Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Christine Cegelis on TV: Single Parents, Single Payer, School vouchers and the 6th CD

This week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features Christine Cegelis, who is running in the 2006 Democratic Primary in the 6th Congressional District [20% in Northwest Cook County and 80% in DuPage County]. Cegelis was the Democratic nominee in the 2004 election and she got 44.2% of the vote, running against 30 year Republican incumbent Cong. Henry Hyde, previously Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and currently Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

Almost everyone, except Cong. Hyde—who is agnostic, so to speak, on the matter, is predicting that Cong. Hyde will announce next month, perhaps at his 81st birthday party, that he will not run again in 2006. Such an announcement of an open seat in the 6th CD will surely precipitate competitive primaries in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Yes, Virginia-- competition, the patron saint of the consumer, might yield two interesting, combative candidates who will agree to debate 35 times—the dream of political TV show hosts everywhere.

A partial transcript of the show with Democratic candidate Cegelis is included below. For an additional partial transcript of the show, hit the icon titled, “Could Bush have been right, Cegelis says no,” to the right, above or below this blog entry.
6th Cong. District Democratic Primary candidate Christine Cegelis debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz the War, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Ukraine, Israel, Palestine and issues related to the march of democracy; Social Security reform, including “personal accounts,” personal security, rates of return, and social security taxes; single payer health care; education, NCLB, school choice and school vouchers; the economy, jobs, tax cuts and much, much more.
Jeff Berkowitz: Sometimes, people slip into poverty for a variety of reasons…maybe they are not educated [well]. There are a variety of things we can do along those lines, right? We can have a more educated work force, right?

Christine Cegelis [6th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary Candidate]: It would be great if we did. But, in fact—

Berkowitz: How would we have a more educated work force?

Cegelis: What we are doing is we are cutting—

Berkowitz: We could even improve the quality of education in kindergarten through 12th Grade, right?

Cegelis: We could, but—

Berkowitz: Is that a state issue or a federal issue?

Cegelis: I think it is a little bit of both. I think it is everyone’s issue.

Berkowitz: It is. But, you were opposed to No Child Left Behind?

Cegelis: I am opposed to that because what is happening …is that it is costing the schools more than they are getting back in federal funds. It is causing our schools to be listed on the failing schools list and they are rejecting federal money now

Berkowitz: So, maybe we need some competition in public education. You would have a chance to vote on that if you were in Congress because they control Washington, DC, in a sense. They [the Congress] have passed a voucher program, a school choice, school voucher program for Washington, DC [a pilot program for 2000 kids, giving each parent $7500 to spend at the school of their choice].

Cegelis: Why would I want to have—I believe in competition and I believe in private schools. I am a Catholic. We have a Catholic school system. It is a wonderful school system. But, I don’t believe in vouchers. If you want the same—

Berkowitz: You don’t believe in school choice? So, you think—

Cegelis: I believe in—

Berkowitz: All of those Catholic individuals in your District, the 6th Congressional District, who want to send their kids to a private school, they should pay twice. They should pay for that education and also pay in property taxes for somebody else’s education. You think that is a fair system?

Cegelis: I think that is a very fair system.

Berkowitz: And a good—

Cegelis: It is a very fair system—

Berkowitz: It’s [fair] competition?

Cegelis: It is a reason why you choose to send your child to a private school. And, if you can afford to send your kid to a private school, then you can do it. And, actually with the Catholic School System--

Berkowitz: Shouldn’t everybody have that choice? Shouldn’t everyone want that choice? Where’s my backpack [Berkowitz reaches down for his UCLA backpack]

Cegelis: Well, that’s one of the reasons why the Catholic School System has been so good. It’s because the choice is that the Catholic Community has taken up the opportunity to help fund education. We, as a parish. We, as a community—we help fund people. We help make sure people that come in—and that is our priority.

Berkowitz: But, a lot of people are in failing schools and they don’t have the means to do this. And they can’t take the money that we are spending in the public schools [on them]—

Cegelis: But, we should—

Berkowitz: Here’s the $10,000 [that we spending per kid, per year in the Chicago Public Schools, give it to] every kid. And we say, here’s our backpack, we put it [the $10,000] in this backpack.

Cegelis: But, you know what, have you ever—

Berkowitz: And, we strap it on—

Cegelis: Have you ever been a single parent, Jeff? Have you ever been a single parent? Are you a single parent? Did you get up and take your kids to a different school every day? As a single parent—

Berkowitz: I want to help the single parents. If you are a single parent-- Are there single parents--

Cegelis: Well, you know what. Here it is, I am a single parent. And, I will tell you what. I am a single parent. And, I will tell you why I feel it so strong--

Berkowitz: You want this backpack?

Cegelis: I do not want that backpack.

Berkowitz: $10,000 in here—

Cegelis: No, I don’t.

Berkowitz: You can send this backpack [with your kid] to your school of your choice.

Cegelis: And, you know why [I don’t want this backpack]. This is useless to me if I can’t get my—

Berkowitz: $10, 000. Useless?

Cegelis: It is useless to me if I don’t have the time to take my child to a different school. If I don’t have time—

Berkowitz: Take her to a neighborhood private school right here in your neighborhood.

Cegelis: And, what if I don’t have a private school in my neighborhood.

Berkowitz: There will be one. Demand creates its own supply.

Cegelis: No, it doesn’t.

Berkowitz: If we give people—If we give people in the City of Chicago 2 billion dollars purchasing power [less than half of the CPS budget to cover half of the kids, all of whom are in failing schools].

Cegelis: I actually had to move my house. I actually got up and moved my house so that my kids could walk to school because I did not have the time to take my kids--

Berkowitz: You didn’t have a voucher choice.

Cegelis: But I didn’t have a private school either.

Berkowitz: That’s right. You didn’t-- because you didn’t have a voucher choice.

Cegelis: I don’t believe. I do not believe—

Berkowitz: If there were 2000 students in your little area-

Cegelis: No.

Berkowitz: Who might go to a public school [or several public schools] now. If we said to all their parents, you have a choice—trust me, there would be private schools created to compete with those public schools.

Cegelis: Trust me, you would not have, as a parent—

Berkowitz: That’s the free enterprise system.

Cegelis: As a parent, what I needed to have was a good public school close to me. As a community, we need to make sure that there are good public schools everywhere.

Berkowitz: You need a good school. Why would you care whether it is public or private? As long as it is a good school—

Cegelis: Because a private school—

Berkowitz: Where kids learn to read, write, do math. Why must it be public- as long as it is a good school. I don’t care. It could be public. It could be private. I don’t care. Why would you care?

Cegelis: I do care. Because private schools can then choose who they will accept and who they don’t. And, that is important because what if your kid is a—

Berkowitz: Like New Trier High School doesn’t choose. If you want to go to New Trier, you have to live in one of the most affluent areas in the state. You are saying that is fair? That’s the kind of choice [you have with public schools]. You think some low income person in your District could run over to New Trier. Even if they wanted to, they can’t. Even if you wanted to commute three hours—

Cegelis: That’s true. That’s why every school should be a good school. And that’s why we should be pushing for every school to be a good school. That’s why we shouldn’t take public funding away from schools that are struggling to put it into schools that aren’t struggling.

Berkowitz: This is how you make things good; It is by having competition. You’re in a business where if you are good, people hire you. If you are not good, they don’t. You want to be in a business in which everybody is picked randomly? Your competitors are picked even if they are no good in doing work? Is that the kind of system you want?

Cegelis: Schooling is a whole different story.

Berkowitz: We have to go on. The war in Iraq. Last time you said you were opposed. You would have voted not to authorize… [For an additional partial transcript of the show, relating to War and foreign policy-- hit the icon titled, “Could Bush have been right, Cegelis says no,” to the right, above or below this blog entry].
Christine Cegelis, candidate in the 2006 Primary for the sixth congressional district Democratic nomination, recorded on March 20, 2005 and as is airing on the Suburban edition of Public Affairs this week [week of March 28] and on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs on Monday night, April 4 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. See, directly below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule.
The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at JBCG@aol.com