ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Local state senate and house candidates squared off in a forum Monday night. 23 news was there and has more on Monday night's main topic, human services.
"They're not numbers on a spreadsheet, they are human lives and we need to make sure that these people get the service they need,” said Steve Stadelman. The Winnebago County Human Services Department teamed up with the League of Women Voters to host a forum on the future of human services in Illinois.
"It's taking people off of human services that don't need to be there. If we take people off that don't need to be there, our costs are going to come down, we'll see better services to those who need it,” said State Rep. John Cabello.
In addition to human services, 34th district State Senate candidates Steve Stadelman and Frank Gambino and 68th district House candidates John Cabello and Carl Wasco were questioned how they'd handle the state's massive debt.
"We have to keep an eye on the budget, that's where the public/ private partnerships come in. But we have to make sure they’re efficient and that the people in them deserve to be there," said Wasco. Gambino says solving the budget mess starts with coming up with a solution to fund state pensions. "We have to get our pension system under control because as our pension obligation, as it grows, keeps eating into our health and human services as well as education and other services," said Gambino.
All of the candidates stressed the importance of human service providers in the community and that funding shouldn't be cut. However, Cabello says they need to find where else to make cuts, but the process should be transparent. 67th district State Representative Chuck Jefferson was also questioned at the forum, though he does not have an opponent.