Forum to Introduce Democratic Hopefuls in Illinois' 15th Congressional District

Jan 16, 2018

The two democratic candidates hoping to unseat longtime republican Congressman John Shimkus are going before voters this weekend.

Carl Spoerer of Mahomet and Kevin Gaither of Charleston have agreed to participate in a candidate's forum.

Forum organizer Jennifer White with the group Coles Progressives says both of the democratic hopefuls are new to politics, but both are unhappy with the political climate in Washington.
 
"After the 2016 election, they just both felt very strongly that they needed to help change the way that things were going and so they threw their hats in there."

White says the 90-minute forum will give Spoerer and Gaither a chance to make opening and closing statements. In between, they'll field questions from community members in attendance.

She says everyone, not just democrats, are invited to attend.
 
"We hope that people - no matter what their political affiliation - will come to the forum, they'll leave better informed about the candidates and be more excited to vote and be involved in their political process."

Eastern Illinois University professor Gail Mason will be the moderator.

Republican John Shimkus - who has held the seat since 1997 - is running unopposed on the GOP ballot.

White says the public's disapproval of Congress makes Shimkus vulnerable this year.

The candidate forum is Sunday, January 21 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Charleston Carnegie Public Library.