A Civil Debate

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Champaign- In a campaign that has been filled with negativity, the 13th Congressional District debate between Republican Incumbent Congressman Rodney Davis and Democratic Challenger Mark Wicklund, was a welcomed change. 

The debate held Thursday evening, saw two candidates focused on discussing issues important to the district, instead of attacking their opponent. In fact, Congressman Davis and Wicklund even agreed on many issues. "I was surprised how much he actually agreed with me on, especially with the differences in our policies." said Mark Wicklund, who is from Decatur. 

While the two candidates did agree on many issues, their policies to fix the issues varied. One thing that the two were able to agree on was Mental Illness and Gun Control. "If you take a look at all the non-terrorist mass killings in the country, all of them are due to mental illness." said Congressman Davis. 

"We need to take Mental Health serious,  most of the gun violence we see is because of mental health." said Wicklund. Wicklund also adding the importance of closing the gun show loophole, that allows many people to buy guns without the same restrictions as when buying in a store. 

Another topic that they agreed on was that student loan debt needed to be controlled, however, they did not agree on how to contain that debt. "It's gotten out of hand, and the first thing the government should do is go in and fix the interest rate that is on these student loans. They are too high, the interest rate on these loans should be no higher than the fees associated with running these programs" said Wicklund. Something Congressman Davis agreed with, "We have to continue to address the student loan crisis. Mark is right, we need to lower the interest rate on the student loans, and I did that." he said. "I actually passed a bill that took the government out of setting student loans." Davis also spoke about his bill that would have businesses pay for student loan debt of their employees, something that Wicklund did not agree with. 

The two candidates were unable to agree on two topics, healthcare and immigration. While speaking on immigration, Wickland said the visa program needed to be fixed in the country to help improve immigration in the country. Also adding that he did support allowing immigrants who came to the country illegally, or overstayed their visas, to stay in the country. Something Congressman Davis says he does support, saying he does not believe they should be granted amnesty. Davis also adding that immigration has been made into a political issue. 

As for health care, not surprisingly, Congressman Davis would like to repeal the Affordable Care Act. "It's failing, other political leaders have called it crazy. We have to f fix it. We put a bill the president's desk , that passed through the House and the Senate, that repealed Obamacare." said Davis, "President Obama used is executive order to veto that bill." While Wicklund agreed that the ACA needs to be fixed, he does not agree with repealing it completely. "I'm not in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act, it's a good starting piece of legislation" he said. 

The two were also asked by the panelists about trade policies, their thoughts on government overall, the possibility of going to Mars by 2030, and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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