The standing-room-only crowd peppered U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren with questions and comments on tax cuts, global warming and national unity during an hour-long forum he hosted Monday in Yorkville.
The atmosphere became tense a few times as the crowd, which included a strong mix of liberals and conservatives, responded to fellow audience members with shouted slogans or jeers. Hultgren limited his own responses to a minute but didn’t get through a quarter of the audience.
Some audience members traveled from Batavia, South Elgin, Aurora, Geneva and West Chicago to speak with their representative at a town hall forum at Yorkville’s City Hall. They pressed him on the causes of global warming, the Bush tax cuts, the federal tax code and infrastructure improvements. (Click here to see video of Hultgren’s responses.)
Several postal workers also urged him to support funding measures that would save postal jobs and avoid shuttering several post offices.
Throughout the comments, Hultgren emphasized that he wanted Washington’s leaders to limit spending, comparing the nation’s burgeoning debt to famous boxer Mike Tyson filing for bankruptcy after a lucrative career.
“Do you think Mike Tyson had a spending problem or a tax problem?” Hultgren asked the crowd. “It’s the same thing.”
When it came to funding Illinois infrastructure improvements (which Kendall County Democratic Women President Chrisi Vineyard said received a low grade), Hultgren said he supported federal funding for those projects and wanted to reduce the “hoops you have to jump through” to complete federally-funded projects.
“I will support good, strong, safe infrastructure that’s responsible,” Hultgren said.
When asked about job creation, Hultgren mentioned that 65 percent of jobs are created by small businesses.
“What I hear over and over again is: What we’re doing isn’t working, that there’s uncertainty out there, the tax code that we’ve got is broken,” Hultgren said. “And a lot of things that have been done recently do nothing to encourage innovators, small businesses owners, to hire and grow their businesses. So we’ve got to bring certainty back.”
One local small businessman, though, complained about the federal tax rate he paid, especially compared with rates much larger corporations and much wealthier individuals paid.
Audience member Frank Szabo, who has lived in Aurora since immigrating from Hungry in 1959, urged the crowd to move beyond partisanship and to support measures that were good for the country as a whole.
“It brings tears to my eyes when I see the country in the shape it is today … I don’t blame him,” Szabo said, indicating Hulgren, a first-term Congressman. “He’s a rookie in there. He can’t play God.”