerged among the candidates on the state's biggest problems, including the budget deficit and the state's comparatively high unemployment rate. However, Fitzgerald did come out in support of civil unions and gay marriage, saying the government should not be involved in such private matters. His opponents all said they did not support the state's civil union law. 

"Civil unions are the law of the land and I don't oppose it," Fitzgerald said. "I also don't oppose gay marriage. I don't think it's any business of the government's to meddle in these affairs."

Another highlight of the evening came when Giles took a swipe at Peck, who he sees as his chief rival in the race. Giles asked why Peck wasn't at the forum and repeatedly took shots at Peck's endorcement from former judge and State Senator Ed Petka, who Giles said is collecting one of the largest government pensions in the state. Records show that Petka collects an annual pension of about $182,000.

The newly drawn 49th State Senate District encompasses portions of Oswego, Montgomery, Plainfield, Romeoville and Shorewood.

Voters head to the primary polls in Illinois on Tuesday, March 20.

Click the videos attached to this article to hear what the candidates have to say on the following questions:

  • What specific and new ideas do you have to spur economic development locally and in the state of Illinois?
     
  • Should pension reform in the state of Illinois include public safety employees?
     
  • What incentives, if any, do you support to keep some of the state's largest employers (like Caterpillar) from leaving the state?

Editor's note: Oswego Patch editor Steven Jack was a moderator of this forum.

Tina Conley March 02, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Well said Chris! I'd like to add that the word "transparency" is more than a word, besides it's getting old. Let's start with being honest and go from there.
Brian March 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Jesus, Gay marriage - Who cares. It's not really my concern, yours, or our governments who is married happily. I'm constantly amazed at how those who are all for 'smaller government' want government dictating who can and can't be married. . Guess it's smaller government as long as you agree with me! And Chris Spero nailed it. I don't think it matters which side you label yourself as, just about every point he highlighted is something we can all agree on. We need politicians who work for the voters instead of their special interest groups and lobbyists.
ayar March 14, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Chris, with "cuts" read "create job layoffs", which further brings down the economy as laid off people don't spend as much. With oil refineries, we have plenty of them, a bunch have been shut down to "drive up price" - google it. You'll be surprised. There isn't a lot at the *State* level to be done to create jobs, but at the Federal level, a *lot* can be done. Tax offshoring to give American workers a shot at the jobs that are getting shoved overseas by the boatload [s.3816], making the price about the same. If it's a choice between an American worker and an overseas one at the same price, I for one believe in the American worker and believe we will win every time, don't you? Energy policy ? why are we still burning Dinosaur carcasses in our gas tanks ? can't we do better ? we have electric hybrids - can we give companies tax incentives to lower the cost of those cars ? can we have regulations set up that those new cars that are produced not only burn gasoline, but also diesel *and* corn ethanol ? that gives the average Joe a *choice* of what to buy to fill their tank up, Marketing at work. Who loses ? nobody. It's a win-win. Domestic drilling: only if there are regulations to make the companies *sell to the U.S. only*. Alaska and some of the other American oil is sometimes being *exported* to other countries. why?
Chris Spero March 15, 2012 at 03:58 AM
ayar- With cuts, that's exactly what I mean. We have a gross excess of public employees, especially at the federal level. We have multiple agencies duplicating the same work, and gross malfeasance on all levels. We definitely need to make major cuts. I actually DO understand the oil commodity market. Increasing American oil production can help to drive down the prices, especially when turmoil in the Middle East is driving them up. As far as refineries, new, modern ones will serve us better than old, outdated ones. They would be safer, and more efficient. As far as burning gasoline, it's still the best and most economical fuel currently available. No amount of pie-in-the-sky legislation will make someone come up with a car that burns magic fairy dust. Corn ethanol is a joke. It is far less efficient than gasoline, and takes an enormous amount of energy to produce. In fact, rather than being an "environmentally friendly" alternative to gasoline, it's actually rather unfriendly to the environment. Further, if it weren't for the fact that Americans are heavily subsidizing it, it would cost substantially more at the pump. The only people who are well served by ethanol are the corn producers. Meanwhile, the price of corn (also a commodity), has skyrocketed, which has driven up the cost of food, including meat, since livestock is fed with corn. If there ever IS a reliable alternative to gasoline, I'm all for letting some entrepreneur develop it and bring it to market.
ayar March 15, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Chris, which departments have a gross excess of employees at the Federal level? my problem on this is that I'm just not fond of the thought of cutting jobs during a deep economic recession where the market is unstable to begin with. IDES is overloaded as it is. Senate bill 3816 [s.3816] would add jobs, which is the big first step. But back to the oil commodity market : shipping american oil overseas when we have a "shortage" of oil here, how do we stop that ? and the refineries - new ones might be more efficient, but shutting down the old ones to drive up price in this market setting [$4 + a gallon] is just plain wrong. Bringing down price - maybe subsidize refineries to keep them open? Alternatives ? me, I'm rooting for the ENV research- hydrogen fuel cell technology - pulled from water itself. cheap and plentiful. No corn needed.

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