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Posted: 2/26/2002 7:20:12 AM EDT
As candidates for governor, Democrats Paul Vallas and Rod Blagojevich have nearly identical beliefs when it comes to the need for stronger gun control. But anyone who has been in Southern Illinois in recent weeks might come away with a very different impression. Trying to launch a campaign Downstate where he isn't very well known, Vallas has found his candidacy embraced by Glenn Poshard, a former congressman from Marion and the party's nominee for governor four years ago. And as he campaigns for Vallas in a region of the state where gun control is anathema, Poshard has been claiming to audiences that if Blagojevich is elected governor, he would seek to disarm them. At a recent rally with Vallas in Marion, Poshard lambasted Blagojevich, a Chicago congressman, for treating him like a "redneck" during the last campaign and for being fixated on gun control measures. Poshard said gun control was the issue that cost him the election in 1998 and Blagojevich played a major part in his defeat. "Rod Blagojevich isn't even in the same ballpark with (Vallas)," the Marion Daily Republican quoted Poshard as saying at the rally. Poshard said nothing about where Vallas, the former CEO of the Chicago schools, stood on gun control. Neither did Vallas. With Blagojevich, Vallas and former Atty. Gen. Roland Burris each roughly splitting up the Chicago-area vote, Downstate has emerged as the new political battleground in the March 19 Democratic primary--and the fight may come down to guns. Two days before Poshard delivered his anti-Blagojevich polemic, a friend of the former Downstate congressman's began mailing out letters to fellow "sportsmen" in the region, extolling "Vallas for governor since he supports our 2nd Amendment rights." Ronald House of Benton, a one-time candidate for the state Senate, said his support for Vallas was not based on his friendship with Poshard but on Vallas' "reasonable approach to gun-control legislation." "I'm convinced that Mr. Blagojevich's approach is far too radical to me," said House, who with his family donated nearly $10,000 to Poshard's 1998 campaign. House complained that more than half the bills introduced in Congress by Blagojevich concerned gun-control issues. "I believe that Paul Vallas' positions on guns is much, much closer to mine than Rod Blagojevich's." But Vallas' position on gun control is almost identical to Blagojevich's. Both oppose allowing people to carry concealed firearms and both support a ban on semi-automatic weapons. In June 2000, at a Loop vigil for the young victims of gun violence, Vallas said: "The most critical issue is to get control of firearms." While Chicago schools chief, Vallas also eliminated riflery and marksmanship training as part of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program. But Vallas hopes to gain votes from gun-owner rights supporters, such as House, by pointing to a bill Blagojevich sponsored in 1993 while serving in the Illinois House. The measure, which failed, would have as initially submitted raised fees for an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card from $5 for five years to $100 a year.
Link Posted: 2/26/2002 7:21:39 AM EDT
Vallas spokesman Brendan Reilly said the legislation would antagonize gun owners and discourage people from renewing their FOID cards. "It's ludicrous," Reilly said. "You shouldn't take away the one tool the state has to track who owns guns." Aides to Blagojevich said he amended the bill to reduce the fee increase to $25 annually. The legislation died in committee. Now, Blagojevich's aides say he will not support an increase in FOID card fees unless the Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, an informal group of pro-gun lawmakers in Springfield, specifically requests it. "When it comes down to the rights of law-abiding citizens and hunters, there is no difference on this issue (between Blagojevich and Vallas) and to say there is, is downright dishonest," said Blagojevich spokeswoman Amanda Crumley. Reilly, Vallas' spokesman, acknowledged that Poshard's views "on some of these things don't necessarily reflect Paul's views." Still, he said, "Paul does support 2nd Amendment rights, and he also supports prudent gun-safety laws." Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune http://chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0202260208feb26.story?coll=chi%2Dnewslocal%2Dhed
Link Posted: 2/26/2002 7:55:35 AM EDT
I'm out of this state in 6 months. If a Democrat wins, this state will go downhill fast! Av.
Link Posted: 2/26/2002 8:39:59 AM EDT
Vallas = Teachers Burris = Blacks Blagojevich = Dem machine They all have their niche supporters, will depend upon who gets them out more for primary. I won't vote for any of them
Link Posted: 2/26/2002 1:08:17 PM EDT
O'malley is ideal, but ain't going to win. The best strategical vote we have is to vote against blageovich in the primaries. Corrine wood sucks too, but she at least has a FOID and two guns, while Ryan just tries to buy them illegally. I'd rather just vote for Poshard, he's way better than George Ryan.
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