(CBS) – Most Democrats hoping to be the next Illinois governor took the stage at a public forum  this weekend.

Seven of the eight Democratic hopefuls attended a public discussion at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.

READ MORE: Coronavirus In Illinois: 298 New Cases, Including 11 Deaths; 52% Of Adults Fully Vaccinated

Candidates took questions from the audience, on topics ranging from education and pensions to raising the state’s minimum wage. The event was hosted by the Democratic Women of the South Suburbs.

READ MORE: Archdiocese Of Chicago Relaxes COVID-19 Protocols, Lifts Capacity Limits

Among the Dems vying for a  primary win in march are: venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker; 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar; Illinois state Sen. Daniel Biss; Bob Daiber, a school superintendent from Madison County; small business owner Alex Paterakis; anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman; andstate Rep. Scott Drury.

Absent from Saturday’s forum was businessman Chris Kennedy.

He held a campaign event of his own on Chicago’s South Side, laying out his plan to fight violence in the city.

MORE NEWS: Man Shot While Standing Outside In Old Norwood Park

Whichever Democrat emerges from a party primary is expected to square off against Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner.