MACOMB --The two Democratic candidates for Congress in the 18th Congressional District finally appeared together, at a Feb. 29 candidates forum sponsored by the McDonough County League of Women Voters. This was likely their only joint appearance, since all the primary excitement is directed toward the 17th Congressional District Democrats.
But these two candidates present an interesting contrast. The winner in the March 20 primary will face incumbent Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.
A recording is posted below.
Steve Waterworth, 64, is a local official in Mason County, serves on a variety of boards and commissions, is a retired Air Force Reserve master sargeant, and grew up on a farm. He's also a life long, FDR Democrat.
Matthew Woodmancy, 28, of Pekin is well spoken but carries heavy baggage: he's on probation for offenses in McLean County including a felony, and owes nearly $50,000 in fines and court costs there.
This baggage was not mentioned at the forum, but Woodmancy referred to it. "I've made mistakes. I'm back on track. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I've wondered if I'm stupid or brave to take on this challenge. I'm brave," he said.
The two Democrats answered a series of questions and agreed on most of them. One difference: Woodmancy believes in term limits for members of Congress. Waterworth does not. "Term limits gives power to lobbyists," he said, who already write too many laws for Congress now, and would take advantage of new members of Congress.
Both support the Obama Affordable Health Care Act, want to expand high speed rail and improve Amtrak, would not sign any 'no tax' or other pledges if elected, and oppose the Paul Ryan fiscal plan that Schock voted for.
Waterworth, with years of living and experience, is able to present vivid stories about how he came to his knowledge of the issues, many involving his family's struggles during the Great Depression of the 1930 and his military experiences.
Woodmancy told of caring for his mother with cancer, and said he had to drop out of college to run for Congress -- apparently not a great idea, as he has no money to finance the run.
Waterworth, with his farm and military background, and his years of experience has character to serve in Congress with distinction. Woodmancy may be well intentioned, but even without his baggage lacks the experience to hold down the job.
-- Elaine Hopkins
Here's the recording.
Here's the story from the Macomb daily newspaper.