Quad Cities Interfaith holds forum for Illinois primary candidates

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 11:46 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - With the Illinois primaries just two weeks away, Quad Cities Interfaith hosted candidate debates for two races in Rock Island County on Tuesday night.

Last May, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos announced he would not be seeking reelection, which leaves two Democrats and one Republican looking to fill his office.

Both Democratic candidates were in attendance. According to QC Interfaith Republican candidate, Patrick Moody was invited but didn’t participate in the forum.

Throughout the forum 17-year department veteran Marcus Herbert and 29-year veteran Darren Hart shared similar stances on several issues like gun violence, deputy recruitment and school safety.

According to both of them, the one thing that sets them apart is their experience.

“You’ve got one [candidate] with 17 years,” Herbert said. “Personally I think that’s the sweet spot ... You’ve got somebody who’s hungry for change. I haven’t been in that position to make that change.”

Hart argues he can still bring change.

”I won’t run from that, I’ve got 29 years of experience ... about 25 years with the Sheriff’s Office,” Hart said. “I think that’s what we need at the Sheriff’s Office, continued leadership with some change.”

Shifting gears to the Illinois House of Representatives, three Democrats and one Republican are vying for the seat in the 72nd district.

On the topic of criminal justice reform Democrats, Gregg Johnson and Thurgood Brooks are supporters of the SAFE-T Act which made Illinois the first state in the country to ban cash bail. It also sets certification standards for individual police officers across the state.

Johnson said police departments need to have funding to train officers against racial biases.

“We need to make sure our workforces are trained,” Johnson said. “So, when they go into our communities that they conduct themselves in a professional manner and that they don’t discriminate against people.”

Meanwhile, Brooks said more can be done to prevent repeat offenders by listening to the community.

“That includes people who are often affected most,” Brooks said. “The police commission that we passed in Rock Island includes two returning citizens — two felons — because their perspective is valuable.”

Fellow Democrat Jeffrey Deppe and Republican Tom Martens were also invited by QC Interfaith but neither was in attendance.

The Illinois primary election is on June 28. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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