CHICAGO (CBS) — The 14th congressional district in Illinois could help decide the balance of power in the U.S. House.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley sat down with Democratic challenger Lauren Underwood at DeKalb Municipal Airport, not far from Northern Illinois University.READ MORE: Man Shot, Critically Wounded In Grant Park Near Roosevelt Road
Blakley: What, in your view, is at stake in this race in the 14th district?
Underwood: Literally, our healthcare is at stake. Healthcare for people like me with preexisting conditions is literally on the ballot. We’ve heard the professional Republicans make a promise that if they maintain the majority, they will take up another Obamacare repeal vote in the lame duck session. So the sense of urgency is here.
Blakley: Underwood has made health care the centerpiece of her campaign. And she’s hammered Congressman Randy Hultgren for his vote to repeal Obamacare. Representative Hultgren has said he believes the people in the district do not want government-run healthcare. Do you want that?
Underwood: I want individuals and families to have high quality, affordable healthcare coverage. We know we need some action, some intervention, to help make it more affordable for middle class families. I don’t see that as government-run healthcare. I see this as our representative stepping up and fighting for our families.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
Blakley: Underwood maintains the race is much tighter than most analysts expected.
Underwood: We are statistically tied. So this is a true toss-up. What’s changed? The families in the 14th realize they have choice on their ballot.
We have a representative that for too long was absent, didn’t show up for us while Congress was considering such considerable pieces of legislation like health care, like tax reform, like education bills and concealed carry reciprocity. And all these things that would touch families around NIU. Our representative was absent, was not responsive and literally was not accessible to people in our district.
Blakley: What’s your closing statement to voters in this district?
Underwood: Congressman Hultgren has had four tries, four terms to show impact for our community and he has failed. He didn’t show up for us when it counted. He has a voting record actually hurts families in our community and we deserve better.MORE NEWS: Watchdog Report Says CPD Has Taken Few Steps To Fix Problems With Records Management In Court Cases