Election preview: Cabello vs Castanza for Illinois’ 68th District

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Republican representative John Cabello has held the 68th District’s seat in the Illinois congress for the last 6 years. He beat his Democratic opponent, Tricia Sweeney, back in 2016. Now, a new Democrat, Jake Castanza, is looking to take his seat.

“I think it was time for a new generation, a new face,” said Castanza, who wants to be that face. The Rockford native is challenging Cabello next month.

Castanza says he was inspired to run by what he called ‘inaction’ in Springfield.

“This whole campaign, the whole message is surrounding that the middle class has been forgotten,” he said. “Whether it’s property taxes [or] costs for pharmaceuticals, legislation is being written by special interests, rather than constituents and the needs of constituents.”

Castanza says he wants to lower property taxes and improve the state highways, which, he adds, would also boost local economies.

“We have highways, rails, waterways, airports…they’re all in this community. We haven’t invested in those things, and I really believe that if we can get a responsible financial scheme in the state set up, we can really invest in those things,” Castanza said.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Cabello prepares for his bid for re-election. 

“I want to do the job, and I think people realize the good service that we’re – hopefully – providing,” he said.

Cabello is also passionate about lowering property taxes, which is why he’s standing by his decision to vote against a budget, during the impasse, that he says would have meant a 32 percent increase for taxpayers.

“I just couldn’t come to voting for this budget with all the spending that’s going on,” Cabello said. “We should reduce the size of government. So, I think that’s one of our big accomplishments, is fighting for the taxpayer, yet again.”

Cabello says he still has more he wants to accomplish in Springfield, one of which is reforming the state’s court system.

“I firmly believe that the best way we can actually start getting a handle on the major crime issues is by keeping people out of the system,” he said. “Catching them as they’re first starting to enter the system. We should have a veteran’s court. We have a drug court, we should have a mental health court.”

Both candidates want to fix the state’s educational system. 

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