Illinois Governors Race

The Highlights: Richard Irvin, Paul Schimpf and Max Solomon Spar in Gubernatorial Forum

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Three Republican candidates for Illinois governor participated in a forum on Tuesday evening, with all three weighing in on a wide variety of issues.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, State Sen. Paul Schimpf and Attorney Max Solomon participated in the forum, which was cohosted by NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago. NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern served as the moderator of the forum.

These are some of the more noteworthy answers given by candidates during the forum.

Note: The candidates were also asked about whether they would support a ban on abortion in the state of Illinois, and how they would have reacted as governor if a school shooting similar to the one that took place in Texas on Tuesday occurred in Illinois. Those stories can be found at their respective hyperlinks.

Would You Change State Laws on FOID Cards, Background Checks for Purchasing Weapons?

“Yes (we should have) background checks, and we should make sure that we have reasonable time between the purchaser purchasing a firearm and actually possessing the firearm. That’s reasonable. We want to make sure that you’re not a felon, and that it’s good guys that are buying the guns, but the FOID card is unnecessary. It’s an additional regulation on gun ownership.” – Max Solomon

“We need to enforce the gun laws that we have. We need to enforce the background checks, but we need to get rid of the FOID one. One of the things that I have that not all my competitors do is I have a voting record. I have voted for a strong Second Amendment as a state senator.” – Sen. Schimpf

“I believe in the Second Amendment, but I believe that background checks are very necessary. The FOID card system in Illinois is broken. Specifically, my FOID card expired during COVID. It took me a year to get another one. The system is broken, and definitely needs to be fixed, but we need background checks to ensure that guns don’t get in the hands of criminals and folks with mental illnesses.” – Mayor Irvin

NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago hosted a televised forum for a trio of Republican candidates vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the 2022 election. Re-watch the full event.

Would You Consider Ordering the Illinois National Guard to Help Chicago Deal With Crime?

“I would definitely call them in Chicago….The fact is that we’ve got to address crime head on. You don’t simply address it by coming up with knee jerk rules. You address it with what I call the three C’s: Children, cops, and community. Focus on getting kids in more positive programs and off the streets because kids are the ones committing most of the crime. Get police officers returned to the beat, and get police officers in our neighborhoods identifying who the bad actors are and being proactive instead of reactive, and the final C is to empower our communities to help the police take back their streets.” – Mayor Irvin

“It’s gone too far (with the curfew). Not only would I be calling the National Guard, I would be accepting federal help and federal aid without any loyalty to whomever is president. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a Republican or Democratic president. I remember in 2020 (when) President Trump offered to help Chicago (during looting and unrest in the city) and the mayor of Chicago refused that help and had choice words for him. As governor, it wouldn’t matter to me whose guy was president.” – Max Solomon

“The National Guard is not a solution that you can just say ‘I’m going to call in the National Guard, and that’s going to solve all the problems.’ We have to have a governor that is going to unequivocally support our law enforcement. We don’t solve the crime problem without strong police and law enforcement knowing that they have a governor who has their back. It is unconscionable that JB Pritzker is running for reelection while crime is spiraling out of control and if I can’t solve that problem, I will not be running for reelection.” – Sen. Schimpf

With the primary election just over a month away, both stations have partnered the Chicago Urban League, The Latino Policy Forum and the Union League Club of Chicago to host a forum on Tuesday, May 24 featuring Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, State Senator Paul Schimpf and Attorney Max Solomon.

How Would You Address the Racial Wealth Gap in the State?

“I believe that the best way to build wealth is to empower individuals, small businesses, give people back the power to pursue their livelihoods. What I would do as governor is deregulate, give power back to the individual, and make sure that we can help every ethnicity, regardless of race, or whatever their ethnic background or social background.” – Max Solomon

Would You Abolish the State’s Fuel Tax?

“We need to get rid of that predatory practice of charging tax on tax. The state of Illinois charges sales taxes on motor fuel that is already taxed. That is a predatory practice. It needs to go away and that is something that we have proposed in our ‘New Start for Illinois’ program. If you want people to trust government, trust starts with putting in to predatory practices and charging tax on tax is a predatory practice.” – Sen. Schimpf

“There’s two portions of the gas tax. One that goes straight to road improvements, and the other portion that goes to our general fund. We can get rid of the portion that goes to our general fund, and still allow the road improvements and infrastructure renovations. We should absolutely give some relief to our residents.” – Mayor Irvin

During a Republican candidates forum Tuesday, several contenders in the Illinois gubernatorial race were asked if they want former Former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Do You Believe That President Joe Biden Won the Presidency in the 2020 Election?

“Joe Biden is the president. Yes.” – Mayor Irvin

“Yes.” – Sen. Schimpf

“No.” – Max Solomon  

Was the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol an Insurrection?

“No.” – Max Solomon  

“No.” – Sen. Schimpf

“As a lawyer, I think folks should have the opportunity to do peaceful protests, but when anyone breaks the law they should be prosecuted for it. So individuals that broke the law should be prosecuted and those that were engaged in peaceful protests should not.” – Mayor Irvin

On Whether Candidates Would Reinstitute a Mask Mandate if COVID Cases Increase

All three candidates answered that they would not.

On Whether Illinois Should Remain a So-Called ‘Sanctuary State:’

“I will undo the Pritzker administration’s policies that prohibited the Department of Corrections from turning convicted felons over to ICE. ICE is not the enemy in Illinois. Illinois needs to be a state that can be a beacon of hope for everybody in the world, but you need to obey the laws.” – Sen. Schimpf

“Immigration is an issue that definitely needs to be dealt with by the federal government…If our borders were secured, we wouldn’t be dealing with these issues. I can tell you as mayor of Aurora we were not a sanctuary city, and as governor, Illinois will not be a sanctuary state.” – Mayor Irvin

“As governor, Illinois will not be a sanctuary state. I’m probably the only immigrant running for governor, and probably the first immigrant (to do so) in the history of Illinois. There’s this misperception that immigrants favor not obeying or disobeying immigration laws. Insofar as every law in Illinois makes it harder for ICE to enforce their laws and federal regulations or laws,” Illinois will not be a participant in that.” – Max Solomon

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