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McHenry County residents visit forum to meet 14th Congressional District candidates

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Jim Walz, D-Gurnee, talks to voters as a 14th Congressional District candidate at Algonquin Area Public Library Saturday. - Ed Komenda / ekomenda@shawmedia.com

ALGONQUIN – Voters in the 14th Congressional District drove from all parts of McHenry County to visit the Algonquin Area Public Library on Saturday afternoon catch a glimpse of the candidates would might one day represent them in Washington.

“There is a lot I disagree with going on with the Republicans,” said Mike Brown, 52, who drove from Woodstock to meet the Democratic candidates hoping to knock out the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano. “It’s important to stay informed about who’s running. Now it’s apparent we have to pay attention.”

The 14th Congressional District includes a slice of northeastern Illinois, including portions of McHenry, Lake, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, DuPage and Will counties.

Packed in the library basement at the invitation of Indivisible IL14, these six 14th Congressional District candidates showed up to meet with voters: Matt Brolley, John Hosta, Victor Swanson, Lauren Underwood, Jim Walz and George Weber. Candidate Daniel Roldan-Johnson did not attend.

Residents visited to ask about the candidates’ stances on health care, climate change and property taxes.

Steve Kaminsky, 59, of Huntley, is a retired grocery store manager. A Democrat, Kaminsky said Hultgren has been a disappointment.

“He doesn’t talk to anybody,” Kaminsky said. “He’s lockstep with Donald Trump. He’s lockstep with business. He doesn’t care about anyone in this room.”

Kaminsky said he’s worried about what a lot of voters in the country are concerned about, including health care and military spending – but he said he’s concerned about something a little broader.

“I care about the civility of our nation,” he said. “It has been destroyed. You can’t get anything done when you are screaming at each other.”

Ron Meissen, 69, of Crystal Lake, arrived Saturday looking for candidates with climate change at the forefront of their agendas.

“I’m committed to someone who wants to take action on climate change,” said Meissen, who received his Ph.D in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The United States needs to join the global conversation.”

While many residents showed up Saturday aiming to meet new candidates, Dorothea King drove from McHenry to chat with Hultgren – but he was nowhere to be found.

“Hultgren just hides,” said King, 70. She recently moved from Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood to McHenry. “It’s unbelievable to me.”

Hultgren received an invite, according to a central committee administrator, but he did not attend.

The incumbent was the subject of jokes between Democrat voters, who called him names like “Rubberstamp Randy,” attacking his support of controversial Republican agendas – including the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a law that caps homeowners’ property tax deductions at $10,000 for 2018.

The Northwest Herald could not reach Hultgren for comment Saturday.

King shifted her focus to the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to battle Hultgren in the March primary.

“I’m really eager to find out the words and message of the people who are accessible,” King said.