Ill. Rep. Candidates Brown & Roman Differ on Gambling Expansion
State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and his GOP primary challenger, Rob Roman (R-Chrisman) agreed on most issues at a forum at the Champaign Public Library on Monday.
During their appearance before the Champaign County Active Senior Republicans, the two candidates agreed that balancing the state budget was a top priority, and that they wanted to roll back the state income tax hike, and allow the carrying of concealed weapons in Illinois.
But Brown and Roman disagree on expanding gambling in the state. Roman, who serves as Ross Township Supervisor in Edgar County, argued that the gambling expansion bill that failed in Springfield last year included help for the horse racing industry, and related jobs that are mostly in downstate Illinois.
"We're looking at those racetracks closing, and these 30,000 or 40,000 jobs going away", Roman said. "Where are most of these jobs? They're not north of '80 (Interstate Highway 80), trust me. They're south of '80. That's where the trainers are, and that's where the farmers are. That's where we get all our supplies for the horseracing industry."
Roman is a standard bred horse farm owner, according to his campaign website.
But Brown, while voicing support for horse racing jobs, said he doesn't want gambling in Illinois to get any bigger.
"I oppose gambling expansion, and the reason behind that is, I believe it preys on the most vulnerable among us," Brown said. "The folks that, a lot of times, can't afford to gamble, are the people you see at these facilities."
Both Brown and Roman say they oppose legislation to allow online sales of state lottery tickets. But Roman said he needed to learn more about the proposal to be sure.
Brown and Roman also disagreed on accepting campaign donations from political action committees. Roman pledged to never accept PAC money. Brown says his PAC money came from the National Rifle Association, Illinois Right to Life and the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, among other groups, and he was happy to be associated with them.
Brown is a first-term state representative and a fifth-generation family farmer, who defeated Democrat Robert Flider in the 2010 election for the old 101st Illinois House District. Roman is a business and horse farm owner, who works as Director of Utility Resources at the University of Illinois. Both are running in the new 102nd House district. It stretches from Shelbyville ... through Arthur and Tuscola ... into southern Champaign County, including Savoy and Sidney ... and over to Paris, out to the Indiana border.
The new district includes much of Brown's old district, but not his current residence in Decatur. Brown says he'll move into the new 102nd District if elected. There are no Democrats running in the district in the March 20th primary.