Illini Democrats host gubernatorial candidate forum

Four gubernatorial candidates came together on one stage for a forum hosted by the Illini Democrats Monday night. (WCCU)

Four gubernatorial candidates came together on one stage for a forum hosted by the Illini Democrats Monday night.

The campus organization invited the candidates to campus as a way for students to hear about the issues that matter to them.

The candidates, Daniel Biss, Tio Hardiman, Chris Kennedy and Bob Daiber spent two hours discussing platforms and policies that affect the newest generation of voters.

"So the question is should tuition be free,” candidate Daniel Biss said. “And the answer is of course it should.”

For Biss, a free education system should extend beyond high school.

"We made free access to universal public elementary and secondary education,” Biss said. “Our economy has changed and it’s time for our public services to change with it.”

Chris Kennedy talked scholarships, saying need-based scholarships needs to take priority.

"In higher ed you learn that merit-based scholarships almost always go to people who always score highest on the ACT,” Kennedy said. “Kids who score highest on the ACT are almost always from the wealthiest families, so we developed a system where we are simply recirculating our charitable dollars among the super-rich. We need to move away from that system and focus on need-based scholarships."

The candidates also talked post-grad, when asked how the state can ensure good paying jobs to college graduates.

"As governor, I plan to make that a reality by setting up a task force of job creation and a job-matched task force to make sure these college students end up getting matched up with some of these high-level companies,” candidate Tio Hardiman said.

For candidate Bob Daiber, it's about bringing the jobs to Illinois and then making graduates part of the economy.

"We don't market the greatness of this state,” Daiber said. “Until we have a state that has the leadership in the governor's office that puts forth a marketing plan that's drawing businesses in.”

The general primary elections are Tuesday, March 20.

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