Ill. Senate candidates talk health care

March 24, 2010 3:33:11 PM PDT
Heath care reform is taking center stage in the Illinois race for U.S Senate. Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias joined small business owners Wednesday in support of the newly signed bill. His Republican opponent, Mark Kirk, says if he wins in November, he will lead an effort to repeal the health care measure.

Both Giannoulias and Kirk are trying to make the health care reform bill an issue in the fall campaign.

The day after the president signed the measure into law Giannoulias made his case in his opponent's congressional backyard.

"This health care bill will allow me to stop fighting with the insurance companies and actually focus on fighting my cancer," said Valerie Ihara, Palatine.

The speakers--all from Mark Kirk's 10th congressional district--were health insurance consumers and small business owner who praised last weekends passage of health care reform.

"It's what I've been hoping and praying, that I can buy insurance for myself and future employees," said Karen Wharton, small business owner.

The event in the kitchen of a catering company was staged by the U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias to highlight Republican kirk's "no" vote on the health care reform bill and Kirk's pledge to fight to repeal the measure.

"My congressman, Mark Kirk, wants to take a giant step backward," said David Borris, small business owner.

"He is saying he will repeal this bill. You go into the ballot box in November, and you can vote for someone who is going to repeal this bill or someone who is going to work hard to continue to try and reform the health insurance industry," said Alexi Giannoulias, (D) U.S. Senate nominee.

The congressman who opposed the bill because of its cost and tax increases has been unavailable for interviews. Before his vote Sunday, he taped this message still available on YouTube.

Before the Giannoulias event, the Illinois Republican Party issued a statement saying small business owner David Borris was a radical activist citing petitions the caterer signed related to the Arab-Israeli conflict several years ago.

"I'm happy to discuss it with you but I don't think this is the forum for it," said Borris.

"Five minutes before you walk into a press conference, they attack an individual who is here to talk about business and that's what they focused their campaign on. People are sick and tired of it," said Giannoulias.

The Kirk campaign issued another release Wednesday on Cook County authorities taking custody of fugitive Boston Blackies restaurant owner Nick Giannis, a major Giannoulias campaign contributor in the past. He is charged in a check-kiting scheme. Giannoulias has donated the amount of Giannis' contributions to charity.